Judbarra-Gregory National Park

Bullita Homestead, Gregory National Park, Don Skirrow / Tourism NT
Barbecue Campfire Caravan Drinking water Fishing Shower Toilets Wildlife Aboriginal site Accommodation Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Lookout Picnic area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Judbarra/Gregory National Park lies in the transitional zone between the tropical and semiarid regions of the Northern Territory, and encompasses a range of habitats including soaring escarpments with spectacular range and gorge scenery, flat tropical woodlands and magnificent river systems. There are significant Aboriginal sites, and old stock routes along which drovers moved large mobs of cattle are evidence of early European pastoral history.

Fact file

Access

From Katherine or Kununurra via Victoria Hwy; from Halls Creek via unsealed Buntine Hwy; from Top Springs via unsealed Buntine Hwy or Buchanan Hwy and Victoria River Downs station

Best season

May to August

Location

160 km west of Katherine; 220 km east of Kununurra

Park information

  • PWCNT Timber Creek (08) 8975 0888
  • PWCNT Katherine (08) 8951 8250

Permits

Permits required for overnight bushwalking, available from Timber Creek or Bullita ranger stations

Size

1 300 000 ha

Visitor information

Katherine (08) 8972 2650

Kununurra (08) 9168 1177

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Visit Gregory’s Tree and contemplate the feats of the early explorers

    Fish for barramundi on the Victoria River

    Take a bone-shaking 4WD adventure drive along the Humbert Track

    Walk the ridge of Limestone Gorge and look over the untamed country

See Also

A look at the past

Indigenous groups associated with the park are the Wardaman, Ngariman, Ngaliwurri, Nungali, Jaminjung and Karrangpurra people. Naval officers John Lort Stokes and John Wickham were the first Europeans to discover and name the Victoria River in 1839, while Augustus Gregory was the first to explore the district extensively in 1855. In the late 19th century drovers took large mobs of cattle through en route to the Kimberley and back. The large Victoria River remained the main supply route for pastoralists for more than 100 years.

Natural features

Blood-red escarpments of Stokes Range soar high above the highway near Victoria River Roadhouse, and nearby is picturesque Victoria River Gorge. During the wet season the river is massive at this point, often rising more than 20 metres to cover the bridge. In the largest section of the park is old Bullita Homestead, and the East Baines, Humbert and Wickham rivers are pristine waterways with beautiful waterholes, many created by tufa dams. The park’s southern section is primarily grassland.

Native plants

Confined to north-western Australia, the boab is one of the park’s most distinctive trees, some hundreds of years old. Gregory’s Tree, a large boab west of Timber Creek, has the explorer’s name carved into it. Elegant Livistona palms cling to the most precarious outcrops of rock, while communities of northern grey box are unique to the park. Spiky clumps of spinifex are found in the south, covering the plains and hills. Waterways are flanked by pandanus and paperbarks.

Wildlife

Common and antilopine wallaroos and flighty but graceful agile wallabies are frequently seen. Goannas and water monitors bask on rocks by the watercourses. Saltwater and freshwater crocodiles are also very common and visitors are warned to swim in designated areas only. The waterways attract hundreds of birds such as the rare purple-crowned fairy-wren, which flits amid the grass along the Victoria River. The ground-dwelling white-quilled rock-pigeon is easy to approach but will fly off when you get too close. Sunrise and sunset are good times to stake out remote waterholes to view the rare Gouldian finch and, late in the year, red-tailed black-cockatoos are seen high in the eucalypts, gnawing on gumnuts.

Introduction

Private tours of the Victoria River can be organised in Timber Creek and at the Victoria River Roadhouse. There are challenging and rewarding 4WD tracks and plenty of opportunity for bushwalking.

