Jatbula Adventure for beginner pack carriers



* 5% Discount applies to eligible past travellers, and Wise Women Walking Gold and Silver Members

Pre-departure training and fully guided pack-carrying trek along the Jatbula Trail


Challenge | Discover | Fulfil


Jatbula Trail Adventure

Guided pack-carrying trek

Trek the western edge of the remote Arnhem Land escarpment in Jawoyn Country.

Do you want to walk the Jatbula Trail but you’re intimidated about carrying a full backpack? Don’t let that stop you, this Jatbula walking tour has been designed with you in mind.

The 62km long Jatbula Trail is an adventure of a lifetime, and with a little guidance, training and experience you will have the tools and confidence to turn your dreams into reality.

The name ‘Jatbula’ comes from an ancient Aboriginal songline (paths across the land) used by the Jawoyn People. This remote trail starts at the Visitor Information Centre at the entrance of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and ends at Leliyn (Edith) Falls.

Exploring spectacular waterfalls, monsoon rainforest, water holes, stone country and Aboriginal rock art makes this a truly great walk. This trek includes full pack carrying and sleeping under the stars at remote designated campsites. Our guides will assist and lead you through this breath-taking wilderness, cook and share insights of this land.

You will walk the trail during a cooler and more comfortable time of the year, so bring your boots, your backpack, your sense of adventure, and come prepared for one of Australia’s best walking trails.


Month prior to departure

Your 2 day micro-adventure (overnight training trip) occurs 4 weeks prior to departure. This will be held on a weekend at Newland Head Conservation Park or within 1 hour from Adelaide’s CBD. This is an opportunity to test your gear, practice setting up camp, walk with a full backpack, and gain practical knowledge and skills. Our adventure guides will share tips and advice to make sure you are ready for the Jatbula Trail.

For those booking from outside of Adelaide, a $250 trip credit will be provided if you are unable to attend this Micro-adventure.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Trail snacks, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 14km each day

Day 1 | Arrive Darwin

Arrive anytime today before 3pm.  There is plenty to explore in Darwin if you arrive early.  After checking in to the hotel, our compulsory briefing with our guides takes place this afternoon with the chance to head out and grab dinner afterwards at a local eatery.

Meals Included: –
Walking Distance: –

Day 2 | Transfer to Katherine Gorge then trek to Biddlecombe Cascades

Our pickup from the hotel is between 5:00am and 5:30am today. Its an early start as we have a 4 hour drive to the southern trail head in Nitmiluk National Park. This location, is a wonderful and significant place and home to Katherine Gorge. A great spot to enjoy lunch amongst the sandstone cliffs and inviting waters.

After lunch, we cross the Katherine River and begin our Jatbula Trail adventure into Stone Country. Reaching The Northern Rockhole presents a fantastic opportunity for you to swim. We then continue our trek to our first campsite nestled beside a clear flowing stream.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 8km

Day 3 | Trek to Crystal Falls

You enter rugged stone country today, deep into the wilderness of the Arnhem Land escarpment.

The significance of this land is highlighted as we come across the cultural rock art of the Jawoyn Peoples. Carefully positioned in the many rocky outcrops and overhangs.

Continuing, we trek to beautiful Crystal Falls and our campsite for the evening.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 11km

Day 4 | Trek to 17 Mile Falls

After breakfast and packing up the camp we trek to The Amphitheatre, a pocket of natural monsoon rainforest. A welcoming spot for a rest amongst the shade of the cliffs. Here, ancient rock art of the Jawoyn First Nations People is exhibited.

Your afternoon trek offers spectacular views as we follow along the edge of the escarpment. Arriving at our camp spot and the picturesque 17 Mile Falls. Here, you can enjoy a swim in the spring fed clear waters in the rock pools above the falls.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 10km

Day 5 | Trek to Sandy Camp Pool

After a refreshing end to yesterday, it’s a big trekking day today.

As we walk, the landscape this morning begins to change. Thick strands of Grevillea and Paperback appear as we approach Edith River Crossing. It’s here you will enjoy a well earned lunch amongst the permanent waterholes and abundant birdlife.

It’s another 5km further before we reach our next nights campsite at Sandy Camp Pool. The journey follows the course of the river on a gentle gradient.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 17km

Day 6 | Trek to Sweetwater Pool

It’s a more leisurely walk today. An opportunity to enjoy the last full day on the Jatbula Trail.

This morning, we follow the Edith River winding its way through this magnificent country. Passing water holes and rocky cascades we arrive at our final campsite by early afternoon. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy, before dinner is served on the banks of the waterhole.

Sweetwater Pool is a great place to explore and swim.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 11km

Day 7 | Trek to Leliyn (Edith Falls) then transfer to Darwin

This morning we pack up camp for the final time on the Jatbula Trail. A chance to reflect on your amazing journey so far.

Today, the Jatbula Trail takes us to our final destination at Leliyn (Edith Falls). However, there is much to enjoy before the end. Some of the best waterholes present along the way and they will tempt you in for a quick dip.

Reaching Edith Falls and completing the Jatbula Trail is a great achievement. One that can be savoured over todays leisurely lunch at the waterfall.

This afternoon we board our bus and transfer back to Darwin. You will arrive back at your accommodation at around 4:30pm.

Congratulations, to celebrate your achievement we enjoy dinner together tonight.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 2 Course Dinner
Walking Distance: 5km

Day 8 | Darwin

Today our tour concludes as we farewell each other after sharing an incredible outback adventure on the Jatbula Trail!  Please ask us how you can extend your stay – consider adding a package to Kakadu, Litchfield and more!

