Katherine in the Northern Territory experienced a remarkable tourism boom over the first eight months of 2016, with a record 117,121 visitors through the door of Katherine Visitor Centre before August 30.

By comparison, 89,566 people visited the centre in the year to December 2015.

Katherine Visitor Centre manager Faith Williams said they were on track to “smash” their current record.

“People’s perception of the Katherine is the town, the gorge, the springs,” she said.

“There’s so much more to see and do – it’s the best place to visit.”


Ms Williams said passing tourists originally planned to stay just one night, but were easily convinced to extend their Katherine stay to four or five days.

“Normally people have to (stop in Katherine) – we’re the crossroads,” she said.

Ms Williams recommended visiting Katherine Gorge, hiking around Edith Falls, spending time in the city, and scheduling a trip to Katherine Hot Springs when in the area. She estimated 38 per cent of the centre’s visitors were overseas tourists, and about 19 per cent were Territorians.

Finch Cafe co-owner Phoebe Quilty opened her businesses in the middle of 2014, and said at the time there was “slim competition” in Katherine. After a busy 2015 tourist season, Ms Quilty said two other, high-quality coffee shops opened in the area.

“I think we’ve all been flat out – which is great,” she said.