Nitmiluk National Park


Nitmiluk National Park is the Northern Territory of Australia and is immediately south of the Kakadu National Park. It was previously named Katherine Gorge National Park. It is 292,800 hectares (723,498.8 acres) in area. The gorges and the surrounding landscape have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of the land. The Jawoyn people’s long connection with the land is exhibited in the many rock art paintings on the sandstone walls throughout the gorge system, some of which are thousands of years old. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means ‘place of the cicada dreaming’.

The park covers a vast area of escarpment country, including 13 gorges carved from the ancient sandstone by the Katherine River, which together make up the Katherine Gorge. In the dry season (April to October) the gorges become separated as the level of the river falls. They are interconnected in the wet. Freshwater crocodiles can be found in most parts of the river as they nest along its banks. These are harmless to humans. But in the wet season dangerous saltwater crocodiles can enter the river. Each dry season they are transported back to the lower reaches of the river, making the upstream waters again safe for swimmers.

Other landscapes include monsoon rainforest, stone country, upland swamp, woodland and river. On the western boundary of the park is Leliyn (Edith Falls), a picturesque waterhole, surrounded by pandanus and very popular for swimming.

Many birds inhabit the area including ospreys, red-tailed black cockatoos, great bowerbirds, white-gaped honeyeaters and red-winged parrots. One of the biggest populations of the Gouldian Finch, endangered in the wild, can be found in the area.

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