The Tours Gecko Canoeing conducts Ecotourism-accredited, nature-based tours in the Savannah Woodlands of the Katherine and surrounding river systems. Leaving civilization behind, tours of up to 8 guests travel from 1 to 7 days at a relaxing pace. Gecko Canoeing specialises in high quality, personalised, small group environmental experiences.Top quality canoes and kayaks are the mode of transport, allowing clients to immerse themselves in the natural environment, abundant with beautiful flora and fauna. It is an exceptional nature-based experience with aspects of adventure, wilderness, culture and the environment.
The tours are led by highly experienced Savannah guides and interpreters, offering an informed commentary and providing a unique and memorable experience for guests. Gecko Canoeing is a Savannah Guide Operator. Savannah Guides were the winner of the prestigious British Airways ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Award 2000 and are an assurance of a high standard of customer service. Gecko Canoeing has won Northern Territory Tourism Awards for Tourism Excellence in Ecotourism, 2003, 2004 and 2005, Adventure Tourism in 2003 & 2004 and Outstanding Interpretive Guide in 2004.
Since 1994, Gecko have taken overseas and domestic guests, families, couples and singles and have had favourable feedback, return bookings and plenty of satisfied customers.
The Environment The Katherine/Flora/Daly River System is what is known as a ‘drop pool’ river. This means that as you paddle along the river you will see deep, flat waterhole sections that are divided with small moving water stretches. Deeper waterholes, sometimes up to 8 kilometres in length, are picturesque, calm and flat — allowing for easy, relaxing paddling. The vegetation provides shade during the hottest part of the day and it’s all very relaxed. When moving water sections are encountered, you know you have reached the end of a deep waterhole section.
Elevation drops vary, from rock bars and gravel races to narrow chutes and pandanus channels. In any case, these areas are always very beautiful and the flow of the water increases, allowing time for a bit of a wake up. Great fun and a little bit of excitement await you at the moving water sections of the river.
Simple rapids exist, between grade 1 and 2 on the International River Grading System. These rapids suit beginners and can be lots of fun. Guides know the rivers extremely well and will offer you advice and prepare you with enough knowledge to safely negotiate these areas. Take the challenge, take a step out of your comfort zone and prepare yourself for a great time and some fun photo opportunites. Safety and enjoyment is Gecko’s priority. When you go on a Gecko Canoeing experience, you can expect to be paddling downstream on peaceful stretches of water, separated by small rapids or channels around every hour. No paddling experience is necessary and it is not crucial to be a proficient swimmer as you will be wearing safety equipment (a PFD - Personal Flotation Device). Capsizes sometimes occur, however this is not a problem! The water is a comfortable temperature, the craft allow you to be able to get back onto them easily, and your guide will always be close by to assist you.
You will never be asked to do anything you are not comfortable with.
The Wildlife Freshwater crocodiles are the predominant species in most of the Katherine Region rivers. The estuarine crocodile also inhabits the waterways of the Katherine Region, however the numbers are distinctly less. The Parks & Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory have a Crocodile Management Plan that is active in the Katherine River. This allows crocodiles to be located, trapped and removed to a local Crocodile Farm for research and breeding.
Parks & Wildlife use helicopter spotting and night spotlighting from boats to keep track of what is in the rivers. Gecko have also volunteered their eyes and ears to help the process. As they are regularly utilising the river, they can keep track of movements and sightings of crocodiles, passing this information onto Parks & Wildlife to help with their research and records. A healthy tropical savannah river system isn’t complete without the presence of crocodiles. Gecko operates to the highest safety standards so that guests are not placed in any danger.
There are a variety of other wildlife species that may be seen on a trip with Gecko Canoeing. These include turtles, wallabies, monitor lizards, dingoes, frogs, frill-neck lizards and snakes. There are an abundant variety of birds in the region, so these trips are a delight for keen birdwatchers, or just those who appreciate the wonders of the natural world.
For the angler, a fishing rod and a handful of lures is a must. There are barramundi, sooty grunter, archer fish, catfish and tarpon present along with other smaller species, so flicking a lure around can be a relaxing and rewarding way to spend a bit of time.
A Magical Experience If you’re interested in a unique Top End experience, then a trip with Gecko Canoeing is the answer. There are a variety of tours of different lengths, and they also run fascinating walking tours if you prefer hiking to paddling. For details on the full range of tour options, contact Gecko Canoeing or check out the website.
Gecko Canoeing Phone: +61 8 8972 2224 OR 1800 634 319 www.geckocanoeing.com.au
General Katherine Information www.visitkatherine.com.au