Katherine Eating, Drinking and Entertainment
Last updated 27/04/2014
Knotts Crossing Resort Savannah Bar & Restaurant
Corner Giles and Cameron Street
This is one of Katherine’s finest restaurants along with Galloping Jacks. If you want a first class meal then Knotts Crossing is a good option. Expensive by Katherine’s standards but for a good restaurant with good food the prices are reasonable. One of their most popular dishes is pork, the outside crisped nicely like pork crackle, the inside soft and tender, drizzled with a sweet port based sauce. Really delicious. In my opinion they also do the best steaks in town. Good meals combined with a pleasant setting, big outdoor dining area and nice bar makes the Savannah Bar and Restaurant a highly recommended spot in Katherine for a meal. Service is ok, not great depending on who you get. Used to be called Katies Bistro.
RJs Bar and Restaurant
3 Giles Street
RJs bar is part of the Katherine Motel, which is located behind the Katherine Hotel on Giles Street. A tidy little bar that we enjoy going to. Friendly staff and owner, personized friendy service from locals rather than your typical backpacking tourists, good value drinks, and being pretty small and tidy makes it a classy little bar for Katherine standards. Also has reasonable meals at the bar or the restaurant. One of our favourite spots for a quiet drink. On friday night it get’s pretty busy.
Corner of Cyprus St and Katherine Tce
On the southern outskirts of town, Galloping Jacks is up there with the best in Katherine in terms of food quality. Top notch meals is our experience here. More expensive than average, but pretty normal for a better quality restaurant. The dining area is clean and modern and there’s a nice alfresco area too. Similar standard to Knotts Crossing, it’s a good place to grab a meal if you’re after quality. It gets my recommendation. It’s part of the Ibis hotel complex, formerly All Seasons.
Katherine River Lodge
Giles Street (Gorge Road) Katherine
Feels like your’re stepping back in time with the décor of this restaurant. Reasonable meals and a small bar, it’s acceptable, but with similar prices to Knotts Crossing and Galloping Jacks they need a bit of an upgrade on their décor and meals to match the competition. Still, it’s somewhere different to try if you want a proper restaurant experience and pretty convenient if you’re staying at the lodge.
The Coffee Club
13 Katherine Terrace
The Coffee Club is a trendy café recently renovated in the old Stuart Hotel building. On the main street of Katherine, it’s not a bad joint for sophisticated people like myself to meet up and talk business. Pricey, clean, modern. One of the most modern cafés or restaurants in Katherine. Good for a light meal, cake and of course coffee. Pleasant spot to relax with a latte and check your investments on the share market or read the newspaper.
Katherine Hotel and Kirby’s Bar
Katherine Tce Katherine NT 0850
Katherine Hotel is right in the center of town. It’s a bit of a smelly old man’s pub during the day, not the classiest spot in town, but worth a look for something different. At night it quietens down a bit and is ok for a relaxed drink. There are pool tables and keno machines to keep you entertained. The bar at the rear, called Kirby’s Bar, is pretty good. It’s popular with locals on Friday night where it turns into a bit of a dance floor area with a DJ and often has live music playing on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Paraway Hotel Carriage Restaurant and Junction Bar
The Junction Bar is a nice little bar. Feels a bit trendier and exclusive compared to your average Katherine pub. The restaurant is nicely presented and offers good food. It has the novelty of allowing you to cook your own food on a hot stone right at your table. There’s also chef cooked food on the menu if you don’t want to be held responsible for a poorly cooked meal. The bar is fancy for Katherine and has a nice outdoor area around lush gardens and the swimming pool. Great spot to relax with a cold drink.
Katherine Club (RSL branch)
One of the only places in town that is reliably open for lunch and dinner nearly all the time, along with the Country Club. The RSL club is a friendly venue with a couple of bars, bistro and sports betting. Food and drink are good value and their meals are decent quality and huge. Have a look at their steak sandwich effort. Good place to go if you’re really hungry. They have a large dining area and a few TVs, some showing sports, others showing miscellaneous TV shows, so if you’ve been travelling for a while and need a TV fix then come to the Katherine Club.
Katherine Sport and Recreation Club
40 Giles Street
Busy when sports are being played on the rugby field, the Katherine Sport and Recreation Club has pool tables, plenty of dining area, a nice bar and TVs displaying sport. It overlooks the sports field where local teams often play. It’s super busy when there’s a game being played in Friday night. Reasonable meals are available, typical pub style counter meals. One night we were there during rugby grand final and they served free finger food – wedges and fried chicken chunks. Pleasant surprise it was to get something for free.
Katherine Country Club
40 Pearce St
Along with the Katherine RSL Club, the Katherine Country Club is one of the only places in town that is reliably open for both lunch and dinner nearly all the time, even Sunday. Nice bar, a nice beer garden with pool table and heaps of room, and a kids jumpy mat makes this a good spot for the family. Usually pretty busy any time of the day, it’s pretty popular with the locals. We bump into someone we know every time we’re there. Good friendly atmosphere, pleasant setting and good meals. Just don’t complain to the chef unless you want to get yelled at! TVs display sport, and sport betting is available.
