The remote location of this architect-designed eco-lodge, within Nitmiluk National Park, 300km south of Darwin, has great spiritual significance for the indigenous Jawoyn. Sitting above a system of 13 gorges carved out over thousands of years by the Katherine River, the hotel – a joint venture between the Jawoyn and Indigenous Business Australia – has every facility the sophisticated modern traveller could desire. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach it from Darwin.
All of the 18 rooms are air-conditioned, with richly coloured indigenous artworks, wifi, minibar, satellite TV, and full-length louvred doors leading onto private balconies overlooking the lush surroundings.
If you can tear yourself away from the hotel’s lovely pool, this is an exciting and culturally important area, with much to explore in and around the Katherine Gorge area, including many rock art sites. You can arrange a tour through the hotel with an indigenous guide, even by helicopter if you fancy. You can also swim in the gorge during the dry season (usually late March to early October), or arrange to canoe down it. You can fly to remote Arnhem Land or over the Kakadu National Park. Wildlife enthusiasts will find much of interest, from the 192 species of bird to the flying foxes, dingoes, wallabies and freshwater crocodiles, to name just a few.
The Cicada Lodge restaurant serves up indigenous Australian dishes and ingredients using traditional techniques – but all with a contemporary touch. At the heart is the Chef’s Table, which features a unique specialty dish based on seasonal, local produce. Guests will also be invited to enjoy welcome drinks and tapas each evening by the poolside. Romantics can arrange a three-course sunset dinner cruise.
Nitmiluk National ParkGorge RoadKatherine NT0850