Katherine to Normanton – Places to Visit
Renowned for the magnificent 13 gorges in Nitmiluk National Park, where you can canoe, boat cruise, swim, walk and take a scenic flight. Katherine also has more to offer. A rich Aboriginal culture is represented in tour experiences and local galleries. Nearby National Parks offer diverse adventure and recreational activities, and the local pioneer history is well interpreted. Visit Edith Falls, also within Nitmiluk National park and don’t miss going swimming and bushwalking in these spectacular surroundings. A wide range of accommodation is available. Katherine is also a major Australian airforce base and mango growing region.
- Nitmiluk National Park
- Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park
- Flora River Nature Park
- NT Immersions Phone: 1800 634 319
- Nitmiluk Tours Phone: 1300 146 743
- Katherine Visitor Information Centre Phone: 1800 653 142
- Manyallaluk Aboriginal Cultural Tour Phone: 1800 644 727
- Travel North Phone: 1800 089 103
- Katherine School of the Air Phone: 08 8972 1833
- All Seasons Katherine Hotel Phone: 08 8972 1744
- Knotts Crossing Resort Phone: 08 8972 2511
- Katherine Low Level Caravan Park Phone: 08 8972 3962
- Riverview Motel and Caravan Park Phone: 08 8972 1011
- Central Motors (Repairs) Phone: 08 89721668
- Blackwater dump sites in Lindsay Street and various caravan parks
Don’t forget – Katherine is also a gateway into Kakadu National Park and other wonders of the Top End. Darwin is a capital city with plenty to do and flight connections, just 324km of good highway north of Katherine.
Katherine Visitor Information Centre
The Katherine Visitor Information Centre has great local information and offers a free tour and accommodation booking service. The centre has a large car and caravan parking area and clean bathroom facilities. A great feature is our Free WiFi Internet for 1 Hour. Open 7 days a week. Located at the Cnr Stuart Hwy and Lindsay Street. Tel: 08 8972 2650 or visit www.visitkatherine.com.au for more information.
Swimming and relaxing at Mataranka Thermal Pools or Bitter Springs Thermal Pools is a must. The classic Australian novel “We of the Never Never” by Jeannie Gunn (1908) tells the story of a pioneer woman’s life here, still represented by the replica homestead and cemetery. Stop to see the diverse artworks and have a coffee at the Stockyard Gallery and Cafe. The barramundi feeding at Territory Manor is great fun. Swim or canoe in the Roper River – fantastic!
- Elsey National Park
- Stockyard Gallery and Cafe Phone: 08 8975 4530
- Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park Phone: 08 8975 4516
- Mataranka Cabins and Camping Phone: 08 8975 4838
- Coodardie Station Stay Phone: 08 8975 4460
- Lakeside Mechanical Repairs Phone: 08 89792255
The Roper Bar (unsealed) Route to Cape Crawford
Heading east at Mataranka to Roper Bar is the primary Savannah Way route which involves a longer unsealed experience. This road can also be an opportunity for those with four wheel drive vehicles to leave their caravans in Mataranka or Katherine and enjoy a more remote touring loop. As with many remote routes it is advisable to take on fuel at every opportunity. The surface can be rough at times, so drive carefully to preserve your tyres. The road is sealed to Fizzy Creek, about 30km before Roper Bar. Roper Bar is an historic crossing of the Roper River. Please note that the Roper Bar Store and Camping Ground is now closed.
From Roper Bar to Cape Crawford there are a series of bush camping opportunities at picturesque river locations. There are pit toilets (no showers) at Butterfly Springs, Limmen Crossing and Towns River. Tomato Island has a boat launching area popular with fishermen. As in all fishing areas, please be aware of estuarine crocodiles and fishing regulations. Lormaieum Lagoon is a peaceful camping site near the evocative St Vidgeon homestead ruins.
- Lorella Springs has fuel, a hot springs pool, campground and fishing. Phone: 08 8975 9917.
- Limmen Bight Fishing Camp has fuel, camping and accommodation. It is 25km downstream on the Cox River from the Savannah Way crossing.
- Limmen National Park – Nathan River Homestead (Ranger Station) Ph: 08 8975 9940
- Poppy’s Pools – beautiful thermal pool on Mara people’s land Phone: 08 8975 9611
The Daly Waters (sealed) Route to Cape Crawford
Travel south from Katherine on the Stuart Highway through Larrimah to turn east at Daly Waters. Larrimah became a town in 1940, and the war history is told in the pub, museum and by exploring nearby Gorrie Airfield. Daly Waters is an historic droving stop and Overland Telegraph Station. The pub is a visitor icon with camping and rooms, and on the outskirts of town is Australia’s first international airfield, also used to help evacuate Indonesian citizens in World War Two. There are roadside overnight camping bays along the Daly Waters to Cape Crawford section, which is all sealed, single lane development road.