Meals Included: – Breakfast
Walking Distance: –

Need To Know


  • Comfortable private vehicle transport
  • Tent (mozzie dome)
  • Cooking stove & Fuel
  • Crockery/cutlery
  • All meals and snacks as per the itinerary
  • 2 course dinners
  • B x 7 | L x 6 | D x 6
  • 2 nights comfortable hotel (twin share)
  • 5 nights lightweight netted tent in designated campsites
  • Professionally guided walks
  • Swim in warm natural waterways
  • View Jawoyn Aboriginal rock art
  • Pre-departure training adventure has 2 Big Heart Leaders
  • Walk the Jatbula Trail with 2 experienced local guides
  • Group First Aid kit and emergency communication device
  • Leaders certified in Remote Area/Wilderness First Aid
  • Qualified Bushwalking Leaders
  • Small group guided experience
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Invitations to connect with nature
  • Reduce waste through recycling, reusing and composting
  • National Park entry fees
Big Heart Extras
  • Pre-departure micro-adventure (2 day training trip)
  • Guided pre-departure training walks and or program (trip specific)
  • Big Heart Adventures designed ioMerino hiking top
  • Big Heart Adventures designed head sock
  • Big Heart Adventures snack bag
  • Discount card for pre-departure purchases at Exurbia
  • A charity contribution to our Give Back program


  • Flights to and from Darwin
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance
  • Meals and drinks not stated on itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Sleeping bag
  • Backpack

Packing List

A detailed packing list is provided prior to travel

  • Gear you will need:
  • Sleeping bag – we can assist with hiring if needed
  • Sleeping mat – we can assist with hiring if needed
  • Backpack (65-85 litre approx.) – we can assist with hiring if needed
  • Water bottles/hydration kit (min 2Ltrs)
  • Personal medications
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Clothing suitable for walking that is quick drying and breathable – consider merino/synthetic clothing
  • Sun protection such as hat, sunglasses and suncream, insect repellent
  • Sleeping attire


There are stairs, uneven surfaces, carrying full backpacks, sleeping in tents, plus walking bush trails on this trip. Please talk to us about your accessibility needs before booking


  • Type: Challenge Trek Guided
  • Adventure: Jatbula Trail Adventure
  • Destination: Arnhem Land escarpment, Northern Territory
  • Traditional Country: Jawoyn
  • Group Size: Max 9 plus leaders

Fitness Requirement

  • A good level of fitness is required to walk the trails on this trip
  • You will be walking with a full pack (about 16kg)
  • You will walk on a variety of surfaces including undulating trails, river crossings, boggy wet sections, rocky trails, hilly inclines and declines
  • Walking daytime temperature could be around 25 – 30 degrees Celsius
  • Our longest walking day is 17km and we walk 6 consecutive days on this adventure
  • Trail rating: Moderate

Important Information

  • *Eligible Past Traveller Discount applies if you’ve travelled with us on any of our guided tours which were 5 days duration or longer
  • Read terms and conditions before booking
  • Itinerary and price subject to change at any time
  • Travel Insurance is recommended. Get a quote from Covermore or Go Insurance
  • Note weather, group member welfare and a range of circumstances outside our control can mean last minute changes to our itinerary are necessary once on tour
  • A limited number of single rooms are available on a first-come basis for the 2 nights in Darwin
  • Please contact us before booking any flights. Depending on flight arrival and departure times extra nights accommodation may be required at own expense
  • A minimum number of travellers are required for this trip to depart so ask someone to join you. If minimum numbers aren’t reached, we may decide to still go or we will provide a full refund, subject to third party conditions
  • Training walks start 8 weeks prior to departure. We recommend you attend these walks to maximise your enjoyment and for the groups welfare when away
  • For those booking from outside of Adelaide, a $250 trip credit will be provided if you are unable to attend the Micro-adventure
  • A Big Heart Adventures guide will accompany you on the Jatbula Trail if this tour is fully booked
  • If this trip departs during Fire Ban Season – last minute changes to our itinerary or walking days may be required for safety reasons
  • As we are partnering with a local tour operator there are additional terms and conditions, fitness requirements and documents that apply to this departure as a condition of our agreement with them.  These are provided at time of booking and are accepted when a deposit is paid
  • 2-person size tents are supplied for the trail (choose to twin share or sleep alone)
  • Twin share rooming applies for the 2 nights in Darwin
  • Campsites have composting toilets and tarps will be installed if required for shelter
  • Private vehicle transport to and from the trail is included
  • If you have additional needs please connect with us, we’re committed to being inclusive and accessible

Adventure Leaders

Our team is qualified, experienced and super friendly. We will ensure you have a fun and connecting adventure. Leaders are certified in Remote or Wilderness First-Aid. All leaders carry a group first-aid kit, emergency communications device, emergency documentation and equipment.


“I loved this trip on so many levels. The Jatbula Trail certainly pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me realise that I’m capable of anything if I put in the training and have a positive mindset. I now feel so much more confident in my ability to carry a full pack and hike in remote areas of Australia. Thank you Lisa, Kim and the Big Heart team for adding this trip to the itinerary”
“Too many highlights to list ! My top 3: Finishing each day’s hike (around lunchtime) at waterholes and waterfalls and having the ability to jump straight in and cool off. I also loved sunsets each night and the one early morning walk before dawn in silence listening to the birds wake up and taking in the morning glow. My third highlight was seeing the aboriginal rock art”
Photos courtesy of World Expeditions