Hike the Jaowyn song line of NT's incredible Jatbula Trail
Both trips are now sold out. Please enquire about adding your name to the waitlist
The Jatbula Trail is possibly my favourite hike of all time. Over 62km you will hike along the western edge of the Arnhem Land Escarpment, discovering a unique natural and cultural landscape. Along the way you will encounter an impressive array of fresh waterholes and waterfalls, where you can sit back and relax in your own natural pool or spa. Bliss!
The adventure takes place over 7 days, where you will come across magnificent waterfalls tumbling from the high sandstone escarpment, as well as incredible opportunities to view stunning aboriginal rock art. You will start walking early in the day and arrive at camp around lunchtime each day, allowing plenty of time to relax, swim, read, and enjoy the beauty of your surrounds. Each campsite has its own water source ranging from a small babbling spring fed creek to a 30 metre high waterfall.
At the end of the hike, you will be transported back to Darwin to stay at a luxurious 4.5 star hotel. You will share a delicious dinner at a quality restaurant to celebrate your achievements.
You will have experienced an energising hike in pristine wilderness, bathed under cascading waterfalls, and discovered more about our ancient culture. What more could you want from a hike!
- 5 nights camping under the stars at bush campsites on the Jatbula Trail
- 1 night 4.5 star Darwin Hotel
On the trail – 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners, 5 Breakfasts, hot drinks and snacks
We provide delicious, healthy fresh food and cater for all dietary requirements.
Darwin – Celebratory restaurant dinner, Hotel buffet breakfast.
- You will be transported from Darwin CBD or Airport to the start of the trail at Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge, and picked up at the end at Leilyn Edith Falls by private mini-bus
This 7-day Jatbula Adventure is designed to give you:
- an incredible, remote hike in a stunning Australian landscape
- a chance to connect with friends and family away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life
- a powerful fitness goal to inspire and motivate you towards better health
From being an aboriginal songline to a stock route, the land was returned to the Jawoyn people in 1989. Their rock art can be seen in several locations along the way. This is a part of the country ruled by water, and with a diverse range of waterfalls, cascades and waterholes on the way it is a paradise for red-tailed black cockatoos, wedge-tailed eagles, kites and falcons. There are scattered grasslands and many species of eucalypt. The geological history is also fascinating. What feels like old country is actually relatively young geologically speaking, with the 1.7 billion year old Arnhem Land Plateau the most visible result of the complex geological processes that have occurred over aeons.
DAY 1 – Darwin via Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge to Biddlecombe Cascades
We’ll pick you up from Darwin Airport or CBD for the spectacular drive to Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge.
Arriving at Nitmiluk Gorge by lunchtime, you catch the ferry across the beautiful gorge ready to begin your hike. The trail winds through 17 Mile Valley and comes to a cascading waterfall amongst high cliff faces at the Northern Rockhole.
Continuing your hike, you will soon arrive at the sandy ground of Biddlecombe Cascades. Plenty of delightful pools to wallow in as you await your delicious dinner. A night camped under the stars completes your first exciting day. LD
DAY 2 – Biddlecombe Cascades to Crystal Falls
Today, same as all days on the trail, we’ll make an early start to avoid the heat of the day. The trail meanders along the rocky escarpment that runs along the edge of 17 Mile Valley. You will come across pockets of thick vegetation, as well as some paintings done by the Jawoyn people.
You will arrive at the beautiful Crystal Falls with plenty of time to explore the many rocky streams that lead to the Falls. It’s a glorious spot with plenty of shade, as well as many incredible places to swim. BLD
DAY 3 – Crystal Falls to 17 Miles Falls
Hike: 10 kms
From Crystal Falls you head along the escarpment to reach a rock-art site. The paintings here depict ghostly white figures, some with six fingers on their hands. It’s an incredible display of rock art where you can take your time to see the detail.
Further along the escarpment is The Amphitheatre, which contains an array of Jawoyn art in a pocket of rainforest. There is a trail off the main trail to explore this special place.
