Katherine is a town situated 320 km southeast of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the third largest settlement in the territory after the capital Darwin and Alice Springs. At the 2001 census, Katherine had a population of 6,488.
Set in promising grazing and future agricultural country, the town’s main economic source has often been gold, but this has lessened after the closing of the mine at Mt Todd. There is increasing tourism and the RAAF Base Tindal 17 km southeast of town is also contributing to the economy. The town has several churches, sporting clubs, parks, a well kept golf course, and a showground.
Katherine town and surrounds provide plenty of park and garden areas. Dakota Park, Giles Park, Jukes Park and O’Shea Park are in the town. Tourist attractions include Nitmiluk National Park and Katherine Hot Springs. Along Riverbank Drive on the Katherine River, Katherine Hot Springs provide swimming, shaded picnic tables and BBQ facilities.
Today Katherine is a key regional centre supporting the cattle and tourism industries. Located at the junction of major tourism drives, the Savannah Way and the Explorers Way , Katherine is an important visitor gateway for the Northern Territory.
The Pastoral industry, mining, defence (RAAF Tindal) and tourism all play a major part in the economy of Katherine. In 2003-04, the estimated total value of agriculture production from the Katherine region was $75M; $52M from cattle, $16.5M from fruit and vegetables and $7M from hay and other field crops. Production from mining in the region was estimated at $201M in 2003-04, or 13% of NT mining and energy production. Major commodities included lead, zinc, barites, limestone and gravel.
Leisure and entertainment activities in Katherine are mostly nature-based. Katherine Hot Springs, Mataranka Hot Springs, canoeing in Nitmiluk Gorge on the Katherine River, fishing on the Victoria, Daly, Roper or Katherine Rivers are all popular leisure activities.