Waterfalls & Waterholes of the Jatbula Trail

Stunning landscapes on the Jatbula Trail | Bruce Baker
Stunning landscapes on the Jatbula Trail | Bruce Baker

The Jatbula Trail is a breathtaking Top End adventure that will take you through Arnhem Land escarpment, in Nitmiluk National Park. While the scenery along the Jatbula Trail is captivating, one of the main highlights of the six day Jatbula is spending each afternoon relaxing by the fresh waterholes and creeks that are lined by shady monsoon forest. Each campsite is perched close to breathtaking waterholes that provide a refreshing oasis from the hot and dry surrounds.

Best of all, these highlights of the Jatbula Trail are croc-free, which means you can swim till your heart is content! 
Spend the afternoon relaxing at Bibblecombe Cascades |  <i>Larissa Duncombe</i>

Day One: Biddlecombe Cascades

What better way to be introduced to the spectacular waterholes dotted along the Jatbula Trail than an afternoon relaxing in Biddlecombe Cascades. After hiking 8kms from Katherine River, we stay at our campsite next to Biddlecombe Cascades, one of the many beautiful swimming holes along the trail. The cascades are fed by a permanently flowing creek that drops into a waterfall. The cascade is different from some of the other waterfalls along the trail, in that the water rushes down a series of small steps, fanning out to create spectacular curtains of spray as the water hits each rock. Spend your afternoon relaxing in the rock pools and rapids above the falls, where the water is so fresh and clean you can drink it straight from the source. The picturesque Crystal Creek Falls |  <i>Larissa Duncombe</i>

Day Two: Crystal Creek

After a 10.5km walk on day two through rugged stone country, we camp by Crystal Creek- a mass of rock pools, rapids and small cascades that fall away into the spectacular Crystal Falls. This inviting backdrop is sheltered by trees that hug the shore of the cascades. The rock pools in Crystal Creek are wide and deep, so you can easily spend hours floating up and down the waterhole, or basking on the rocks, drip-drying the afternoon away. If you’re feeling energetic, we recommend taking the short stroll to the lookout over the waterfall to watch the sunset – a perfect way to finish a memorable day. 
17 Mile Falls, set amongst serene and striking scenery |  <i>Holly Van De Beek</i>

Day Three: 17 Mile Falls

Our campsite at 17 Mile Falls is set amongst serene and striking scenery. This spectacular singledrop waterfall flows throughout the year, providing one the most breathtaking waterfall views along the trail. Our campsites are set amongst the tranquil waters upstream, where the hardest decision of the afternoon is whether you want to to relax in the Olympic-sized waterholes near the campsite, or to explore the cascades further upstream for a tranquil and relaxing afternoon adventure. 
Sandy Camp Pool, one of the many splendid swimming holes on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Larissa Duncombe</i>

Day Four: Sandy Camp Pool

Sandy Camp Pool is the ultimate reward after the longest day on the trail. The quiet and peaceful campsite on soft sandy ground beside a tranquil billabong is a welcome sight – particularly after completing the 16km walk to get there. Spend your afternoon relaxing in the freshwater ‘spa’, a small waterfall that cascades down onto conveniently placed submerged rocks, offering the perfect conditions for a back massage. Surrounded by towering paperbacks with abundant birdlife, the area is perfect for bird watching, and the soft, sandy beaches make an afternoon nap an appealing option for some trekkers. Don’t miss your chance to take the iconic mirror shot as the sun sets, as the reflections of the sky and surrounds on the water can be mesmerizing. 
Sweetwater pool on the Jatbula Trail |  <i>Emma Pierce</i>

Day Five: Sweetwater Pool

The final campsite on the Jatbula Trail is situated on the banks of Sweetwater pool. It is a beautiful waterhole that provides refreshing waters, stunning reflections and warm flat rocks that invite you to dangle your legs into the crisp waters. This quiet oasis has large tranquil pool that begs to be explored. Or you can simply find a quiet spot on the edge of the pool to watch the sunset reflection on the still waters of the waterhole. If you’re lucky, and very quiet, you may even spot some of the wildlife that inhabit the pool, including crayfish and freshwater turtles. Experience it for yourself Book on the 6 day Jatbula Trail and embark on this renowned bushwalking adventure. Exploring highlights including waterfalls and swimming holes along the edge of the Arnhem Land escarpment, this full-pack expedition is ideal for both first-time and experienced bushwalkers. View Trip

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