Thursday, 5 August 2010

Gorgeous Katherine Gorge

We arrived in Katherine on Tuesday afternoon and spent today exploring Katherine Gorge. The gorge is actually a series of 13 sandstone gorges carved over billions of years.  It is located in Nitmiluk National Park, on the Katherine River.

The park was known as Katherine Gorge National Park until ownership was returned to the local Aboriginal (Jawoyn) people and renamed "Nitmiluk" meaning "Cicada Place".  The park is leased to the Northern Territory Government and jointly managed by the government and the Jawoyn people.

This is the less aggressive Freshwater Croc - one of several we spotted in the area.  The park rangers set traps baited with a pig's head or wombat leg to catch any Saltwater Crocs that may find their way into the area.  Somehow seeing the huge metal traps didn't do much to put my mind at ease.

A rock barrier separating two gorges.

We spent the whole day on the water and got to see three of the thirteen gorges.  The gorges were separated by rocks and when we reached the end of each gorge we would leave the boat and walk to the start of the next gorge before getting onto another boat waiting on the other side.

Having the opportunity to take a dip just beyond the third gorge was delightful, especially after the scramble over rocks at the end of the third gorge.  It was difficult, but manageable.

We were under the impression that the swim would be in the third gorge and hadn't expected the climb beyond it, but didn't give it much thought until later at the visitor's center.

Croc on a rock.

The scenery was stunning!  Below is Mike's favourite photo of the day.

We couldn't resist taking a photo of this cutie who we spotted as we were walking from the boat ramp back toward the visitor's center.

Hmmm...   this sign certainly wasn't there when we booked the tour!  That explains the unplanned trek over the rocks to get beyond the third gorge for a swim.  I am SO glad I didn't know this before we went.  Ignorance is bliss.

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