Snapshot – Nitmiluk National Park

So, here we are, already up to the letter “N” in the A-Z Challenge for 2017 and once again I have left it to late to write a post about my homeland, Australia. There’s no real reason why I typically don’t write much about home, it’s certainly not from a lack of things to talk about … this is an enormous country, with so much to offer it would take you months if not years to make a dent in all it offers. I make no apologies for saying that I’m fiercely proud to be an Australian and am fully prepared to acknowledge my total and utter biased in thinking it’s the most magnificent & beautiful country. I do love it.

I’m a landscape lover. Without a doubt, it’s beautiful scenery that gets to me and moves me like nothing else. And we have plenty of variety when it comes to landscapes … stunning white beaches bathed in golden sunshine, crisp tree covered mountain ranges, deserts of the most staggering burnt orange, lush tropical rainforests … the list goes on. We have also been blessed with some of the world’s most unique and unusual wildlife … kangaroos & wallabies, wombats, platypus, koala, quokka and quoll, and Tasmanian devils among them. And yes, before you say it, a whole host of deadly spiders and snakes, plants and marine life. I think one of the best places to see quite a few of those things is the Northern Territory. So, today I’m taking you to Nitmiluk National Park, or Katherine as it’s also known. The map below shows the path of my first big Australian trip when I was only a kid. You can see Katherine listed right near the top along the blue line, near the crease in the centre of the page.

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Nitmiluk is a national park area of approximately 2946 square kilometres (or 1137 square miles). It has many natural features well worth a visit, such as the beautiful Edith Falls or the hot spring waters of Mataranka. But I’m concentrating on one site in particular … Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. The gorge is essentially a series of 13 separate gorges connected by a series of falls and rapids. You can canoe through them, or take a guided scenic boat ride. There are sections of the Gorge where you will need to disembark from the boats and climb over some rocks and boulders to get to the next gorge, but that is all part of the adventure of exploration. In fact, that’s your best opportunity to view some of the ancient aboriginal rock art. In terms of wildlife, you will see quite an array of beautiful bird life, but most prevalent are the crocodiles. Nitmiluk is home to both the Saltwater and Freshwater (Johnsons) Crocodile. Yep, that’s right, the very deadly saltwater crocs are found in both fresh and salt water, particularly in the wet season. The freshwater crocs are not man-eaters and so you need not fear them. In fact, if you’re the adventurous type, you can go for a swim in the gorge (only above the first gorge and only in the dry season though) … it’s quite an experience, swimming across the river with the freshwater crocs lounging on the banks around you. I first did it back in 1986, when I was just a kid, and with my Dad nearby! I can tell you, it’s a thrill you aren’t likely to forget.

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This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge

For a list and links to my other challenge posts, click here

For those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for N, here’s the link: Nature at her best

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33 thoughts on “Snapshot – Nitmiluk National Park”

    1. Thanks, Ger. Middle of nowhere is always a good place to be πŸ™‚
      The Saltwater & Freshwater crocs have quite distinct physical differences. Size is one; freshies are about 2 m long but saltwater are about three times bigger (around 6-7 m). But the easiest way to tell the difference is by the head. A freshwater croc has a long, thin head with smallish straight teeth. Saltwater have a thicker, chunkier head with a shorter “snout” and a jagged tooth line. A much more powerful looking animal.

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      1. Lol it could be painful too. I wouldn’t say there’s no way they could be confused, particularly if you aren’t really familiar with the two types. The best advice is if in doubt, avoid the waterways.

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    1. You’re welcome, Jill. Thanks for commenting, I’m glad I could show you something a little different about Australia. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking of the beaches first. But about 30% of the country is desert (basically the middle of it) so there’s quite a contrast of landscapes.

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    1. Thanks, Radhika. I was only 9 years old the first time I did it so I think, as most children would, I just had faith in my Dad and it never crossed my mind it could be dangerous. When I repeated it in my 20’s I was much more cautious and more aware of keeping my eye out for crocs! πŸ‘€

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  1. One day we will get up to Katherine but in July, August and September this year we are doing the loop on your map, from Newcastle up to Dubbo and then across to Broken Hill, Port Augusta and then up the centre. I’m looking forward to this trip like no other. Loved the post Kim. πŸ™‚ Linda

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    1. Oh wow, Linda. That is going to be such a wonderful trip. And three months is an amazing amount of time to be able to spend enjoying it all. I would love to do it all again as well. There’s something so alluring about the Outback and the bush towns, so much character & beauty. I’m so looking forward to following your journey – not long to wait now! πŸ™‚

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      1. I know, it is my long service leave and I am taking an extra month with reduced pay across the 3 months. I am looking forward to researching the points of interest along our intended route and of course I will be taking lots of photos. It is exciting and I certainly hope to be blogging my way around the loop. πŸ™‚ Linda

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  2. Thanks for this post, the place is obviously added to my list now. Australia has been on my list for a long time and looking at the number of places I want to visit there, it seems that I will need at least a month.

    Name : Gayatri Gadre
    Blog : Be young 4ever
    #AtoZChallenge Theme : Travel (off the beaten track)

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    1. Haha! Maybe it is time for a return visit, Tamara! Kakadu is beautiful, some stunning views and great rock art up there. A couple of great waterfalls too. The Olgas & Ayers Rock are pretty special as well. Did you get to Kings Canyon? It’s not far from them.

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    1. It’s certainly not on everyone’s “to do list”, quite understandably too. But the area itself is beautiful, I’m particularly fond of that kind of rugged landscape … it looks so ancient to me.

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  3. In an aside that will make sense in a moment – I am currently reading through Mira Grant’s books. She writes teen zombie fiction. So post-zombie apocalypse world. She has this one short story about how Australia survives and thrives in the post zombie apocalypse world because, well, everyone who lives there is used to nature trying to kill them all the time. So zombies? Whatever. Your swimming with crocodiles example – no matter how docile and non-man-eating – really should have somehow made it into that short story :). I don’t see myself trying that.

    The photos are stunning. Thanks for another great post!

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    1. Haha! Sounds like a great book series. I really enjoy those post-apocalypse type novels. You might like to have a read of Owen Baillie’s books – Aussie author who writes a series about survivors in Australia during a zombie apocalypse! But I totally see your point – swimming with crocs would fit right into that story line!
      Glad you enjoyed the post and the old 80’s era photos πŸ™‚

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  4. Kim is that a pic of you and your Dad? How very cute. This was quite an informative piece. Australia is one heck of a continent. I so want to go there some day.

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