As it turns out Nitmiluk National Park is big, like 292,800 hectares big. I look down at the two pins I think will carry me through this landscape, then look up to a helicopter. It has swift appeal as I study the croc warning signs. It’s my first day in N.T. and I’m venturing solo.
The text that comes through from Dad cements my decision, “there’s crocs in the Katherine River, darling.” I chuckle at him fearing I’ll be the first Tasmanian ever eaten on a well-worn tourist trail, worthy of NT News headlines. I opt for the $99 flight.
High above, it’s like country I’ve never seen. Sandstone in dissected chunks sprawls out on either side of Katherine Gorge. The river below follows a well-worn path, nearly two billion years in the making. Hovering high in our glass bubble, the vastness is difficult to contemplate; yet the diversity sharply clear. Rainforest gullies collide with sunburnt sandstone plateaus and lily ponds sit silently. As 13 gorges disappear beneath, our pilot dips low and comes across buffalos taking a late morning dip.
This 15 minute perspective captures what N.T. has in abundance…and that’s space. Up in the blue that sense of vastness is powerful - it opens the mind, lets you see beyond horizons and even encourages a dash of Jawoyn dreaming. Who would want to wake up…or touch down.
Words, images + footage: Alice Hansen