At the beginning of this year, we visited Nitmiluk National Park in Australia’s Top End, roughly 3 hours south-east of Darwin.
Nitmiluk (Nit-me-look) is the Jawoyn name for Katherine Gorge, meaning Cicada Place or Place of Cicada Dreaming. Nitmi means cicada, from the call of the cicada, “Nit Nit Nit”, and luk means home. The Jawoyn people are the custodians of the gorges and surrounding lands.
We took a boat through two of the gorges (there are 13 in total). During the wet season, when the water levels are high, the gorges connect and saltwater crocs are sometimes found in the deep pools. In the dry, the gorges become separate, and you have to walk overland to reach the second gorge.
Bordering Kakadu National Park, Nitmiluk has cultural significance among its traditional owners. Jawoyn stories tell of Bolung, The Rainbow Serpent, living in the second Gorge. Visitors are to be wary. Bolung is a giver of life but can be a destructive force if disturbed.