Safest places to swim around Katherine

CROC TERRITORY: Melissa Roughton, Megan Roughton, Jake Daltoe and Chyeanne Morgan splash in the Low Level shallows.

CROC TERRITORY: Melissa Roughton, Megan Roughton, Jake Daltoe and Chyeanne Morgan splash in the Low Level shallows.

With the risk of nasty saltwater crocodiles lurking in our waterways it is hard to know where is safe to swim. 

NT Rangers have warned people not to swim in the Katherine River.

Popular spots like the Low Level Crossing, Knotts Crossing and Donkey Camp are a definite no-go. 

Mum Melissa Roughton said she would not let her child swim at the Low Level. 

“I don’t trust it right now, when it gets down really low we usually go for a swim,” Ms Roughton said. 

“Some people would risk it now and go in, but not me.” 

Katherine Times spoke to the Tourism Department and put together a list of safe spots to splash around in this weekend. 

The YMCA pool

The safest place to swim in the Top End is a place where you can feel tiles and smell chlorine. 

For $4 you can swim at the YMCA pool at Katherine, $2 if you are a pensioner.

Open Monday to Friday 6am-8am and noon to 7.30pm.

Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 11am-7pm. 

Leliyn/ Edith Falls

Leliyn can be reached by following the Stuart Highway north from Katherine for 40 km then following a sealed road for another 20 km. There are lots of swimming options here and they are all free.

Upper Pools

If you do not want a long walk, the upper pools is the perfect place for a dip. 

You only need to walk about a kilometre from the car park to visit the upper pools, but the walk can be steep at some points.


Photo from @edonorthernterritory

Photo from @edonorthernterritory

If you have time for a full day or overnight walk, go for a swim in the secluded Sweetwater pool. 

It is an 8.6km moderate to difficult return walk to a fantastic swimming spot.

You need a permit for the overnight walk to Sweetwater pool.

Long Hole

A good alternative if the upper pools are closed due to flooding this walk is 4.5 km and is is moderate difficulty.

Nitmiluk Gorge

A deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River, Nitmiluk offers two safe places to cool off. 

Southern Rockhole

If you feel like getting your hiking boots on you can walk the 8.5km loop via Windholf Walk.

It is a moderate walk with short steep sections. 

If walking isn’t your style you can jump on a boat from the Nitmiluk Gorge jetty for $28 return. 

It is about a 10 minute walk over some rocks from the jetty to the rock hole. 


To get to the Lilyponds pool you need to tackle a 19.8 km loop via Yambi.

It is a moderate to difficult walk with rough and steep sections.


Thermal Pools

Nestled among tall shady palms the thermal pools pump out a tremendous amount of warm water which has soothed many travellers throughout the years.

To get to the thermal pools you only need to walk a 500m loop. 

Bitter Springs

If you are looking for a nice relaxing place to have a dip and actually stretch out and do some laps, try Bitter Springs Thermal pool instead of the well frequented Mataranka Thermal pools.

The springs here actually branch off into a stream which you can follow down 100 metres to a bridge & ladder to climb out of then go for a walk around the springs.

 Take a floaty with you to paddle down to the 2 exit points along the stream.

Only a 500m walk from your car. 


Litchfield National Park is home to several stunning waterfalls that cascade into crystal clear pools, iconic magnetic termite mounds and clusters of weathered sandstone pillars at the Lost City. 

Swimming under the falls and relaxing in waterholes is a favourite pastime for visitors and locals alike. 

Florence Falls

Florence Falls is a spectacular double waterfall set amid the monsoon forest which cascades into a swimming hole.

It is an easy 2km return walk.

The lookout from the top proves a panoramic view.

Open all year round, there is a 135 step staircase down to the swimming area.

There is also a viewing platform at the top of the falls if you do not wish to swim.

Upper Cascades

Starting at the car park, this 3.6km return walk takes you up onto the Tabletop Plateau where several lookouts have sweeping views of the lowlands below.

The walk is moderate to difficult and exposed and can be hot, so take water with you.

Buley Rockhole

Buley Rockhole is a series of waterfalls and rock-holes, where you will find your own spot to swim and relax.

Open all year round, camping is available with toilet facilities only and camping fees will apply.

5 to 10 minute easy walk from the car park. 


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