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A Traveller’s Guide to Keep River National Park

Are you ready to explore a hidden gem of the Northern Territory? Keep River National Park may be small compared to other national parks. Still, it keeps giving with spectacular honeycomb-shaped rocks, fantastic scenery, aboriginal culture, bird life, bushwalking and camping, all in peaceful surroundings. My family and I loved our visit here and are keen to share our highlights with you!

The stunning Jarnem walk
The stunning Jarnem Walk by @portable_drifters on IG

Getting to Keep River National Park

Keep River NP is 468 km from Katherine in the NT or 3 km east of the NT/WA border, making it a “no-brainer” destination when travelling between NT and WA. The park is 2WD accessible with a few corrugations, so there’s no reason not to come!

The best time of year to visit is between May to August when temps range from 10 degrees C to 35 degrees C. We visited in August when it was dry and the temperature was starting to rise, but it was still okay to check out the park walks. Between November to April, the warmer, wetter weather would make the lagoon and rivers pretty speccie.

Camping in Keep River National Park

Camping is available at two National Park campgrounds – Goorrandalng (18 km from the park entrance, and where we stayed – fantastic view!) and Jarnem (32 km from the park entrance). Both campgrounds have tables, fire pits, and composting/ pit toilets available, and they must be booked online. Don’t forget your NT Parks Pass also!
family selfie mum dad and children at keep river national park northern territory
honeycomb-shaped domes on the Goorrandalng walk keep river national park northern territory
Honeycomb-shaped domes on the Goorrandalng walk photo by @portable_drifters on IG

Breathtaking Walks in Keep River

We loved walking through the gorgeous countryside on two of the walks, both of which were easy enough for us and the kids.

The 2 km Goorrandalng Walk from our campground weaved up and around the honeycomb-shaped sandstone formations, with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, interesting rock features, trees and bird life. A must-do in our books!

 

 
Picture of a family in Nigli Gap on the Jarnem Loop
@portable_drifters on IG at Nigli Gap on the Jarnem Loop

Jarnem Loop Walk

The 6.5 km Jarnem Loop Walk departing from the Jarnem campground was the highlight of our stay! An extraordinary walk taking in the Jarnem Lookout- overlooking the breathtaking floodplains and escarpment below, followed by a loop around to the Jarnem escarpment at Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap), where the abundance of honeycomb-shaped sandstone formations next to tall Livistonia palms is a breathtaking sight! A walk not to be missed!

 

The spectacular Goorrandalng, Keep River National Park
The spectacular Goorrandalng, Keep River National Park by @portable_drifters on IG

Aboriginal Culture 

We enjoyed our first foray into Aboriginal culture within the NT, visiting Ginger’s Hill Walk and checking out the stone structures typical of those built by Aboriginals throughout the region.

On the Jarnem Loop Walk, we saw some great examples of Aboriginal rock art at Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap), our favourite being the emu! The Jenemoom Walk also offers more cultural experiences for those up for further walking!

 

Emu rock art at Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap)
Photo of Emu rock art at Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap) by @portable_drifters on IG
sunset colours at Goorrandalng
Sunset colours at Goorrandalng by @portable_drifters on IG

Relaxing in Nature

Another great thing about Keep River? The opportunity to relax in nature once the walks are done. We enjoyed bird-watching at the pretty Woorrilbem/ Cockatoo Lagoon while having a picnic lunch. Many Egrets, Cormorants and Herons were enjoying a splash!

Back at the Goorrandalng campground with the stunning honeycomb sandstone formations as a backdrop, we spent a few afternoons enjoying the view, watching the bird life and marvelling at the gorgeous colours on the sandstone at sunset. Cosying up around the fire pits at each site was a great way to finish the day and inspired us to cook an epic pork roast in our campfire pot – delicious!

Ensure you include Keep River National Park in your next Northern Territory holiday – you won’t be disappointed! From breathtaking vistas to the incredible honeycomb-shaped rocks, from the bird life to the Aboriginal culture – there is something for everyone! You will want to keep coming back! Leave only footprints behind as you traverse the trails and immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of the National Park! We would love your feedback – we encourage you to share your experiences, questions, and suggestions in the comments below.
Picture of a family in Keep River National Park
@portable_drifters on IG family time at Keep River

You can always get more inspiration for other National Parks to visit by following @northerhq or get your Keep River National Park daily fix @keeprivernationalpark

*Cover image is by @portable_drifters on IG.

Picture of Anne Porta

Anne Porta

Anne Porta is a mum to two girls, Matilda (11 yo) and Lucy (9 yo), who along with husband Matt, has taken off from regular jobs on the NSW Central Coast to discover Australia during 2023. They are easily recognisable in their bright green Cub Drifter camper-trailer fondly known as “Kermit”, as they hit the dirt roads and get off the beaten track. You can follow along with the Portable Drifters on Instagram or Facebook.

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