Straight after our day trip to Litchfield National Park, we followed up the next day with another full day trip – this time to the Katherine Gorge Cruise & Edith Falls.  This day trip to the Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls promised to be an even longer and tougher one than Litchfield National Park, taking up a total of approximately 14 hrs.

Visiting Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls Darwin

The day began really early at 6:15am where the pickup arrived at Hilton Darwin. As with the trip to the Litchfield National Park, we travelled down the only traffic artery of Darwin – the Stuart Highway towards the Nitmiluk National Park and Katherine Gorge.

First Stop – Adelaide River War Cemetery

The first stop we had 2 hours after getting on the bus was the Adelaide River War Cemetery, a memorial dedicated to the people who lost their lives in Northern Australia during World War II.  It was a place of great solemnity, the peacefulness surrounded by lush gardens and native plants.

The war cemetery was created mainly for the burial of servicemen who died in this part of Australia – some of them were really young.  RIP!

A listing of the servicemen buried here…

There were also some civilians here who lost their lives in the Post Office when a bomb was dropped on them.

2nd Stop – Leliyn (Edith Falls)

The Edith Falls (also known as Leliyn in the Aboriginal language) is a series of waterfalls and pools on the Edith River in the Nitmiluk National Park (formerly known as Katherine Gorge National Park).

A swim at the Edith Falls was possible (provided that it was the correct season where the risk of crocodiles was low), but we didn’t attempt the swim here, although it was as tempting as those at the Litchfield National Park.

Beautiful place for a swim, isn’t it?

Instead of getting ourselves wet and uncomfortable for the rest of a long day, we opted for a leisurely hike around Edith Falls.  Among the lush greenery, our lungs were grateful for the welcome breath of fresh air!

That’s the terrain map of Edith Falls.  Attempting to do all the trails could take an entire day but we were not about to try that!

When we got tired, we stopped at this one and only cafe at Edith Falls to get some ice-cream – it was a welcome respite from all the heat and sun-exposure.

Buffet Lunch @ Nitmiluk Visitor Centre

Lunch was buffet-style, the cost of which was included in today’s day trip.  It was housed at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre which had an indoor and outdoor seating.  Unfortunately for us, the indoor seats were all taken up by the time we arrived, leaving us to bake in the sweltering heat outside.

At least we had a great view of the outdoors and some fantastic company.

Our food and the buffet line indoors.

Highlight of the Day – Katherine Gorge Cruise

The best way to view the Katherine Gorge was by cruising Katherine River that runs through the gorge.

The 12-km stretch of river between the Katherine Gorge is flanked by cliff faces more than 70 metres high. The area is also home to a variety of birds and of course, the most common animal in Darwin – the crocodiles!

At the beginning of the cruise of the Katherine Gorge.  Snag a seat at the front of the boat if you can.   The climate at the Katherine Gorge is extremely harsh and dry, so a good sun hat, sun glasses and lots of sun screen is required if you do not wish to end up like a baked potato at the end of the day.

Trying my best to spot a crocodile basking along the banks of the Katherine Gorge – but no such luck.

If you apply a bit of imagination, you may just find that some of these rock faces resembles what you are looking out for.  In this case, I felt this rock looked so much like the face of a crocodile, complete with its body at the back! What do you think?

The majesty of the Katherine Gorge is hard to describe.  You just have to be there to feel its awe.

Somewhere around the middle of the cruise, we had to disembark and walk a distance of about 800 metres to get on another boat as the river was blocked by a large section of rock in between.

Although the tour operator did state that the walking here required only a low level of fitness, it was nevertheless quite tough to navigate this rocky terrain with uneven steps, under the sun that scorches every single inch of my skin.

However, somehow, we felt that this part of the tour was much more scenic than the cruise itself!

That ‘short’ walk took us nearly 10 minutes and soon, we were off for the second part of the cruise!  By this time, we were pretty exhausted, partly due to the dehydration as well, and thinking of the return trip when we have to repeat this walk again just adds further to the strain.

The Cruise Continues …

At some points, we were so very close to the face of the cliffs, we almost could touch it!

We actually enjoyed Part II of the cruise so much more, because the scenery was a lot more ‘gorge-ous’!

Canoeing is possible at the Katherine Gorge, just that our tour package did not cover it.

Kids, I hope you don’t meet with a crocodile in the water.

Strange structures on the rock faces are not at all uncommon here.

At the end of the second part of the cruise, where we have to disembark and trek the same arduous 800 metres back to change boats.

The entire cruise took about 2 hrs – just sufficient time to experience the beauty of the Katherine Gorge. And guess what we found on the trees at the park near the Katherine Gorge?

They are bats!! Lots and lots of bats – giving off an immense foul smell. Nevertheless, the chinese always believed that seeing bats is a good omen, so I am still waiting for my good fortune to descend upon me.

Final Thoughts

The trip out to the Katheriene Gorge and Edith Falls was a much tougher one than the one to Litchfield National Park on our itinerary. But the Katherine Gorge is one of the most beautiful and also one of the most visited sites of the Northern Territories.  Therefore, we say, definitely visit the Katherine Gorge if you can!

Special Deal – Katherine Gorge Cruise & Edith Falls by KKday, Our Travel Partner

We are pleased to share with you this travel deal from our Travel Partner KKday for Katherine Gorge Cruise & Edith Falls! 🙂

Special Deal for DBT Readers: Katherine Gorge Cruise & Edith Falls

Check out these recommended Katherine Gorge Tours too!

Join us next as we visit the Mindil Sunset Market!

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