Katherine: Things to See
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Published by TOP4 Team
Apart from Tennant Creek, this is the only town of any size between Darwin and Alice Springs. It's a bustling little place where the Victoria Highway branches off to the Kimberley and Western Australia. It's scheduled to grow to about 10,000 people in the 1990s, partly because of the big, new air-force base at Tindal just south of town.
Katherine has long been an important stopping point, since the river it's built on and named after is the first permanent running water if you're coming north from Alice Springs. The town includes some historic buildings, such as the Sportsman's Arms, featured in We of the Never Never, Jeannie Gunn's classic novel of turn-of-the-century outback life. The main interest here, however, is the spectacular Katherine Gorge 30 km to the north-east - a great place to camp, walk, swim, canoe, take a cruise or simply float along on an air mattress.
Things to See
Katherine's old railway station, owned by the National Trust, houses a display on railway history and is open Monday through Friday from 10AM to noon and from 1PM to 3PM in the dry season. Mimi Arts & Crafts on Pearce St is an Aboriginal-owned and run shop, selling products made over a wide area - from the deserts in the west to the coast in the east.
The small Katherine Museum is in the old airport terminal building on Gorge Rd, about one km from the centre of town. There's a good selection of old photos and other bits and pieces of interest, including the original Gypsy Moth biplane by Dr Clyde Fenton, the first Flying Doctor. It is open weekdays from 10AM to 4PM, Saturday from 10AM to 2PM and Sunday from 2PM to 5PM.
The School of the Air on Giles St offers an opportunity to see how remote outback kids are taught. There are guided tours on weekdays during the school term.
Katherine has a good public swimming pool beside the highway on the way out of town, about 750 metres past the bus station. There are also some pleasant thermal pools beside the river, about three km from town along the Victoria Highway.
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