Jatbula Trail, a must do in the NT
The 5 day 4 night 61km multi-day hike had been planned for over a year with over a dozen interstate friends excited and ready to make the journey to the Northern Territory to join me on this adventure. Then COVID-19 ruined the year. Nonetheless, I was still able have a great time with Mrs Wooman and some other great friends.
The start of the trip involved us narrowly avoiding disaster. The first, a misplaced Akubra, the second, no milk powder which our 5 days of meals relied upon!
Some frantic running around and a couple understanding Territorians saw the team escape any sunburn or starvation related epics!
I've done many multi-day treks in Australia and after completing the Jatbula Trail, I confidently place this in my top three. By no means was it an over challenging excursion, but it left me wide eyed with joy right until the end when as my teeth sunk into the long awaited buffalo burger.
A different fresh water experience at the end of each day really stands out to me as key appeal. My personal favourite was Day 2's Crystal Falls. Get here early as there's plenty to explore upstream and downstream, just don't fall over the edge of the falls!
Although the terrain didn't vary from day to day as much as Thorsborne Trail or Overland Track, each segment between camps had its own character. Starting low, you progressively ascend to a plateau, lending to some spectacular views of falls, gorges, and escarpments.
I had grown up in Canada with a view of Australia based on movies such as Crocodile Dundee and Quigley Down Under. This trek for me was a quintessential Australian experience that reminded me of my childhood perceptions of the land.
I leave you with my top tips, some useful references, and a video showcasing our journey.
Wooman's top tips:
Book ASAP. Reservations open 1 November each year and sells out in minutes.
Try to travel earlier in the season as the waterholes begin to dry out by late August..
Park your car at Edith Falls (end) and book a transfer to Nitmiluk Info Centre (start) and stay at the lodges or camp. This way the end of your journey is not restricted to pick-up times and you can have more of a relaxing morning on day 1.
Bring a hammock.
Take good company and some camp games.
Leave early, especially in the hotter months.
Bring a hammock.
Finish with a buffalo burger...or 2.