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Umbrawarra Gorge, Pine Creek NT

If you are looking for a quick bushwalk that is accessible by conventional car with shade, water, great scenery & tranquillity........well then , don't miss this gem.

Umbrawarra Gorge first looks


We must of traveled the Stuart Highway between Katherine & Darwin over a hundred times, and each time we passed through Pine Creek, we see the road sign saying "Umbrawarra Gorge 24 km". And each time we thought, I wonder what it is like in there, maybe next year!"

Well finally we have been to Umbrawarra Gorge, and being such a short trip off the Highway on a good dirt road , I cannot believe why we haven’t been there before.

Just 3km South of Pine Creek NT(87 km north of Katherine) on the Stuart Highway is the turn off to Umbrawarra Gorge. It is a 24 km gravel/dirt road that during the Dry season (May – November) (and depending on when the Grader does a run over it) is very usable by conventional vehicle. There are several Creek crossings, the deepest one was 1 foot deep ( In July 2002). So a few months previous is would have been deeper as the wet season rains were abating.

umbawarra gorge tranquil rockpools

The whole road would no doubt be closed during the "Wet Season" when these bone dry creek beds would be a torrent of water. As this road also leads to Jindare Cattle Station, you can bet your bottom dollar the station staff will still get through.

I was surprised to see about a half dozen caravans in the small campground at Umbrawarra, everyone just sitting in their deckchairs having a read or a snooze amongst the shady gums.
It is pretty much rough camping at the campsite, although there is the luxury of a toilet there & cheap.

Parking in the carpark /creekbed you can see the "wet season" water levels 4 metres up the trees, and no doubt higher.

We donned our walking shoes and headed off down the concrete path. Yes Concrete for about 100 metres and then wooden slats over a few muddy parts of the path where the spring water was seeping.

Following the creek for less than 3 mins we entered the start of the actual Gorge.

There were stretches of sandy beach to walk along with a bit of rock hopping in between.

umbruwurra gorge narrows

Within 5 minutes, you are amongst the beauty of Umbrawarra Gorge. It was mid July, the height of the Tourist Season in the Top End when over a 3 months period, a place like the Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge can have several thousand visitors a day. Well at Umbrawarra Gorge, during the trip in and trip out we managed to see only 7 people. (And again in June2003 we saw about 20 people , with 10 of those in several individual groups of rock climbers spread throughout the gorge and out of the casual users way. We were there for about 3 hours)

The Gorge twists and turns over several kilometres and the deeper you go, I assumed the harder the rock hopping would be, but overall it is a very very easy walk.

I kept checking high up the rockfaces for signs of aboriginal art, but saw none. Obviously well hidden or just around a corner up the escarpment.

get the gear off and swim across to continue

We stopped for a cuppa and a swim in the rockpools then just had to go and check out around the corner, and then the next corner and so on.

We came to a narrower section of the Gorge where you had no choice but to swim about 10 metres to a lovely sandy area to continue the adventure. (photo above)

It was decided that next time we visit here we would have a bit more protection for the Camera gear as we swim the gorge in search of the end and to get a few photos of Wagaman Aboriginal Rock art.

Photo taken from a small waterfall in umbrawarra gorge