One cannot help but to be drawn into your own peaceful thoughts, as you glide slowly along the still waters between these spectacular ancient towering cliffs of sandstone that flank you on either side & reach for the deep blue sky overhead. These huge sheer rock escarpments of the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge are like silent sentinels to the ancient Gods & were carved over countless millennia, (estimated to be about 23 million years old) by the winding band of water some 70 metres below, known as the Katherine River, which begins in Kakadu to the North.
The sound of the gentle splash of the paddle as the canoe makes its way in this quite paradise, is in tune with the other sounds of nature.
Overhead birds of prey glide on the thermal currents, ever vigilant for something to catch their eye. Red tailed black cockatoos screech their unique call from the treetops, while Blue Eyed Honey Eaters, Red Winged Parrots, Rainbow Bee Eaters & the endangered Gouldian Finches, dart about throughout the lower branches of the native trees, along the many sandy beach oasis, that are scattered along the river, where the canyon of rock faces open.
The waters here are teaming with fish & the surrounding bush is bursting with life.
I felt the beauty & kinship of this land deep within me even though I am of European birth, and it is not hard to see why this place is so sacred to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians and traditional owners of Nitmiluk National Park and have been in the area many thousands of years.
You are being taken on a visual journey into the past as you paddle along, for the rock faces are gallery contain many Aboriginal rock art paintings.
The rocks glow in the changing light of the afternoon, seemingly guiding you back from the 12 kilometres that you journeyed to the outer edges of this gorge, to the cocoon of your accommodation for the night.