Hiking in Katherine National Park | NT Australia |
One of my favorite parts of traveling and hiking Australia this time around is hands down hiking throughout Katherine National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. Katherine National Park is just a few hours’ drive outside of Darwin with some of the most beautiful desert oasis landscapes I’ve seen. It’s red and deserted but the vegetation is still lush and beautiful.
I took this journey with a couple of French friends I had met in Sydney. We all met up in Darwin, after each arriving at different times and in various ways, and decided we needed to check out some of the national parks. Not that Darwin isn’t great and all but… we needed to get out for a bit. Get some fresh air. Especially after being in the hustle and bustle of Sydney for so long.
So we rented a campervan that could fit 3, packed up our few possessions, and were off into the wild.
Our first day we got the van, stopped in one of the small towns nearby to the park for some groceries, and then headed off to find a camping spot. Nothing too exciting but you’ve got to get settled in first right? And as fun as night hiking would be, we weren’t exactly keen on meeting all of the animals and insects that can kill you out there in the dark.
So we stopped, made a not too shabby dinner of sauteed veggies, chicken for the meat eaters, and enjoyed the view. In fact, where we stopped was completely overrun with bats which was such an unexpected and cool thing to see!
The next morning we tried waking up bright and early and drove to the national park. The plan was to do a several hour hike to Butterfly Gorge, one of the few places you can swim in the river. Crocodiles live everywhere in the rivers there but in this particular spot it’s too high for crocodiles. They cannot climb up the boulders to get to it, so it’s mostly safe for you to swim. Your chances of being eaten is just lessened.
We kept up a pretty good pace, considering there were a lot of stairs and the heat was already rising. I’m from Texas but hiking in the heat is still not the easiest thing in the world. Especially, when you add in humidity. I don’t know how people could do this in summer.
The hike was absolutely beautiful though. We went up cliffs, overlooked forests, went through desert looking areas, hiked down to a gorge and enjoyed the views.
We didn’t actually make it to the safe spot to swim but that didn’t stop us. After a few hours of hiking we finally got to a river and decided to take our chances. It was hot and there didn’t seem to be any crocodiles around. Peer pressure. One gets in and everyone follows. Sorry Mom and Dad.
But we lived to tell the tale, right? You gotta enjoy life!
Our swim was quick and we climbed up on the edge cliffs for better views and a bit of suntanning, because why not. A lunch of peanut butter sandwiches for me and ham and cheese for the Frenchies, and we were good to go again! We hiked another few hours, stopping at any water station we could like we hadn’t seen civilization or had drinkable water for days. Eventually got back to our van and were beat.
Back to camp, get a good long shower in, eat some food and relax with a well deserved beer. Oh, the good life, hiking Australia.