Katherine River 3 Day Hiatus
Our most popular trip. Using top quality equipment and accredited, qualified guides, this trip covers 40 to 55 kilometres of wildlife rich river, downstream from Katherine and away from the often crowded Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge). Fed by springs and soaks throughout the long ‘Dry Season’, the river below the Gorge, winds through rocky banks, paperbark forests, small rapids and pandanus channels. Comfortable bush camping, great dining, fantastic service and wildlife encounters – it all adds up to being a unique experience. A trip you will never forget.
“What a fantastic experience. I saw and learnt so much about wildlife as we slowly paddled down the Katherine River. Our guide knew the birds, animals and reptiles we saw along the way. The food was tremendous – morning tea served on a silver platter and dinner cooked in the camp oven. I’d recommend this trip to anyone whether they can paddle a canoe or not. Congratulations Gecko Canoeing.” – Phil Prentice.
Day 1 You will be met at your Katherine accommodation between 7-7:30am (0700-0730). You will then be transferred in a 4WD vehicle to Gecko premises, where you will pack your personal effects required for the tour into waterproof bags. You will be fitted with Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) a requirement, to be worn whilst on the river.
You will then be transferred to the Katherine River in a 4WD vehicle, sometimes over un-made roads and tracks. A safety brief and paddling instructions for kayaking and canoeing will be given before entering the water. At a relaxing rate, there will be stops along the river for a morning break, lunch, swim and time to view the diverse river environment, bird and wildlife. Approximately 4pm (1600) you will step ashore for an overnight remote camping experience (no set campsites). There will be time to relax; fish or read all whilst your guide prepares the evening meal. After a campfire meal, enjoyed with your favourite bottle of wine or spirit, sleep in a bed-roll (swag) under a blanket of stars.
Day 2 Wake to a dawn chorus in the brisk morning air. There is time for an early morning swim. After a hearty cooked breakfast, we pack-up camp and continue paddling down-stream. As we get further from immediate civilisation, the feel of remoteness sets in. The river continues to change from shady paperbark forests to lush pandanus channels, through open sections, surrounded by the river woods and over some small sparkling rapids which are fun and easy to negotiate. At the end of this satisfying day, you will find yourself in a bit of a routine and will have camp set-up quickly. Leaving yourself enough time to explore, relax, chat , check-out some animal tracks or just ‘find yourself’.
Day 3 After a sumptuous breakfast, we will pack up camp for the last time (you will now know where everything goes), we will return to the kayaks for one last relaxing day. You will be ‘tuned in’ to all the sights and sounds around you and will find yourself exhilarated by every experience, enjoy it while the moment lasts. At approximately 2:30pm (14:30) you will be picked up from the river and transferred in a 4WD back to Gecko premises to collect your belongings. You will then be transferred to your Katherine accommodation or bus terminal as per prior arrangements made. Tour end 5:30pm approximately.
We use a range of ‘Scupper Pro’ sit-on-top kayaks or 2 person canoes, (mainly for adult/child or couple pairing). The sit on tops are self draining, comfortable and very stable. The canoes are 4.5m open style polypropelene suited for touring. Many of our guests have never paddled before. Our fully qualified and accredited guides ensure that this is not a problem.
Where We Stop
We are totally self sufficient giving us the luxury of being selective with our campsites and resting points along the river. There’s plenty of time to relax, swim, fish, bird watch, encounter wildlife and appreciate the scenery. We regularly access these sites with group sizes of 2-8, ensuring that we have minimal impact on the environment.
How Far, How Long, When?
Typically, a 3 day trip can cover up to 50km of river. Paddling down stream, there is minimal portaging of equipment. Tours operate during the ‘TOP END’ dry season, May to September. The temperature ranges from 24 C to 39 C, but the nights from June to August can be cool, dropping to 8 degrees Celsius.
We are fully self-sustained while on tour, giving us the ability to stop and set camp, wherever we wish.
You are Supplied With
Canvas bedroll, ‘we call it a swag’ – for those who wish to sleep outside
A ‘Thermarest’ self inflating mattress
Sleeping bag which can be fully opened
Liner (or sheet) and pillow, a torch & mosquito repellent
Exclusive to us and well equipped. It includes:
Dining Tables and chairs (with back rests)
Cooking Grill, Kettle & Camp ovens
Riverside views and swimming spots
A shovel and toilet paper (for the call of nature) We bring out our rubbish; bury human waste 100m from water and burn toilet paper in the fire.
Always a surprise for the nature enthusiasts! All hearty home style fresh food.
Dinners and breakfasts are cooked on an open fire
Lunches are ‘sandwich’ or ‘wrap’ style with cold meat and salad
A good old ‘Billy of Tea’ is available at lunch
Tea, Coffee and Hot chocolate are available at camp
The guide will do the washing up (unless you really want to help)
What You Need to Bring
We recommend that you pack lightly and limit the space required. A packing list will be provided for you. You are able to bring along a bottle or two of your favourite dinner wine. We have no space for cold drinks such as beer or soft drinks. For your personal gear we provide;
A 20 litre water proof bag (for your clothes)
A 10 litre water proof bag (for camera etc)
The Group Size
We travel with no more than 10 guests on the tour, (unless it is a specific group booking). You may not see anyone else while you are on the river.
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