Railway Museum, Tourism NT

Population 5848

Katherine, on the south side of the Katherine River, has always been a busy and important area for local Aboriginal groups, who used the river and gorge as meeting places. Explorer John McDouall Stuart named the river on his way through in 1862 after the second daughter of James Chambers, one of his expedition sponsors. The town grew up around an Overland Telegraph station and was named after the river. Today its economic mainstays are pastural, tourism and the Tindal RAAF airbase.

Visitor Information

Cnr Katherine Tce and Lindsay St; (08) 8972 2650 or 1800 653 142


Nearby national parks

  • Nitmiluk National Park

    In Nitmiluk National Park, the powerful Katherine River, rising in Arnhem Land, has cut through the ancient sandstone to create a series of...more

  • Elsey National Park

    Elsey National Park is a gem. It sparkles with flowing creeks, small gushing waterfalls, welcoming thermal springs and limestone dams, and is...more

  • Kakadu National Park

    World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is a landscape of unsurpassed beauty, with world-renowned wetlands attracting extraordinary...more

Nearby towns

  • Pine Creek

    The town was named Pine Creek by Overland Telegraph workers because of the prolific pine trees growing along the banks of the tiny...more

  • Mataranka

    Visitors are lured to Mataranka for its thermal springs and its sense of literary history. Jeannie Gunn, author of We of the Never Never,...more

  • Adelaide River

    Adelaide River is a small town located midway between Darwin and Pine Creek.  A settlement was established here as a base for...more

In Town

Katherine Museum: built as an air terminal in 1944–45, the museum houses artefacts, maps, photographs and farming displays. There is also memorabilia relating to Dr Clyde Fenton, who, as a pioneer medical aviator and Katherine's Medical Officer between 1934 and 1937, serviced an area of 8 000 000 sq km in a second-hand Gypsy Moth he bought for £500. The plane is on display. Check opening times; Gorge Rd; (08) 8972 3945.

Railway Station Museum: displays of the area's railway history with an old steam engine in nearby Ryan Park; check at the visitor centre for opening times; Railway Tce.

School of the Air: see displays about the history of the school and listen in on lessons; open Apr–Oct, closed on Sat–Sun; Giles St.

O'Keefe House: built during WW II and used as the officers' mess, it became home to Sister Olive O'Keefe, whose work with the Flying Doctor and Katherine Hospital from the 1930s to the 1950s made her a NT identity. The house is one of the oldest in town and is a classic example of bush ingenuity, using local cypress pine, corrugated iron and flywire; open Mon–Fri May–Sept; Riverbank Dr.

NT Rare Rocks: unusual rock and gem displays; Zimmin Dr; (08) 8971 0889.

Self-guided walks: including Pioneer Walk and Arts and Crafts Trail; brochures from visitor centre.


Nitmiluk National Park This 292 800 ha wilderness is owned by the Jawoyn people and managed jointly with Parks and Wildlife Service NT. It is renowned for its 13 stunning gorges, carved from red sandstone over a period of 20 million years. The Katherine River flows through a broad valley that narrows dramatically between the high sandstone cliffs of the magnificent Nitmiluk Gorge. 29 km NE. High above the floodline, on the overhangs of the ancient rock walls, are Aboriginal paintings thousands of years old. The best way to explore the gorge is by flat-bottomed boat (daily cruises; bookings at visitor centre), but canoe hire is available. You can also swim in the pools or explore the 100 km network of walking tracks. Another highlight of the park is Edith Falls (Leliyn) which drops into a paperbark- and pandanus-fringed natural pool that is a popular swimming spot. 66 km NE. There are signposted bushwalks, picnic areas and campsites. Fauna in Nitmiluk includes many reptile and amphibian species, kangaroos and wallabies in higher reaches and rare birds such as the hooded parrot and Gouldian finch. The countryside is at its best Nov–Mar although the weather is hot. Magnificent scenery can be enjoyed from helicopter tours, scenic flights and boat cruises. Brochures at visitor centre; (08) 8972 2650; 29 km NE.

Knotts Crossing: site of this region’s first Overland Telegraph station (1870s) around which the original township of Katherine developed. By 1888 there was a hotel, store and police station. The hotel lost its licence in 1916 and the store was given a Gallon Licence. The Gallon Licence Store (now a private residence) operated until 1942; Giles St; 2 km E.

Natural Hot Springs: on the banks of the Katherine River with picnic facilities and pleasant walking trails; Victoria Hwy; 3 km S.

Low Level Nature Reserve: weir built by US soldiers during WW II, now a popular waterhole for picnicking and canoeing (bring own canoe). The river is teeming with barramundi, black bream and northern snapping turtles, so fishing is a common pastime; 3 km S.

Springvale Homestead: originally the home of Alfred Giles, this is the oldest remaining homestead in the NT (1879). Accommodation, restaurant, swimming pool and camping; Shadforth Rd; 8 km W.

Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park: 1499 ha of the only accessible tropical limestone caves in the NT with fascinating formations 15 m underground; regular tours daily; (08) 8972 1940; 27 km SE.

Manyallaluk Aboriginal Community: camping and Aboriginal cultural tours; bookings essential, (08) 8971 0877; 100 km NE.

Flora River Nature Park: great campsites, interesting mineral formations, pools and cascades along the river; 122 km SW, of which 46 km is unsealed. 