Bushwalking

Most walks in the park are well marked and start close to the Victoria Highway. Carry plenty of drinking water. Walks in the smaller east section include the Escarpment Walk (3 km return), 2 kilometres west of the Victoria River bridge, a steep, rocky trail that opens out on spectacular views from the top of the Stokes Range. Nawulbinbin walk (1.7 km loop), 10 kilometres west of the bridge, meanders among Livistona palms, with the opportunity to see Aboriginal art on rock walls and overhangs. Kuwang Lookout (100 metres), 47 kilometres east of Timber Creek, is a short stroll to a viewpoint with interpretive boards offering Aboriginal dreaming stories and tales of explorers and pastoralists.

In the larger section of the park near Bullita Homestead, walks include the Calcite Flow walk (600 metres), and the Limestone Ridge Walk (1.8 km), both starting near Limestone Gorge. Gregory’s Tree walk (250 metres), 9 kilometres west of Big Horse Creek campground and 3 kilometres from the highway, leads to Gregory’s Tree, the site of Gregory’s base camp in the 1850s. It is also an Aboriginal sacred site.

Fishing

One of the main reasons people come to Gregory is to fish the Victoria River for barramundi, along with salmon, bream, shark and other species. There are boat ramps at Victoria River Gorge and Big Horse Creek campground.

Four-wheel driving

This is a remote area so be informed and well prepared. A 4WD brochure, available at ranger stations, details the park’s extensive 4WD tracks. Several tracks, including the Gibbie, Broadarrow, Wickham and Humbert, offer some particularly challenging driving.

Campsites

Big Horse Creek camping area

This is just off the Victoria Hwy, 10 km west of Timber Creek, on the banks of the river. It’s a great base for fishing and as a stopover between Kununurra and Katherine. Small caravans only are permitted.... Find out more


Bullita camping area

On the banks of the East Baines River, this campsite is near the historic Bullita Homestead and stockyards. 4WD access is via a turn-off from the Victoria Hwy, 10 km south of Timber Creek; the track may be closed during... Find out more


Camel Point camping area

The first campsite along the 4WD Broadarrow Track from the Buntine Hwy, this camping area is about 27 km from the Wickham Track.... Find out more


Depot Creek camping area

The last campsite along the 4WD Broadarrow Track is about 45 km from the Buntine Hwy. From the park boundary to the highway, the route goes through 38 km of private property and you are requested to stay on the track.... Find out more


Drovers Rest camping area

Boasting a boat ramp, this site on the East Baines River is 13 km from the Bullita Stock Route.... Find out more


East Baines camping area

This site, on the Broadarrow Track, is 30 km west of Camel Point on the East Baines River. It is only suitable for 4WD vehicles.... Find out more


East Baines Crossing camping area

This site is about 400 m north of the East Baines River crossing on the Bullita Stock Route.... Find out more


Escarpment Lookout camping area

The third of the 4 campsites on the Broadarrow Track, this is about 75 km from East Baines.... Find out more


Fig Tree Yard camping area

About 1 km off the Humbert Track, this campsite is signposted 18 km south of the start of the 4WD route.... Find out more


Fish Hole Yard camping area

In a lovely spot on the Wickham River, 58 km south of Top Humbert Yard and 24 km north of Paperbark Yard, this campsite is on private property just outside the park boundary; it is accessed through the park via the 4WD... Find out more


Paperbark Yard camping area

This camping area is on the Gibbie Track 4WD route, 20 km south of the junction with the Wickham Track.... Find out more


Spring Creek Yard camping area

This small site is on the 4WD Bullita Stock Route, 14 km west of the beginning of the route. Camp beside the boab trees and the nearby waterhole and enjoy the peace and quiet.... Find out more


Sullivan Creek camping area

Easily accessed from the Victoria Hwy and a good stopover on the way to WA, this campsite is set on the banks of a permanent waterhole, 17 km east of the Victoria River Roadhouse.... Find out more


Top Humbert Yard camping area

This camping area is just off the Humbert Track in a clearing by the Humbert River, 28 km south of Fig Tree Yard.... Find out more


See Also

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