Adelaide River Inn (Diggers Bistro)
Adelaide River, 200km north of Katherine
Adelaide River is a tidy, attractive town on the Stuart Highway about 200km north of Katherine or 115km south of Darwin. The pub is a great little spot. Beautiful open beer garden with lush green grass and palm trees, a nice bar, relaxed atmosphere, cold beer and good meals. I was extremely satisfied with a steak sandwich I got from Adelaide River. They also have on display the preserved buffalo from Crocodile Dundee.
Apart from the pub, Adelaide River also holds a small markets on the weekend where you can buy local produce. There’s also the railway museum and the war cemetery with it’s beautifully well maintained gardens. You’ll be surprised with the history of this small town thanks to the regional gold rushes and its use as a WW2 military base. Fishing is available at and around the low level bridge, although the water level can get a bit low in the middle of the dry season. There’s a good caravan park with nice grassy sites at reasonable rates.
The Lazy Lizard
Pine Creek is a small mining town north of Katherine, just under halfway to Darwin and a couple of km off the Stuart Highway. There’s a gem of a pub there – The Lazy Lizard. Big outdoor character pub, timber and stone structure, modern comfortable furniture, big logs for structural posts, aboriginal art on the walls and sculptures carved into some of the wooden posts. There’s pool tables and TVs displaying MTV. Plus it’s kept really clean and tidy, one of the highest standards we’ve seen for an outdoor style outback pub. Good spot. I wish Katherine had something equivalent.
Grove Hill Heritage Hotel
East of Stuart Hwy
Just north of Pine Creek, Grove Hill Heritage Hotel is accessed to the east of Stuart Highway from two signposted routes. Coming from Darwin, turn left at the Grove Hill sign down the sealed road. It’s 13km of sealed road followed by 9km of good gravel road. Coming from Katherine, turn right into the Grove Hill Road. This route is 16km of gravel track. Both routes are clearly signed and the gravel is easy going and suitable for 2WD vehicles and caravans. The Hotel is a bush style steel building, built in 1934. Despite being only a short drive off Stuart Hwy, it feels like you’re really in the middle of no where. It’s a good aussie bush pub owned by a typical bush character, Stan. Apart from drinks and food available at the bar, there’s accommodation, camping and a museum with mining and pastoral relics on display plus heaps of information on the history of the hotel and the area. The accommodation is basic – old transportable dongers. You can also camp. A free barbeque is held on the last Saturday of every month during the dry season, with free food, free overnight camping, live music and dancing. Good fun nights, I recommend attending if you get the chance. The free food provided when we went was first class. I was expecting sausage in a bun, but actually it was roast pork, roast turkey, apple sauce, bread, salad and curried eggs. The bbqs stop in the wet season, but the pub remains open all year around.
Pussy Cat Flats
Off Kakadu Hwy, near Stuart Hwy intersection
Open after 4pm everyday, this is another outback pub worth a look. The access road is signposted off Kakadu Hwy. Travel a couple of km up Kakadu Hwy from Stuart Hwy then turn left at the sign. It’s also a caravan park and camp ground. The property has its own racecourse which is usually used once a year for a horse race. The rest of the time it’s just a nice grassy track that people can use to go for a walk or exercise their dogs. Apparently the only racecourse in Australia that uses termite mounds as part of the fencing.
Emerald Springs Bent Bull Bar and Grill
Emerald Springs Roadhouse, Stuart Hwy North of Katherine
As a general rule, roadhouses aren’t getting a mention in this article. The Bent Bull Bar and Grill at Emerald Springs is an exception. You won’t believe it’s a roadhouse. It’s a ripper bar on the side of the Stuart Hwy about halfway between Katherine and Darwin. Usually roadhouses have a small, old, smelly, crappy bar and serve fast food style meals. Not here. A modern bar with good furniture, a character timber bar stand and a very nice timber decked outdoor area with some dining tables, comfy lounges and a pool table. The food is pretty good too. You get proper pub style counter meals. Great bar, make sure you have a look when you’re driving through. You’ll be impressed.
Sugar Bag Café
Katherine Gorge Visitor Centre
Nitmiluk National Park
Set on a huge outdoor timber decking area overlooking Katherine Gorge, this is a beautiful spot to relax and have something to eat or drink when you’re visiting Nitmiluk National Park. A tad expensive, but what do you expect given the location at Katherine’s premier tourist attraction. Open until 4pm daily. If you want dinner around Katherine Gorge you need to head to the caravan park kiosk.
20 First Street
Yes Katherine has cinemas! Three theatres in this little complex on First Street. Well kept premises pretty similar in standards to any cinemas you’d see in a big city, they screen movies, sell popcorn, chocolate bombs, maltesers, drinks, and you can’t put your feet on the seats. Ticket prices are slightly cheaper than big city rates.
