Nearly all grey nomads travelling between the Northern Territory and Western Australia will pass along the Victoria Highway … and that means they’ll pass through the small town of Timber Creek.
Not surprisingly, most choose to stop here to enjoy the Victoria River, marvel at the area’s deep valleys and gorges, or to visit the nearby Gregory’s Tree.
And why wouldn’t they?
The town – which is located some 300 kilometres west of Katherine – has a population of less than 300, and was named in 1855 by Augustus Gregory when he used timber from the banks of the creek to repair his expedition’s boat.
The intrepid explorer also famously inscribed the dates of his expedition on a large boab some 15 kilometres or so from the present town.
A trip out to see the iconic inscription on Gregory’s Tree is pretty much a must for all grey nomads. The Big Horse Creek camping area is nearby, and is a popular stop with many travellers, not least because it’s a top spot to cast a line.
Fishing for barramundi in the Victoria River is one of the great attractions for visitors in the area. Another is the original Timber Creek Police Station which now operates as a museum recording the history of the local area. A police station was originally built here in 1898, and the heritage-listed building was substantially improved in 1908.
Another great way to get to grips with the area’s history is to stroll the two-kilometre Heritage Trail which begins behind the council building and follows a series of historic sites and pioneer graves.
For an overview of the area, Policeman’s Point Lookout is a short drive to the west of town and offers spectacular views of the Victoria River winding through rugged hills and ranges. A little further afield, the stunning Judbarra / Gregory National Park, which spans 13,000 square kilometres, is broken into two distinct sections … eastern and western.
The scenery is stunning, formed in large part by the way the Victoria River has cut through the ranges to create dramatic red cliffs and natural amphitheatres. One of the natural highlights is certainly the extraordinary Limestone Gorge.
In terms of places to stay, the Wirib Store and Tourism Park, which is owned and operated by local Indigenous group, the Gunamu Aboriginal Corporation, is highly thought of by travellers. There’s also the Timber Creek Hotel and Circle F Caravan Park and Motel, and there are some excellent camping options at the Judbarra / Gregory National Park which – by NT standards – is just down the road.