- Daly Waters Historic Pub Phone: 08 8975 9927
- Daly Waters Hi-Way Inn Phone: 08 8975 9925
Daly Waters Historic Pub Est 1930
A true Territory icon offering a real outback experience. Steeped in history from the early exploration and droving days, free nightly entertainment, Dry Season World Famous Beef & Barra (wild caught Territory Barra). Accommodation in various room styles, powered/unpowered sites and campsites. Best Wayside Inn 2005 2006 2007 2010 Come in for a fun stay! Phone: 08 8975 9925 or visit www.dalywaterspub.com.
The Heartbreak Hotel is the roadhouse stop for fuel, camping, accommodation and meals. Helicopter flights leave from here to view The Lost City, a series of amazing sandstone spire formations.
- Heartbreak Hotel Phone: 08 8975 9928
- Caranbirini Conservation Reserve. An opportunity to walk among the 25 metre high sandstone formations, one of several “Lost Cities” in the region.
- Cape Crawford Tourism Phone: 0400 156 685
Heartbreak Hotel is situated approximately 860 kilometres south east from Darwin. It is one of the rare outback roadhouses in the Northern Territory and the doorway to many exciting things to do and see for all types of travellers. Most say it’s an “oasis in the outback” with its lush green grass and trees all year round. There is fishing, camping, hiking, Birdwatching etc. We also provide helicopter scenic flights and ground tours to the amazing Lost City. Flights available April – September. Heartbreak provides services such as fuel, takeaway food and restaurant meals, takeaway alcohol, bar, hotel accommodation, 50 powered sites and ample camping all year round. Phone: 08 8975 9928.
One of Australia’s most remote towns, with a lawless frontier history, and these days a base for many fishermen. Visit the Old Police Station Museum with a key from the caravan park or nearby mechanic. Waralungka Arts Centre sells local Aboriginal art on weekdays. Guided fishing and boat ramps are available. As in all fishing areas, please be aware of estuarine crocodiles and fishing regulations.
- Lorella Springs Wilderness Park Phone: 08 8975 9917
- Savannah Way Motel Phone: 08 8975 8883
- McArthur River Caravan Park Phone: 08 8975 8734
- Borroloola Hotel Motel Phone: (08) 8975 8766
- King Ash Bay Boat and Fishing Club has accommodation and camping Phone: 08 8975 9800
- TJS One Stop (repairs) Phone: 08 8975 8813
- Borroloola Information Phone: 08 8975 8799
- Black water dump point at Tamarind Park.
The Savannah Way Motel Borroloola
The Savannah Way Motel Borroloola provides a home away from home for business and leisure travellers. Stay in clean, comfortable motel, cabin or budget style accommodation and eat in the popular licensed, Carpentaria Grill Restaurant. The Savannah Way Motel – Borroloola is the perfect base from which to explore or do business in the Northern Territory’s beautiful and remote Gulf Region just a short stroll from the airport or a drive along the Savannah Way. Borroloola is the main centre of the Northern Territory’s remote Gulf Region. The town is located at the heart of the epic adventure route that is the Savannah Way. Visit www.savannahwaymotel.com.au.
Please ensure you plan your fuel usage between Borroloola and Doomadgee as this is a long stretch between fuel stops (and toilets – be prepared!)
Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, Australian Outback Sanctuary Eco Adventure
Located 15 degrees south of the equator, in one of the remotest and most isolated areas of Australia or even planet Earth, we offer a superb retreat experience of an outstanding natural wilderness environment fronting the Gulf of Carpentaria. Camping, Caravanning, Fishing, Crabbing, Magic Thermal Springs, Wildlife, Birdlife, a Photographer’s Dream. Ph 08 8975 9917, email email@example.com, or visit www.lorellasprings.com.au.
Barranyi (North Island) National Park
Part of the Sir Edward Pellew Group of islands, accessible by boat from King Ash Bay. More information.
Seven Emu Station
Cattle station owned and operated by an Indigenous family, the Shadforths, for three generations. Camp and fish along rivers and 60km of exclusive beach. Fuel available. Phone: 08 8975 9904
Manangoora Station Campground
A fisherman’s paradise with boat ramps providing access to the Wearyan River, Gulf of Carpentaria and Vanderlin Island. Cattle station family the Andersons provide a remote area bush camping experience for the self-sufficient 4WD enthusiast. From Borroloola, take the Savannah Way (Wollogorang Road) east towards the Queensland border. Turn left just after the Foelsche River crossing. Follow the signs to Manangoora Campground. Phone: 08 8975 9549
Robinson River Community
Aboriginal community 50km off the Savannah Way with fuel and supplies. The community has alcohol restrictions so do not carry in alcohol. Phone: 08 8975 9791
Pungalina & Wollogorang
Although marked on some maps, Pungalina and Wollogorang are no longer open to visitors.
Hell’s Gate Roadhouse
Legendary drovers’ landmark and now an important fuel stop. Powered camping sites and cabins available as well as meals, fuel and snacks. 1500 metre all weather airstrip and avgas. Phone: 07 4745 8258
Although it still appears on many maps Kingfisher Camp is now closed to visitors.
