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Nitmiluk Gorge showcases rugged beauty and culture

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Personally there’s no better way to absorb the beauty of what is widely regarded as the most scenic area in Katherine than with a cruise of the spectacular Nitmiluk Gorge.

Located about three hours from Darwin, it features some of the most beautiful scenery in the Northern Territory with diverse flora and fauna, rich cultural history and breathtaking views of the Jawoyn country.

The Jawoyn people are traditional owners of the area and for thousands of years have maintained their traditions and culture through Dreamtime stories.

Comprising 13 gorges, Nitmiluk Gorge stretches 12km and is sculpted from the sandstone over countless millennia by the Katherine River.

Access is by guided tour or canoe. I chose to book the Sharing our Country 3 Gorge Safari and was pleasantly surprised.

Setting off early from the Nitmiluk Boat Jetty gave me plenty of time to enjoy the crisp morning, a welcome relief from the warmer weather in Darwin.

First up was a cruise to Gorge One where we stop and marvel at ancient Aboriginal rock art. Our pleasant guide Chris explains the significance of the area and interprets the images painted thousands of years before.

Chris is attentive and engaging. His love and knowledge of the area is infectious for all ages.

Time for a sumptuous ham and cheese croissant and then its onto Gorge Two where we learn about Bula – The Creator who came from the salt water country in the north and is regarded as the most important figure in Jawoyn dreaming.

From here we board another boat and make our way to Gorge Three where we hike to the Lily Ponds, a gorgeous swimming hole at the base of a waterfall.

It’s an amazing place to chill out, take a refreshing swim and marvel at the scenery under the morning sun. We had the waterfall to ourselves and it was blissful.

On the return journey, we learn about basket weaving, didgeridoo playing, spear throwing and storytelling. Jawoyn elder Jane introduces us to her family, who spends the remainder of the day fishing the gorge for barramundi.

Overall, it was a memorable way to spend a morning and truly appreciate the history, rugged beauty and culture of this majestic region.

For more, take a listen to my chat with tour guide Chris - Ali

The Sharing Our Country 3 Gorge Safari is both educational and intimate. We were the only ones on the cruise. Make sure you allow about 4.5 hours. Breakfast is included and tours depart Monday, Thursday and Sunday 07:15 - 11:45 return.

To make a booking phone 1300 146 743, email reservations@nitmiluktours.com.au or visit www.nitmiluktours.com.au

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