With its variety of hiking and mountain biking trails, waterfalls, swimming holes and canoeing options it's pretty darn spectacular.
The park also hosts the famous 62km multi-day Jatbula trail. The trail can be completed over 5 or 6 days and books out months and months in advance. We were meant to do this hike at the end of August this year, however the trail was closed (for the first time ever) due to catastrophic fire danger. I was bummed, but it just means we'll have to head back another time.
The park is split up into two main visitor areas; Leliyn (Edith) Falls and Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. Edith Falls is 30km to the north of Katherine, where as the gorge is to the east of town. Both areas are accessible by all vehicles and there are campgrounds at both Leliyn (Edith Falls) and at the Katherine Gorge Visitor Centre, as well as plenty of campground options in Katherine town.
The campground at Edith Falls is far cheaper at $12 per person (there are only unpowered sites) and is a few 100 metres to the 'plunge pool' aka the giant swimming hole. Saturday nights at Edith Falls are pretty fun with opt-in well priced group meals and live music!
Leliyn (Edith) Falls
The swimming hole is beautiful, rimmed with sandstone cliffs that glow at sunset - it's pretty special. The falls themselves are pretty small however it's still worth swimming over to them to check them out. If you're not super confident swimming you can grab a noodle from the campground Kiosk to assist you in your 150m trip to the falls.
Edith falls is the end of the jatbula Trail. The huge pool and well equipped kiosk are great for those ending their hike, or anyone else that's after a cool drink or coffee.
Leliyn Trail (Upper Pools) :
This loop heads up and around the back of the main fall and takes you to the upper falls and pool. It then returns via the Bemang lookout.
The upper pools can be a little quieter and are a nice spot to spend the day.
Sweetwater Pools Hike:
This trail heads along the beginning of the upper pools hike before splitting off and following the Jatbula trail to the Sweetwater Pool.
Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge
A few popular day hikes are:
- Pat's Lookout
- Jedda's Lookout
- Butterfly Gorge
- Southern Rockhole
Find a PDF from NT Parks of the Southern hiking trails here