This Aboriginal community has alcohol restrictions (don’t take any in past the roadhouse) and a small supermarket, plus medical facilities. For more information visit www.gulf-savannah.com.au.
- Doomadgee Roadhouse has fuel, snacks and basic groceries. Phone: 07 4745 8298
- Doomadgee Aboriginal Community Council. Phone 07 4745 8390
Doomadgee Roadhouse, “the Gateway to the western Gulf Savannah” has fuel, oil, ice, basic food supplies, fishing and camping gear. There is an ATM and EFTPOS facilities available. Drop in for road and travel advice and the closest must-sees of this Shire. Ph: 07 4745 8298.
Note that in Queensland Alcohol Restrictions apply to many Aboriginal communities. Alcohol may be carried on the Savannah Way by bona fide travellers, though towns such as Doomadgee have severe fines (up to $37,500 first offence plus vehicle confiscation) for breaches. For further information phone 1300 789 000 or see this website.
The unsealed Loop to Lawn Hill Gorge
This is a highlight of the region. Try to give yourself at least two nights at Adels Grove or the National Park to enjoy Lawn Hill Gorge. To clarify road conditions ask for updates from locals and travellers in the days beforehand or phone Adel’s Grove. Heavy rain can be problematic on unsealed black soil.
- Boodjamulla National Park
- Adels Grove – Comfortable oasis with all facilities, including camping, accommodation, restaurant, bar and Fossil Fields tours. Phone: 07 4748 5502
- Riversleigh Fossil Site is World Heritage listed, containing over 250 mammal fossil sites from 15-25 million years ago.
- Boodjamulla National Park
Adels Grove Camping Ground
Adels Grove Camping GroundAn eco-sensitive tourist park on Lawn Hill Creek, located 10 kilometres downstream from Lawn Hill National Park. Set among a plantation of exotic trees initially grown by the French Botanist Albert de Lestang over 80 years ago, this oasis for the dusty, tired traveller:is a perfect place to refresh, relax and recover. Catch Barramundi just metres from your tent site or lie back and watch the cool aqua water meander through the park. Tours of the surrounding Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park as well as the World Heritage Listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields. Bookings are essential. Visit www.adelsgrove.com.au
Great swimming in the Gregory River with camping and fishing from wide sandy banks.
- Gregory Downs Hotel Phone 07 4748 5566
Although marked on some maps, Escott is no longer open to visitors.
The oldest settlement in the Gulf boasting a rugged frontier history of “Gulf Fever” devastating the pioneers, Burketown is today the “Barramundi Capital of Australia”. Visit historic sites including the cemetery. Fishing tours available. During Sep-Nov you may see the bizarre “Morning Glory” cigar-shaped cloud formations at dawn.
- Burketown Visitor Information Centre Phone: 07 4745 5111
- Sweers Island Fishing Resort Phone: 07 4748 5544
- Burketown Pub Phone: 07 4745 5104
- Gangalidda Garawa Services Phone: 07 4745 5130
- Savannah Bakery and Butchery Phone: 07 4745 5290
- Burketown Caravan Park Phone: 07 4745 5118
- Savannah Lodge Phone: 07 4745 5177
- BA Fishing Tours Phone: 07 4745 5118
Newest pub in the Gulf. Air-conditioned apartments for your comfort. Modern kitchen with restaurant. Beer off the ice. Adjacent to pool. Courtesy bus available. All bitumen road via Gregory Downs. Friendly atmosphere. Visit www.burketownpub.com.
Sweers Island Fishing Resort
Sweers Island has miles of golden beaches, blue waters, a wealth of history, and a huge variety of bird life. Although it is a fisherman’s paradise, it offers enjoyment for the whole family. Sweers is located in Australia’s southern Gulf of Carpentaria approximately 30 km off the coast, directly north of Burketown. The island is surrounded by acres of rock reef, with some coral, much of which has never seen a fishing line. You can fly-fish off the beach or troll from the boat. We cater for keen fishing groups and families. You’re welcome to visit for the day or stay as long as you wish. There is also bird watching and bush walking. Visit www.sweers.com.au
Camp and Fish Australia’s Barramundi Capital! Scenic Burketown in the Gulf offers idyllic bush camping along the banks of the Albert River with guaranteed privacy. Permits required. Book online at www.gangalidda-garawa.com.au or apply locally. Tour groups welcome. Book ahead to guarantee your spot. Let the Gulf take your breath away!
Check out Yagurli Tours Fishing Tours, Tagalong Adventures and Star Gazing!
Good walking and picnic spots around the Leichhardt River crossing – beware of crocodiles. Note the statue of Frederick Walker, founder of the Native Mounted Police, near Floraville.
Burke and Wills Camp CXIX
The most northerly known campsite of the ill fated expedition of 1861. Stop to reflect and read the interpretation.
For information on Normanton and Karumba, please see our Cairns to Normanton section.