Ancient Edith Falls, or ‘Leliyn’, is an idyllic place for swimming. But please respect the Rainbow Serpent.
Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Edith Falls, or find and book accommodation in Edith Falls today.
Located on the western boundary of the Nitmiluk National Park, 42km north of Katherine, Edith Falls is a small yet beautiful Top End enclave not too far from the park’s more well-known Katherine Gorge. This section of the park features a number of picturesque waterfalls and large pools created by the Edith River falling about 175m along its 69km course before merging with the Ferguson River north-west of Katherine. Edith Falls is the last and perhaps the most beautiful in this series, falling around 12m into a huge, smooth pool. It’s the perfect spot to cool off on a hot NT day.
Edith Falls is also a culturally significant place for the local Jawoyn people, who call it ‘Leliyn’. In their law, many mythical creation beings are associated with the site, including Bolung, the Rainbow Serpent, who is said to inhabit deep waterholes in the area, including the plunge pool at the base of the falls. She is a powerful figure and is not to be disturbed or disrespected.
Bushwalking is one of the most popular activities at Edith Falls. There are two walking trails at Leliyn. The longer of the two is the 9km (return) track to Sweetwater Pool, a permanent waterhole and fantastic swimming spot, with a small campsite (and toilet) for overnight hikers. It is one of the waypoints on the 66km Jatbula Trail that connects Leliyn with Katherine Gorge.
The park is a vital habitat for several species of rare and endangered birds, like the Gouldian finch, the vivid red-winged parrot, and the hooded parrot, and some ubiquitous ones such as thieving crows, which pinched the spicy buffalo sausages we had left out to defrost for dinner that night, and curlews that woke us in the night with their cry-baby calls.
This vantage point bears the Jawoyn name for frilled-neck lizard, which are said to have travelled through the country and created the pools here. Take a moment to regain your breath and enjoy the panoramic view of the waterfall into Middle Pool and along the gorge to the narrow defile behind Edith Falls.
The most comfortable months to visit are from May to September. Wet season flooding between December and April may restrict the range of activities available and prevent access to the park.
The turn-off to the Leliyn (Edith Falls) section of the Nitmiluk National Park is 42km north-west of Katherine and 49km south-east of Pine Creek along the Stuart Highway.
The camping area and day use area at Leliyn is at the end of a sealed road 20km from the highway junction.
For more accommodation options in and around Edith Falls, click here.
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