A Golden Town in the North

Another town that cradles vibrant Aboriginal culture in the Northern Territory is Katherine situated 320 kilometers southeast of the capital city of Darwin. One of the four largest settlements in the Northern Territory after Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs, Katherine had a population of less than 6,000 on the 2006 Census.

Katherine is a mining town with gold as its main economic source of income. It has several sporting clubs, parks, churches, showgrounds and more. Famous landmarks including Katherine Gorge located in the Nitmiluk National Park situated near the town houses many old rock paintings.

The original inhabitants of Katherine are the Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman indigenous groups. The town is an important rendesvouz to these local Australian Aborigines. It is where the lands of the Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman merged. Because Katharine is the largest town in the whole region, it continues to be a meeting spot for Aboriginal people from across the geographical location.

Katherine saw development in the late 19th century after the Overland Telegraph was erected in Springvale. It is near what is now referred to as the Low Level Crossing on the Katherine River. The town became a center for cattle stations in the area. Aside from this, since the founding of Nitmiluk National Park, the town has become a tourism haven. It is also well-equipped with accommodations and a shopping center and other modern services and conveniences. Katherine has also become a major tourist center because of its strategic location at the junction of major tourism roads such as the Savannah, the Central Arnhem road and the Explorers Way. Also, its location has made it an important tourist gateway for the Northern Territory.

A Rich Landscape and Cultural Heritage

The town of Katherine and its surrounds give visitors a large selection of park and garden areas. Some of the parks found in the town are Dakota Park, Jurassic Cycad Gardens, O’Shea Park, Giles Pak and Jukes Park. Another tourist attraction is the Kintore Caves Nature Park with its endangered cycads. On the Katherine River along Riverbank Drive, Katherine Hot Springs provide relaxing swimming, picnic tables with shades and barbecue facilities set amongst the rainforest and paper park trees where everyone can unwind and enjoy the chirping of the birds and the unique wildlife.

Thirty kilometers south of Katherine along the Stuart Highway, Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is a landmark every traveler in Katherine ought to explore.  It is approximately 1500 hectares of limestone landscapes. It offers sightseers a network of caves with stalactites and stalagmites and Karst formations. These are unique to the whole Katherine region. Further south of Katherine, around 107 kilometers, is the small town of Mataranka, where the nearby Elsey National Park can be found centered on a portion of the Roper River. For tourists, this lush parkland and its most exquisite attraction, the Mataranka Homestead thermal pool which is 7 kilometers east of Mataranka. This warm pool first experienced development by troops during the Second World War. It has become a major tourist destination due to its picturesque turquoise lagoon surrounded by thick Pandanus palm trees. The clear water of the river is at a constant temperature of 34 degrees Celsius and runs from the Rainbow Springs at more than 300 million liters each day. The Little Red Flying Fox has found a breeding ground in the area around the crystal clear pool and travelers can find thousands of them twittering in the trees during the Wet. Tourists and sightseers can fish for tarpon, sooty grunter and barramundi along the Katharine River.

Witness the Majesty of Katherine

Katherine is a must-see destination for every traveler looking for a unique kind of adventure and wants to live life to the fullest. There is a lot of fun and excitement waiting for you in Katherine. Witness the spectacular and tranquil surroundings of this town as you are welcomed into the spiritual world of the Jawoyn and their culture and history. Discover their history and ways of the people against a marvelous background of the cliff facing the changing color of the dying sun.

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