Edith Falls

Edith Falls (Leliyin)

Edith Falls, Northern Territory


  • It is a series of cascading waterfalls and pools on the Edith River in the Nitmiluk National Park.
  • It is located approximately 60 km north of Katherine.
  • Falls descends from an elevation of 176 metres above sea level.


The Traditional Owners

  • The Aboriginal people of Jawoyn are the traditional owners of the Nitmiluk National Park.

1800s – 1900s Early Intervention

  • 1800 – 1962 – The land was used for pastoral and mining industries.

1900s – 1980s

  • 1948 – A settlement for Aborigines was established.
  • Many Jawoyn moved away into the short-lived government settlement for Aborigines.
  • 1962 – The Katherine Gorge National Park was declared.
  • 1963 – Edith Falls area was declared as a National Park.
  • 1977 – The amalgamated 2900 sq. km. Nitmiluk National Park came into existence.  

1980s – The Handback

1989 September 10th – Nitmiluk was handed back to the Aboriginal traditional owners. 

1989 – It was leased back to the Northern Territory Government to be jointly managed by the traditional owners and Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory.

Major Beliefs

  • The landscape of Katherine Gorge was created by Nabilil (crocodile) in the primordial time (burr).
  • He came from the sea, furnished with his fire-stick and passed through the Dagoman and Nangiomeri lands before reaching the Gorge.
  • He named all of the area’s distinctive features in Jawoyn language.

For more information on the beliefs of the ancestral Jawoyn people please visit this website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawoyn

Tradition / Customs

Land and Language

  • 1871 – The Edith River was named after the wife of SA Governor Sir James Fergusson, Lady Edith Christian Fergusson by W. McMinn.
  • The Edith Reservoir was named at about the same time too.
  • Leliyn is the traditional Jawoyn Aboriginal name for the falls.
  • The Aboriginal people traditionally used this area for fishing, hunting and as a refuge.

Art & Culture

  • The Aboriginal people of Jawoyn have an on-going cultural connection with the Park.
  • The Aboriginal people originally used this area for cultural practices.

Animals / Birdlife


Places spotted



206 bird species

Nitmiluk National Park

Fish / Reptiles:


Freshwater fish, turtles, crustaceans, 78 reptile species, 25 amphibian species 

The pools at Edith falls




44 types of mammals

Nitmiluk National Park

For more information on the animal and birdlife of the region please visit this website: excursion-guide-leliyn-edithfalls-nitmiluk-national-park.pdf

Edith Falls – Nitmiluk National Park Tours

Features of the tours:-

  • Swim at the rock pool of Edith falls and the secluded Sweetwater pool
  • Picnic lunch
  • River cruise or canoe on Katherine Gorge
  • Aboriginal rock art
  • Wildlife spotting

Notes for traveller safety and comfort:-

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Travellers should have moderate physical fitness 
  • Please hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, towel, insect Repellent, swimming gear and water bottles
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes