The Jatbula Trail follows an Aboriginal songline and old stock route over the Arnhem Land escarpment in the Territory’s Top End. Named after Jawoyn traditional owner Peter Jatbula, who successfully campaigned in the 1970s and 80s for the return of this land to his people, the trail journeys through indigenous and geological history.
Quickly elevated to bushwalking Northern Territory icon status, the 6-day 63km hike (bookings open a year ahead) starts with a short boat ride across the Katherine River (sculptor of Katherine Gorge). It ends with a barra burger – that’s Australian for barramundi, a delicious northern fish – at Leliyn/Edith Falls.
You’re looking at a full pack-journey but reliable winter walking season weather lessens your load. And there are few hills so it is easier than the official “challenging” grade suggests.
Termite mounds and boulder piles, papery screw pines (pandanus) and smooth-barked eucalypts, handsome red-tailed black cockatoos and exquisite rainbow bee-eaters keep you company. And each day’s walk, mostly through golden savannah, ends at a waterfall, lagoon or river – crocodile-free jewels in which you can safely rinse of the dust.