Cafes & restaurants around town

Katherine Country Club

Here’s the ideal place to stop if you are driving here from Western Australia. Off the Victoria Highway, the club is part of Katherine Golf Course and has built a good reputation for serving large portions of good,... Find out more

The Carriage Stonegrill Restaurant & Bar

At the Paraway Motel, in the centre of town, the Carriage is renowned for its bountiful buffet and ‘stonegrill’ cuisine. Steak and kebabs are presented to diners on super-heated natural volcanic stones,... Find out more

Campsites around town

Knotts Crossing Resort 2 km

A 5-time winner of the NT Brolga Award for tourism, this resort has a range of accommodation options, including powered and unpowered sites, and sites with ensuites. Set by the river, it has a bistro, bar and pool and is... Find out more

All Seasons Resort Katherine 3 km

This resort on the Stuart Hwy at Katherine is a great base to springboard into Nitmiluk National Park. Its small camping area has powered and unpowered sites and there is a swimming pool. No fires are allowed.... Find out more

Shady Lane Tourist Park 5 km

This quiet spot just out of Katherine has great facilities. Take a short stroll to the river and do some fishing, or lounge in the pool. It is conveniently close to Katherine Gorge.... Find out more

Springvale Homestead Tourist Park 5 km

Camp alongside the billabong near the oldest standing homestead in NT, built in the 1880s. Most days during the Dry there is a Devonshire tea, and at night a crocodile adventure. The park has budget... Find out more

Nitmiluk Centre Campground 24 km

Centrally positioned near Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, walking tracks, canoe hire and the cruise boat, this privately run campsite has pretty much everything you need, including a pool, and is the main camping area in... Find out more

Dunlop Swamp camping area (bush camping) 28 km

With no toilets, and drinking water only available some of the year, this is a site for the experienced. There is swimming below Dunlop Swamp. It’s 9 km along the Smitt Rocks Walk.... Find out more

Smitt Rocks camping area (walk-in camping) 29 km

Suitable for canoeists or hikers, this site is 11 km east of the visitor centre, and accessible by the Katherine River or the Smitt Rocks Walk. Swimming, toilets and drinking water are available.... Find out more

Biddlecombe Cascades camping area (walk-in camping) 30 km

The seasonal cascades are a perfect place to relax and cool off. This is a flat camping site 11 km along the Jatbula Trail.... Find out more

Sweetwater Pool camping area (walk-in camping) 31 km

Sweetwater Pool is reached via a walking trail, 4 km east of the Leliyn camping ground, or near the end of the Jatbula Trail. Last opportunity for a swim.... Find out more

Eighth Gorge camping area (bush camping) 32 km

A campsite popular among overnight canoeists, this site is 16 km east of the visitor centre via Eighth Gorge Walk. It has no toilets.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Knotts Crossing Resort Caravan Park 2 km

Take the road leading to the gorge to discover this very tidy, good quality park set in tropical surrounds. It has a range of accommodation and good facilities, including a fully licensed restaurant. All the caravan... Find out more

BIG4 Katherine Holiday Park 3 km

This is a quality park with nice shade trees. It has good facilities including a relaxed bistro under a spreading banyan tree. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Shady Lane Tourist Park 5 km

This park is in a quite rural setting 6 km from Katherine. It has large shade trees and very good amenities. There is plenty of space for larger rigs. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Edith Falls Camp Ground 33 km

This is a good camping area within Nitmiluk National Park. It is reached along a 19-km sealed road; turn off the Stuart Highway 42 km north-west of Katherine. The base of the falls is a short walk from the camping... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Donkey Camp B&B

On Pandanus Farm, a working mango orchard on the banks of the Katherine River, this beautiful rammed-earth homestead is surrounded by tropical savannah. The unlikely name derives from the property being a base to... Find out more

Hotel All Seasons Katherine

At the southern entrance to town, this hotel set among 4.5 hectares of landscaped grounds is an oasis in a harsh region. The swimming pool is large and inviting, rooms are large and spotless, the restaurant is good, and... Find out more

Knotts Crossing Resort

On the road leading to Katherine Gorge, a short walk from the centre of town, the resort has a range of accommodation and has won awards for its good mid-range facilities. There is an excellent restaurant with walls... Find out more

Maude Creek Country Lodge

Only five minutes’ drive from Nitmiluk National Park and Katherine Gorge, and 15 minutes from the centre of Katherine, this is a quiet base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Situated on the banks of the... Find out more

Top Springs Hotel

At the junction of the Buntine and Buchanan highways, three hours south-west of Katherine, this rest stop has an awesome reputation as a colourful outback pub. Recently modernised, but without losing the rustic charm,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Katherine park area

At Katherine

On the south side of town behind the information centre.

King West rest area 30 km

31km SW of Katherine (R) or 163km NE of Victoria River (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Edith Falls camping area 33 km

T/O 42km N of Katherine (R) or 48km S of Pine Creek (L)

On the edge of a large waterhole fringed by monsoon forest. Located 19km east of the highway in Nitmiluk National Park.

King River rest area 44 km

57km N of Mataranka (R) or 49km S of Katherine (L)

Just off the highway among some shady trees.

Limestone Creek rest area 55 km

57km SW of Katherine (R) or 137km NE of Victoria River (L)

Well off the highway in open scrub.

Copperfield Dam park area 83 km

T/O 86km N of Katherine (L) or 4km S of Pine Creek (R)

Overlooking the dam, 3km (partly unsealed) west of the highway.

Pine Creek park area 85 km

At Pine Creek

Off the highway via the main street.

Harriet Creek rest area 92 km

28km NE of Pine Creek (R) or 186km SW of Jabiru (L)

Well off the highway among a few trees.

Mathison rest area 97 km

102km SW of Katherine (L) or 92km NE of Victoria River (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

What's on around town

Tick Markets: Lindsay St; 1st Sat each month Apr–Sept.

Katherine Community Markets  and Farmers' Market: 8am–12pm every Sat Mar–Dec; Ryan Park.

Katherine Cup: horseracing; May.

Katherine Show: rodeo, exhibitions; July.


Festival: community festival, theatre and music; Aug.

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