Butterfly Gorge Walk
Nitmiluk National Park
Directions - Located in the southern section of Nitmiluk National Park, from the centre of Katherine head north on Giles Street as it becomes Gorge Road and follow this for 28km. There is only one main road to the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre and it is well signed so you can't miss it. There is plenty of parking but it does fill up during the peak period around July school holidays. The walk starts from outside the Visitor Centre where you will find a large information board detailing the Southern Walks in Nitmiluk.
The Hike - With the main focus of our most recent visit to the Northern Territory being an extended stay in Katherine, I was looking forward to exploring the many trails located in the southern section of Nitmiluk National Park. Having studied the maps before coming out here, I knew there was a network of trails out here that you could make into a choose your own adventure style of hike.
There were some official walks listed and for ease of putting them on the website, I mostly followed the recommendations by the NT Parks Department. Surprisingly, most of the walks are of a pretty good length with the shortest being the Baruwei Loop that I would over the course of this hike, end up doing in full. Having explored the Leliyn Falls Trail the previous day with Caris and her aunt, I would be tackling the longer walks on my own. Unfortunately Caris' Uncle Hal had to leave Darwin before we arrived due to health reasons and I'm sure he would have loved to have walked this with me, as we did in Exmouth with the Badjirrajirra Trail. With the morning time scheduled in to do this before a boat trip through Katherine Gorge in the afternoon, I drove the half hour from our accommodation in Katherine to the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre. With it being the middle of the dry season, this was about as cold as it was going to get an initially I had my jacket on.
Reaching the entrance to the park just after sunrise, I gathered my gear, left my jacket in the car and made my way from the car park to the Visitor Centre to start the walk. Unsure if I would have the time to do the Baruwei Walk as a separate hike and wanting to get some early morning views of the Katherine River, I decided to head out to Southern Walks junction via the Baruwei Loop that takes you up to some impressive views overlooking the river. The walk from the Visitor Centre to the Boat Jetty is along pavement and while not terribly appealing from a visual point of view, did contain a few chirping birds. Reaching the jetty area, I headed down to the water for a glimpse of the river before finding the Baruwei Loop as it starts ascending. As you start climbing, you squeeze between a few large boulders and it looks like someone has stuck smaller rocks into some mortar.