Edith Falls (Leliyn)
Follow one of two bushwalking trails around the falls for the best views. The 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) Leliyn Trail climbs its way up to the top of the falls where you can cool off with a dip in the Upper Pool. For a longer hike, tackle the 5.5-mile (9-kilometer) return Sweetwater Trail, ending at Sweetwater Pool, where you can swim in the large natural pool at the base of the falls. Combine your visit with a tour of the Nitmiluk National Park and a cruise along the Katherine Gorge, or pack a picnic to enjoy by the waterside.
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Things to know before you go
- Edith Falls is a must for photographers and nature lovers; it’s also one of the few crocodile-free swimming spots in the national park.
- There is a campground and kiosk by the falls, but it’s best to bring everything you need with you.
- The rocky trails can get slippery and sturdy hiking shoes are recommended; be sure to bring sun protection and plenty of water too, as there is little shade around the falls. Cell phone coverage is limited within the park.
- The path to the falls from the car park is accessible for wheelchairs, but the hiking trails and swimming areas are not.
How to get there
Edith Falls lies at the western edge of the Nitmiluk National Park and it’s easy to reach by road, off the Stuart Highway. It’s about a 37-mile (60-kilometer) or 45-minute drive north of Katherine, or a 182-mile (293-kilometer) or 3-hour drive south of Darwin. There is no public transport to the falls, so you will need your own transport or to join a tour.
When to get there
The best time to visit the falls is during the dry season (May to September). It’s generally possible to access the falls during the wet season (November to April), but flooding can sometimes limit access, and swimming and hiking may be prohibited at certain times.
Hiking the Jatbula Trail
Edith Falls is the culmination of the long-distance Jatbula Trail, a 39-mile (62-kilometer) one-way trail that runs through the heart of the Nitmiluk Gorge. The epic trek passes through woodlands, river gorges, monsoon forests, and the Arnhem Land escarpment, stopping at Crystal Falls, 17 Mile Falls, and Sandy Camp along the way. Taking around five or six days to hike, it’s a popular challenge for experienced hikers, following ancient footpaths used by the Jawoyn people, the region’s traditional owners.