A week ago tomorrow Simon and I stepped off the Jatbula Trail, having walked more than 60km from Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) to Leliyn (Edith Falls); and there we celebrated completing the walk (and made up for six days of freeze-dried food) with barra and buffalo burgers and scrumptious rosella and plain scones hot and crusty from the Leliyn kiosk oven.
Graded moderate because of its length and the need to carry a backpack rather than its profile, the Jatbula Trail traverses relatively flat country from waterfall to waterhole to gentle rapids, following a route trodden for millennia by Jawoyn aboriginal people. So we were delighted to find ourselves camping, and sometimes walking, with a couple from Tasmania, two work colleagues from Brisbane, and a group of Jawoyn, two Jawoyn Rangers, a father and six community children walking the track, all for the first time, as part of a school holiday program.
Their company added an unexpected extra cultural layer to a week of geology, birds, subtly changing environments, refreshing swims, and rock art sites, that otherwise would have been limited to a close encounter with an extraordinary ochre female figure who lured men to their doom!
The following photographs are a tempting taste of this wonderful Top End walk: