We all know everyone enjoys a nice peaceful boat ride. Floating slowly along a river, sipping on a gorgeous red wine. The sun is slowly setting behind the mountains and stop to take in the moment. So why on earth would I pass up on an opportunity like that? Well, it’s quite simple – I have a better option.
One of the choices that many backpackers meet whilst making their way north from Alice Springs towards Darwin, is the stop off through and near Katherine and Katherine Gorge. There are quite a few operators who, for a relatively reasonable fee, will let you experience the “quick” ride up and down the river.
They’re quite slow really, slow and steady. You get to observe the view from the water – you might even see some of the local wildlife. It’s green, its peaceful and you’ll probably really enjoy the experience.
[I actually thought the rock was a person’s head when I was choosing my photos]
This was one of the decisions I was faced with on my journey. The choice was between taking the short trip in a riverboat, or lacing up my boots to tackle the banks of the gorge and ascend up the side of the valley. Obviously, I chose the latter.
Late May – early June is a great time to be in and around Katherine, and having come through the mostly orange and red outback, the greenery can be a welcome change of scene. But rather than obscuring my view behind trees, I chose to head above them to witness one of my most memorable sights during this particular backpacking adventure.
It isn’t a difficult walk, nor a long one. In fact, we only spent so much time there because one rather peculiar Chinese girl travelling with us managed to get lost. When part of our group had headed off on their cruise, the seasoned hikers among us (not seasoned, nor real hikers – its for effect) clambered up the side of the gorge to have a peek and, as mentioned, managed to lose someone.
I’m not complaining now, nor did I then; these things happen, they make the trip a bit different, and often you forget these minor details. As I did until recently (and which is why retrospectively, I really wish I’d kept a travel journal).
Eventually you’ll climb high enough in the gorge to get a view out across the treetops. You can literally see for miles – at least I think it’s miles. It isn’t often you get quite an easy climb to find a view that is almost completely unobstructed – in fact I think the only other such views are also in Litchfield National Park and at Kings Canyon.
Really though, there isn’t a whole lot to say. The pictures speak for themselves, and, faced with the decision and based on the fact I passed up on the chance to journey on this particular boat (you’ll get plenty more chances in the Northern Territory), I would highly recommend (see what I did there) that you take the opportunity to witness one of the things that makes Katherine Gorge such a special place.
Also, please don’t try jumping into the river. It won’t end well.
A lot of the charm of this place is lost by my terrible photography skills that were quite obviously lacking when I took these pictures. So why not share your images and you can either show me up, or at least allow me to feel a bit less shame!