We might be at the tail end of the great migration of grey nomads slightly early, but it has been a bumper year for Katherine tourism.
Despite a marginally late start to the influx of caravans seen annually from about May, tourist parks have reported "excellent" visitor numbers compared with last year's low season.
It appears to be a case of nomads extending their trips to fit in Katherine's many sites coupled with the cooler dry season weather.
Katherine is home to the NT's third most visited natural attraction, Nitmiluk Gorge, which had 263,500 visitors last year, a fair few more than Kakadu National Park, counting just 200,000 visitors.
"We have had people staying much longer this year," Brian Hill said.
Mr Hill is the owner of Manbulloo Homestead, a caravan park which sits on the banks of the Katherine River, 12km from the town centre.
He said nomads and backpackers are still trickling into the park keeping it mostly full past the usual August drop-off time.
"People are extending their trip by up to three weeks," he said.
"We are getting less comments about anti-social behavior, word gets around with the nomads."
Mr Hill forecasts an increase of caravans over the next 10 years with the baby boomers reaching retirement age.
"There has been an increase in numbers of caravans produced and sold, which is good news for industry."
Fitting into the group of emerging retirees, Colin and Rosemary Sztorch are no strangers to Katherine.
First visiting in the 70's, and then again in 2006, the couple have noticed an increase in fellow travelers traversing the Top End's dusty roads.
Visiting relatively late in the season following a foot operation which held them at home in Coffs Harbour for an extra two months, Mr and Mrs Sztorch stayed in Katherine much longer than originally planned.
"We had four days planned for Katherine, but after the bumpy roads from Daley Waters we wanted time to chill out," Mrs Sztorch said.
The couple extended their trip, staying for seven days in total, to take in the sights.
"We were happy at the caravan park we were staying at. The construction at the Hot Springs was really interesting, the cafes were lovely and the staff at the visitor information centre were very helpful," she said.
"We just wanted a relaxing time here and that is what we got."
North Bank Park which also sits on the Katherine River saw a 40 per cent increase in visitors this year.
"[Visitors] are hard to get rid of," the owner of the park, Peter Byers said.
"They are coming for one to two nights and then extending for a week.
"It is the beautiful weather and the fact that there is so much to see."
Staying at the North Bank Park, Tim Hughes and his family stayed for almost three weeks, despite only planning for five days.
"We really liked the layout of the town, and the library was great as we have kids doing distance education," he said.
Grey Nomads escaping the southern cold typically come in droves around May, creating a buzz across the Top End until August.
It is a small window of opportunity for caravan parks and businesses reliant on the burst in numbers.
One of Katherine's busiest caravan parks, Riverview Tourist Park, will not escape the void in tourism come September.
The park will rely on mango pickers and semi-permanent visitors to carry it through the wet season.
"The wet season is for maintenance," manager of Riverview Tourist Park, Wendy Batten said.
"The industry is seasonal, and that won't ever change. The nomads won't ever stop chasing the sun."
The park reported good visitor number figures on par with last year.
"If it wasn't worth doing there wouldn't be caravan parks," she said.
"It is like all tourism industries, you change and fit the business to work with the seasons.
"We are a transit park on a junction. Nomads have to come through Katherine.
"They call in to fix their cars, stock up and spend a couple of days checking out the sites, that is where we are lucky."
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