Get off the beaten path in the Northern Territory at the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park!
One of the main reasons to visit the Top End of the Northern Territory is for the endless amount of nature to explore. From the enormous yet stunning Kakadu National Park to the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park to the epic overnight canoeing trip through the Katherine Gorge, the outdoor adventures are seemingly endless.
But outside of these well known national parks in the Northern Territory, there are hidden oases that are off the beaten path. Places where fewer people trod, but where the natural beauty and surreal landscape still amazes and awes those who venture off the beaten path.
The Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park is one of these hidden gems in the Northern Territory and one that should not be missed. Approximately 30 minutes off the Stuart Highway just below Pine Creek is the hidden oasis of Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park.
Don’t let the words “nature park” fool you. The Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park is unlike the other nature parks that we have accidentally stumbled upon during our travels in Queensland. This nature park is part of the Parks & Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and entry into the nature park is free. (I once was fooled by a “nature park” and had Eddie drive us all the way there to realize it was a paid attraction!)
The steep red cliffs and isolated location, make the Umbrawarra Gorge in the Northern Territory a spactular overnighter in the Northern Territory. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit one of the hidden gems of the Northern Territory!
Things to Do at Umbrawarra Gorge NT
To be honest, there is not much to do at Umbrawarra Gorge in the Northern Territory, but that is one of the drawcards of this hidden oasis. The Umbrawarra Gorge is a place to go to unwind, relax and enjoy the replendent nature of the Top End.
Umbrawarra Gorge Walks
There is one walking trail at the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park which leads into the Umbrawarra Gorge itself. The official trail is 1 km which leads you into the gorge. It is possible to explore the gorge futher, however, further exploration requires rock jumping and wading through the knee deep water. The further you walk into the gorge, the more spectacular the views are!
On the walk keep your eyes peeled for the Fern-leaved Grevillea trees with their bright orange flowers and silvery fern leaves. The flowers from these trees found in the Northern Territory produces a sweet nectar that can be used to sweeten your water for a refreshing treat!
Swim at Umbrawarra Gorge
There is nothing better than a refreshing dip to escape the relentless heat of the Northern Territory. Even when we visited in the middle of winter, temperatures soared to over 30° celsius!
At the end of the kilometer walk into the gorge, there is a beautiful sand beach in the shadows of the gorge walls. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy a lazy afternoon swimming in the creek.
View Aboriginal Rock Art at Umbrawarra Gorge
If you enjoy culture and history, head up to the top of the gorge cliffs on the left-hand side of the bank. Here you will find a collection of Aboriginal rock art.
Please be mindful of the Aboriginal people’s request and avoid taking photos.
Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park Camping
Camping is available at Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park. The camping area is on a first come, first serve basis and spots are not allocated. The fee for camping at Umbrawarra Gorge is $3.30 per person per night and is collected in the honestly box near the toilet.
The space can accommodate up between 10-15 comfortably. A composting toilet is the only facilities available at the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park camping area. There is no water available at the Umbrawarra Gorge camping area.
As with the other Northern Territory national parks, fallen timber can be collected within the park to use as firewood. Fires in the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park camping area are only permitted in the fireplaces provided.
Generators and pets are also not permitted in the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park camping area.
Umbrawarra Gorge Access
The Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park is accessible year round via a dirt road approximately 250 kilometers (3 hours) from Darwin. To visit during the wet season (October – April), a 4WD is needed. For other times of the year, a 4WD is recommended, however, it is possible that you could reach the Umbrawarra Gorge with a standard two-wheel vehicle.
When we visited, the Umbrawarra Gorge access road was heavily corregated, and there were many rutted but dry creekbed crossings. As with many roads in the Top End, the condition of the road will depend heavily on the wet season, so make sure you check with Northern Territory Road Report before travel.
Fun Fact about Umbrawarra Gorge NT
The Umbrwarra Gorge is on display in the National Aquarium in Baltimore as part of the Australia: Wild Extremes permenant display. The Umbrawarra Gorge was chosen to depict the striking red cliffs and the natural gorge landscapes found throughout Australia. This is said to be the only permanent display of Australia in the United States and won “Best Exhibit” in 2008 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
We hope you take the time to visit Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park, one of the hidden gems of the Northern Territory. While there may not be as much to do here as other national parks in the Northern Territory, the striking red cliffs of the gorge are worth the side trip! Let us know if you enjoyed your visit to the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park in the comments below!
Looking for More NT Travel Inspiration?
Australia’s Top End is an outdoor adventurer’s playground. Whether you are interested in cultural and history or you enjoy chasing waterfalls, we have rounded up our favorite articles on the best Northern Territory destinations!
- Is Kakadu Worth Visiting? 6 Important Reasons NOT to Go to Kakadu
- Litchfield vs Kakadu: The Best of The Top End
- 8 Helpful Tips for Camping in Kakadu National Park
- 3 of the Best National Parks Near Darwin
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