The Katherine Region N.T.
Nearly the size of the state of Victoria, the Northern Territory's Katherine region encompasses an area stretching from the W.A. border in the west across to Queensland in the east.
The diverse and changing landscape offers savanna grasslands, crocodile filled rivers, gorges and caves, escarpments and mangrove lined beaches to the north-east coast.
Sixty percent of the 24,000 strong population identify as being Aboriginal which makes the region rich in indigenous art and culture.
The major town is of course Katherine boasting a population of around 6000, a comparatively small settlement but large by Northern Territory standards. Katherine is also an important crossroads, being intersected by the Stuart Highway and Victoria Highway from the west.
Katherine became an important hub servicing the old Overland Telegraph Line and North Australia Railway and The Ghan still stops here.
Primarily cattle grazing country with some gold mining activity, military establishments and plenty of tourism based activities for the nomadic sightseer, the Katherine region has an ample mix of historical and geological attractions.
Facts about The Katherine Region
Population: 24,000 approx.
Climate: Tropical Savanna with distinct wet and dry seasons.
Geography: Predominantly savanna woodlands with ancient limestone rock formations, open eucalyptus woodlands and mangroves to the coast. Landscape defined by the water flows of the Katherine, Daly and Roper Rivers.
Fauna: Ghost bat and orange horseshoe bat, 170 species of bird. The north east cost hosts numerous waterbirds and turtles while the rivers hold barramundi, tarpon and sooty grunter, freshwater and saltwater crocodiles.
Katherine Region Attractions
- Nitmuluk National Park and Katherine Gorge
- Springvale Homestead
- Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park
- Kintore Caves Nature Park
- Katherine Hot Springs
- Mataranka, Rainbow and Bitter Springs
- Flora River Nature Park
- Borroloola fishing
- Edith Falls
- Roper Bar Fishing
- Bullo River
Important Towns and Settlements
Katherine, Daly Waters, Mataranka, Borroloola, Timber Creek, Top Springs, Numbulwar, Larrimah, Manyallaluk, Barunga, Roper Bar.
Getting Around The Katherine Region
The Katherine Region is usually experienced as part of a self-drive holiday for people travelling North-South from South Australia to Darwin or East-West for those crossing over from Queensland and Western Australia.
With no direct commercial flights into Katherine itself the closest option is to fly into Darwin and make the 300km journey south.
Of course the Ghan - the transcontinental passenger train, stops at Katherine and a visit to the region can be included in an iconic train journey.
In reality the most flexible and cost effective way of getting around is by driving, either your own car or a rental. The trip down from Darwin is a pleasant experience that meanders through a peppering of small settlements and passes attractions like Edith Falls.
The town of Katherine makes a good base to explore the natural attractions further out as there is little in the way of larger towns between Alice Springs and Darwin. Katherine is reasonably central to attractions that may involve a days drive followed by a walk.
The area can be thoroughly enjoyed in a camper van where the wide open spaces and abundant camp grounds can be fully appreciated. A 4WD camper will allow you to take advantage of the numerous off-road opportunities on offer as well.
Best Time to Visit
Visiting the Katherine region is like visiting much of the tropical top-end. The country side is at it's best in the wet season when the landscape is lush and vibrant and the waterways are in full flood. Unfortunately the wet season is also the time when many access roads are closed due to water damage and some of the natural water attractions have been closed to tourists for 'safety' reasons.
There are times when river cruises in Nitmuluk cannot operate because of river conditions and it's a seasonal variable that changes year to year depending on the prevailing situation.
November through to April is the considered the wet season and while the monsoonal rains may not have set in with force by November the conditions are hot and extremely humid. Not great walking weather and getting around local Katherine attractions often involves a bit of a hike.
May through September is considered to be the dry season and is therefore peak tourist season as well.
We personally like the tropical regions right after the wet season. Tourist numbers are down and everything is green and raging with water. The problem is that you take a chance that all roads and attractions will be open.
Click on the map to see more Australian Regions.
Other Articles of Interest
◄ The Complete
Guide To 4WD
The 4WD ►
To Outback Touring