Douglas & Daly River
The Douglas and Daly River Region is 200 km from Katherine and is easily accessible by turning westward off the Stuart Highway just north of Hayes Creek or just south of Adelaide River. The Daly can also be accessed through the Litchfield National Park by 4WD vehicles during the dry season.
The region is famous for its fishing, however also boasts hot springs, gorges, bushwalking and an abundance of wildlife.
Please note, The Douglas Daly and The Daly River are to separate areas right near each other, they are located 111km apart, and bother turn off from the Dorat Road.
THE DOUGLAS DALY AREA
If you are driving up from Katherine take the turn off 11km North of Hayes Creek to your left. About 10km down the road you need to turn left again or just follow the signs to the Douglas Daly Research Station. The only accommodation in this area is at the Douglas Daly Tourist Park which has camping, caravanning and cabin accommodation including a swimming pool and bar/bistro.
WHAT TO DO IN THE AREA
‘The Arches’ and the Waterhole
‘The Arches’ are located near Douglas Daly Tourist Park and are a part of the Douglas River Esplanade Conservation Area that protects part of the Douglas River and its riverine wildlife. It is an amazing place for natural formations of rocks, thermal pools, spa's and tufa's. Fishing and camping is available along the esplanade. Swimming not recommended due to the presence of Saltwater Crocodiles.
Butterfly Gorge Nature Park can be found 17km further on from the Douglas Hot Springs. The last few kilometres are for 4WD vehicles only. After a short walk you can swim in the rock pools and marvel at the paperbark trees that tower up to 50 metres in height.
The park is known for the thousands of butterflies that seek shelter in the crevices of the sheer rock faces of this beautiful gorge. No pets, no camping. Note, the butterflies are not in masses all year round.
For more information visit National Parks
Douglas Hot Springs
These hot springs are located 47km from the Stuart Highway via Oolloo Road. The last 7km is unsealed but generally accessible by 2WD vehicle. The springs are as hot as 60 Degrees and swimming is recommended in the cooler pools downstream. These springs attract a variety of wildlife. Camping is available. No Pets. Open in the Dry Season depending on rain April to November.
Oolloo Crossing has proven to be an excellent spot for Barramundi fishing in the early dry and for Black Bream all year round. It Is a big river crossing which is know longer used so please do not try and cross it as you can’t get out the other side. It is the Daly River which crosses the crossing therefore it is a great fishing spot away from the crowds of the Daly River Area. There is camping available however you do have to get a permit and there is no amenities therefore it is bush camping. It is about 40min drive on from Douglas Daly Tourist Park, the road is mostly dirt, in the dry season the road is accessible with a 2WD, please note when you see the river do not try to drive your car down to the river, leave it up on the road as it is a steep embankment with bull dust and washouts. There is a little clearing at the top for you to park your car. This goes for both 4WD and 2WD. Swimming is not permitted due to the presence of Saltwater Crocodiles.
THE DALY RIVER AREA
“The Daly” as the locals fondly refer to it, begins where the Katherine and Flora Rivers intersect and flows across the north western portion of the Northern Territory to the Timor Sea. It encompasses the Daly River and the Douglas Daly Region.
The Daly River is famous for its large barramundi and has proven to be one of the most popular waterways for recreational fishing and boating. There are two major annual fishing competitions on the Daly – the “Barra Classic” and the “Barra Nationals”. A number of properties along the river offer camping and accommodation facilities, food, fuel (not reliable), boat hire, fishing tours and river access.
Daly River Mango Farm Tourist Park, Perry's on the Daly and Woolianna Tourist Park both have accommodation, boat hire, fishing tours and swimming pool.
The Daly River Crossing
The Daly River Crossing is about 110km from the Stuart Highway, along Daly River Road. The crossing is only accessible during the dry season and the Daly River floods every wet season. Prior to European settlement it was traditionally a meeting place for Aboriginal people to trade and hold ceremonies. Swimming is not recommended due to the presence of Saltwater Crocodiles. Public camping is prohibited.
The Merrepen Arts Centre is located not far from the Daly River Crossing. It is a modern attractive centre which displays and sells Aboriginal art and crafts made by the local Nauiyu community. There are many examples of new mediums being used for traditional cultural expression. You can also see the artists creating their own works of art within the Centre. A permit is not required to visit the community. Merrepen Arts have a festival every year in May / June (see events page for exact date). Please see there website for more details http://www.merrepenfestival.com.au/