You will soon arrive at the campsite which sits on a plateau beside the spectacular single-drop 17 Mile Falls. Ancient geological pressiures have casued the rocks to twist and buckle, creating a meandering flow of water to loll about it. As evening falls and the stars awaken, the rocks cast a golden glow. BLD
DAY 4 – 17 Mile Falls to Sandy Camp Pool
Hike: 16.8 kms
Not far from the spectacular waterfall, the trail descends from the plateau to a vibrant wetland. The vegetation is different here in the marshy wetland, with Grevillea, Banksia and Pandanus dominating. Migratory birds stop here to find food. There are a few small river crossings in the Edith River Crossing area, beautiful to wash off your feet and enjoy the shade of the paperbarks.
You will arrive at the peaceful Sandy Camp Pool, a quiet and relaxing waterhole fringed by paperbarks and peppered with waterlillies. The perfect location to really relax and unwind. BLD
DAY 5 – Sandy Camp Pool to Sweetwater Pool
Hike: 11.1 kms
The Edith River runs alongside the trail for much of the day, screened by paperbarks. There is a profusion of grasses and strappy plants, and a variety of brightly coloured birds drawn to the river.
Once you arrive at Sweetwater Pool, there is again an abundance of places for a dip, and plenty of time to loll about in the sparkling aptly named waterhole. BLD
DAY 6 – Sweetwater Pool to Leilyn Edith Falls, then to Darwin
We have a relaxing but spectacular final hike to reach our pick-up at Leilyn Edith Falls with an array of waterholes to splash in, and incredible views from the lookout.
After bidding farewell to the trail, you’ll head out on the highway towards Darwin. You may even be licky enough to stop at some delightful hot pools on the way home to soak your weary muscles.
After a delicious meal in one of Darwins best restaurant’s, you’ll return to your luxurious hotel for a well earned rest. BD
DAY 7 – Darwin and onwards
After a sumptuous hotel buffet breakfast, your official time with the group will be over. You will have experienced a deep-dive into the Jawoyn lands and all that they offer. You will be feeling energised and invigorated after a week of walking and clean eating. What could be better!
WHAT TO TAKE
The Northern Territory experiences very hot days and cool nights. It’s necessary to prepare for all conditions and to have good-quality outdoor clothing. Jeans and cotton clothing are not suitable for hiking.
backpack (65 litres minimum)
pack liner (or strong plastic bag)
3-4 season sleeping bag
waterproof raincoat (Gore-tex or similar)
warm fleece/down jacket
hiking shirt (quick dry material)
polypro/thermals – top & long-johns
2 pairs of hiking socks
warm hat or balaclava
Broad brim sun hat
sunscreen and sunglasses
drink bottles and/or hydration pack (3 litres)
spare shoes or sandals
head torch with spare batteries
spare set of clothes
Optional items: Gaiters, earplugs, walking poles, travel towel, inflatable pillow.
We supply: cooking equipment, tents, mattresses, plates/cutlery, first aid kit, safety equipment, satellite phone and maps.
Includes 7-day guided adventure, 5 nights camping accommodation , 1 night 4.5-star hotel accommodation, transport by private minibus between Darwin and the trail heads, all meals as stated above together with healthy snacks, restaurant dinner, hotel buffet breakfast, National Parks Permits, first aid kit, safety equipment and cooking equipment.
Excludes sleeping bags, travel insurance (compulsory) and flights
Full payment is required 8 weeks before the date of your trek.
20 to 10 days prior to departure – 50% refund of full ticket price
Less than 10 days prior to departure – NO REFUND
Deposits are not refunded.
With any outdoor activity, there is an element of risk. Primal Adventures operates in remote and mountainous areas. Risks in undertaking this activity could include hypo/hyperthermia due to adverse weather conditions, personal injury, or property damage from hiking over rugged and uneven terrain.
Please see Booking Conditions at the footer of this page for further info