If you head out of Katherine for a picnic or a day of relaxation, or even fishing, stop by at Lower Level Nature Reserve, about 3 kilometres south of Katherine. Spread over 105-hectares, this reserve got its name from the low level bridge/weir that was built by US troops stationed nearby during World War II.
Looking at the weir at Lower Level Bridge
This bridge made of a concrete on concrete piers, consisting of 9x11m spans and is designed to allow traffic to cross the mighty Katherine River. Under the low level bridge is a weir, which although made of concrete, gives the river a bit of character as the water cascades several feet to the lower level.
Pristine clear water
The low level bridge stands only 6 feet above the dry season water level. This invites lots of people to jump from the bridge and plunge into clear water underneath. It's not safe at all to do that. Many people also swim, not knowing that the current at the weir has the capacity to hold you with force against the concrete wall. The river looks so inviting to swim with the water depth of only around 3-5 feet max and looks ideal for families. But please do remember that sometimes nature;s force has other ideas and it not safe to swim at the weir, especially while in flood. It is impassable during much of the wet season (Dec-April), when the bridge disappears under 40 feet of water. At this time, you can only see trees.
If you are wondering where the water is from, well, this water originates in Arnhem Land. It then flows through the Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge and passes through the town of Katherine.
Enjoying the nature beauty
This reserve is open for 24 hours and free. There's lots of shady area around it.
Lots of shady area for picnic
If you have children who need to burn out their energy, there is playground to keep your children occupied. There is also a network of bicycle paths if you want to try to keep your body fit in such relaxing environment.
Fishing is permitted and the river holds barramundi, black bream and the northern snapping turtle. The river trees are home to colonies of red and black flying foxes. Best to do fishing around April-June, before it gets too cold for the Barra.
Gas BBQ facilities are provided. Just grab a few steaks and sausages then you will be alright. No need pre pack picnic food. Invite your relatives, friends or colleagues for a fun day at the reserve. Plenty of car park (even coach parking) is available.