Keep River National Park might be small, but it is beautiful and has tons of magnificent sights to see. The site is home to several geological marvels and ancient Aboriginal rock art sites. Keep River National Park is located on the lands of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people.
How to Get to Keep River National Park
Keep River National Park is located on the border of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is 181km (a 2-hour and 20-minute car ride) away from Baines, 491km (a 5-hour and 20-minute car ride) away from Katherine, and 804km (an 8-hour and 30-minute car ride) away from Darwin. Keep River is also 67km (an hour-long car ride) away from Kununurra in Western Australia. From Baines, take Legune and Moonamang Road to National Highway 1 (114km). Then, take National Highway 1 until you reach Keep River Access (67km). From Katherine, follow Giles Street and O’Shea Terrace to National Highway 1 for 2km. Take National Highway 1 for 467km. Finally, drive to Keep River Access for 22km. From Darwin, get on National Highway 1 in Holtze from the A15 (19km). Then, follow National Highway 1 to Keep River Access in Baines (764km). Finally, drive to Keep River Access for 21km.
There are 6 different walking tracks you can trek on during your time at Keep River National Park: Ginger’s Hill Walk, Goorrandalng Walk, Jenemoom Walk, Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap) Walk, Jarnem Loop Walk, and Jarnem Lookout Walk. Get excited because you know it’s going to be good just (especially after seeing this bloke’s enthusiasm)!!!
Read on for the joy of the walk!
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Keep River National Park Walk 1: Ginger’s Hill Walk
The Ginger’s Hill Walk is relatively short. It is 200m (return track) and will take you about 15 minutes to walk the whole thing. The track is graded a 2, which means no bushwalking experience is required and is not more than 10km. The Ginger’s Hill Walk leads you to a traditional hawk-hunting hide. The hide was built by a local Miriwoong elder and provides the Miriwoong people with a hunting opportunity by using the hunting patterns of hawks and other birds of prey. Aboriginal hunters would sit in the hide and light a small fire, attracting hawks due to the smoke rising. Once the hawk was in their sight, the Aboriginal hunters would grab the bird and kill it.
Keep River National Park Walk 2:
The Goorrandalng Walk starts at the Goorrandalng Campground. It is a 2km loop that takes about an hour to complete. If you are short on time, it is recommended that you complete both the Ginger’s Hill Walk and the Goorrandalng Walk to truly experience Keep River National Park. The Goorrandalng Walk is graded as a 3, meaning that it is suitable for most ages and fitness levels. It’s a moderate hike, requiring a little bit of prior bushwalking experience. The track takes you on a tour of Keep River’s spectacular sandstone situation. The trail is marked by blue arrows, and visitors can view the honeycomb sandstone formations that form all around the park. On this track, you can also learn about the Brolga dreaming. Signs along the way will introduce you to some wildlife that inhabit the area.
Keep River National Park Walk 3:
The Jenemoom Walk takes about 2 hours to complete because the trail is 3km long (a return track). The track is graded as a 3, meaning it is moderate. It is suitable for most ages and skill levels, and some bushwalking experience is recommended. The name “Jenemoom” comes from the native Miriwoong people. Visitors stroll along the bottom of a shallow gorge system where semi-permanent pools of water remain throughout the year. This walk is located between two campgrounds. The site historically supported many family groups, demonstrated by living shelters and art sites.
Keep River National Park Walk 4:
Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap) Walk
The Langgerrbi Walk starts at the Jarnem Campground. The walk is a 6km return track. Allow yourselves about 2 hours to complete this trek. The track is graded as a 2, which means it doesn’t require prior bushwalking experience. The track of the Langgerrbi Walk is a hardened and compacted surface that might have an occasional step/hill section. The walk heads west across a blacksoil floodplain before entering Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap) and following the base of the Jarnem escarpment. Wind and water have eroded the soft sandstone that is situated around the Jarnem escarpment, and the sandstone has formed archways, gorges, rocks, and caves.
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Keep River National Park Walk 5:
Jarnem Loop Walk
The Jarnem Loop Walk starts at the Jarnem Campground and is a 6.5km loop. The loop takes about 3.5 hours to finish, and the trail is graded as a 4 (moderate to difficult). Bushwalking experience is recommended for this trail, and tracks may be long, rough, and very steep. Please observe all posted directional signage. The Jarnem Loop walk links the Lookout and Langgerrbi (Nigli Gap), and it should be completed in an anticlockwise direction. After the Lookout turnoff, the track wanders down a hill to a eucalyptus wonderland. The mini-forest heads toward the Jarnem escarpment. The sedimentary sandstone located around this walk has provided food, shelter, and water to the local Miriwoong people, similar to the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia. Aboriginal paintings are found all along the walk.
Keep River National Park Walk 6:
Jarnem Lookout Walk
The Jarnem Lookout Walk also starts at the Jarnem Campground. The walk is a 4.6km return track and will take you about 2.5 hours to complete the walk. The trail is graded as a 4 (moderate to difficult). Bushwalking experience is recommended for this trail, and tracks may be long, rough, and very steep. Please observe all posted directional signage. At the Nigli Gap intersection, take a right and follow the Jarnem Lookout trail as it winds through the base of the range. There is a steep climb along a natural creekline that leads to a lookout. The lookout has beautiful views of the Keep River floodplain, Jarnem escarpment, and Miriwoong dreaming trail.
Where to stay in when visiting Keep River National Park
There are only two campsites in Keep River National Park: Camping at Goorrandalng and Camping at Jarnem. The Goorrandalng Campground is 18km away from the park’s entrance. It is sheltered by sandstone formations. Jarnem Campground is 32km away from the park’s entrance (far end of the park). Camping fees apply to both campgrounds and are payable on-site (cash-only). The fees are $3.30 per adult, $1.65 per child, and $7.70 per family per night. Caravans are allowed at both campsites. There are also private campgrounds near/around the park (not in it): Lake Argyle Resort & Holiday Park, Parry Creek Farm Tourist Resort & Caravan Park, Ivanhoe Resort, Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park, and The Station at El Questro . You’ll also see overnight options to book in the booking link below.
Now that you have all the information on these magnificent walks – it’s time to prepare for your Keep River National Park walking adventure. Go ahead and follow our Instagram account for more information. And, if you’ve been before please drop a comment if there’s anything we’ve forgotten! Keep adventuring with Keep River 🙂
* Cover photo was shot by @michaeldaddow on IG.