The Daly River region
About 150 km south of Darwin, the mighty Daly River and its tributaries, including the Katherine River and Edith River, form the longest river system in the Northern Territory. Rising in Arnhemland and flowing through Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge), the town of Katherine and the community of Nauiyu, the Katherine-Daly River is many kilometres wide by the time it reaches the sea at Anson Bay, south-west of Darwin. The Daly River region is popular for fishing and camping, and encompasses many unique ecosystems, including hot springs and gorges. The climate is typical of northern Australia, with contrasting wet and dry seasons and regional flooding during our tropical summer.
The Daly River flows through the traditional lands of, among others, Jawoyn, Wagiman, Malak-Malak, Marranunggu, Marrathiel and Wadjigan peoples. The Daly River is the major landscape and resource feature of these peoples’ land. The Daly River area has been for millenia a meeting place for Aboriginal people to trade and hold ceremonies.
Nauiyu is small community situated on the banks of the Daly River. Its population of around 510 people is 86 per cent Aboriginal. English is spoken by most residents, with Ngan’gikuruggurr being the most prominent of ten local languages. The community has a store, school, health clinic and police station. The arts centre is a meeting place for the creation of paintings and craft, and hosts the annual Merrepen Arts Festival, featuring art sales, a sports carnival and music.
Famous for its unspoilt environment, saltwater crocodiles, pig-nosed turtles, freshwater whiprays and iconic barramundi, the Daly River is a mecca for fishers from the run-off to the build-up. Its spring-fed waterholes that remain throughout the dry season provide a refuge for a wide variety of both aquatic and terrestrial animals, making the Daly River ecologically critical for regional wildlife.
The Daly River can be accessed by sealed roads via Adelaide River township and, for a more adventurous trip, via the Reynolds River track through Litchfield National Park. Northern Territory Indigenous Tours can develop a personalised itinerary for an unforgettable private charter tour of the Daly River region.