Silver Screen Café
20 First Street
Part of the cinema complex, it’s a handy spot before /after going to the movies or any time at all. Seems to be busy all the time with travellers. Provides typical café foods along with drinks and of course coffee. It’s a good spot, we’ve stopped by a few times for a coffee and a read of the newspaper.
Happy Corner Store
12 Giles Street
This is a good lunchbar. Extensive range of food, more than a typical lunch bar, and dine in tables with TV. I like to grab a coffee and make use of their TV and airconditioning whilst reading the Katherine Times. It’s pretty busy with a constant supply of locals coming through, mainly tradesmen driving past and people working in the area. It’s also a convenience store / mini supermarket which is handy if you need to get something quickly and you don’t want to wait in line at Woolworths for half an hour.
16 Second St
Set up as a lunch bar, Bucking Bull is good for some hot lunch on the go. Cool drinks, coffee, hot rolls, hot sandwiches, and your usual selection of deep fried goodies are available. Plenty of tables to relax in the airconditioning if you want to dine in. More space than your average lunch bar so you can get your own table and chill out for a while. Sees a steady flow of locals getting their coffees and food throughout the day.
Katherine Arcade Internet Café
Katherine Tce, behind Terrace Flowers
Located in a little arcade just in from the main street through Katherine, the Katherine Arcade Internet Café is set up like a lunch bar, and has a few computer terminals to surf the net with. Has your typical lunch bar array of hot foods, plus cool drinks and coffee. Pretty quiet spot where you can grab a quick lunch and get yourself re-acquainted with a computer and the internet, useful if you’ve been travelling for a while.
Nino’s Pizza and Chicken
Lindsay Street, near Dollars and Sense
Little family run pizza bar on the side of the main shopping complex in Katherine. Serves up pizzas popular with the locals. Has a small dining in area or of course takeaway. Also do deep fried chicken and chips.
Katherine Tce, near BP
More of a lunch bar, the Jade Café serves pretty good food. They have an extensive menu, with proper a la carte style meals, your usual burgers, rolls, deep fried goodies plus some Chinese style food from the bain-marie. Has a few tables to dine in and find relief from the heat of the day. They make a good steak burger too.
Good old reliable Red Rooster is in Katherine. Nothing unusual to report here. Dine in, takeaway or drive through. If you want a drive through alternative to McDonalds, here it is.
15 Frist Street
Yes Katherine is a bustling town with its own McDonalds. In the past I didn’t mind occasionally loading up on saturated fat if I got a decent burger, but these days I seem to always get served up slop and end up regretting it. There’s a McCafe and free wifi so it’s not all bad. You can relax with a coffee and play on the internet, if you’re able to tolerate the super slow internet speed. Dine in, takeaway or drive through.
Corner of Victoria Hwy and Stuart Hwy
Nothing special to report here. Fast food pizza in Katherine, pick up or home delivery.
Katherine is sophisticated enough to cater for the modern health conscious fast food consumer. If you want a quasi-healthy fast food alternative, then go for Subway. They have a small dining in area with a couple of tables.
Katherine Central Shopping Center
The shopping center in Katherine is modern and reasonably sized for somewhere out in the sticks. A couple of specialty shops, fast food, bakery, butcher. Of course there’s the Woolworths supermarket, reported to be one of the busiest in Australia. No visit to Katherine would be complete without the traditional half hour wait in line at Woolworths. So you have to wait half an hour to buy your milk and groceries. No big deal, it’s part of the laid back culture of Katherine. Enjoy it while you’re here. Katherine needs another supermarket.
New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant
Shop 1, 32 Katherine Terrace
No outback aussie town is complete without a Chinese Restaurant. Katherine is so good it has two. One of them is the New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. It has basic furnishings and a small lunch bar sort of layout serving chinese food. Has all the dishes you’d expect from your typical Chinese Restaurant. Dine in or takeaway. BYO alcohol.
Regent Court Chinese Restaurant
7/25 First Street, Pandanus Plaza
The second Chinese Restaurant in Katherine, this one is a bit bigger with a layout of a proper 30 year old suburban Chinese Restaurant. Reasonable food, all the dishes you want, dine in or takeaway and BYO alcohol.
Katherine Lower Level Caravan Park Bistro
Situated near the lower level recreation area, the Katherine Lower Level Caravan Park has a bistro open to the public. Signage to the bistro is non-existent, even most of the locals don’t know about it. Turn up the main entry of the caravan park, past the visitor’s carpark, into the “campers only” area and keep going until you see the bistro on the left. The bistro is all outdoors, taking advantage of the splendid weather typical of the region in the dry season. I’m guessing it’s not open in the wet season. The bistro has reasonable food and a pleasant tropical feeling outdoor dining area. Some weekend nights feature live music too.
Marksie’s Stockmans Camp Tucker Night
Held Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights at the Katherine Museum from March to December. Eat out under the starts around the campfire. Marksie cooks up some traditional outback aussie tucker including camp oven veggies and roast meat, damper, barramundi, local beef, camel, bush tea and camp oven scones whilst sharing some stories and jokes. He uses some traditional Aboriginal herbs and spices to flavour some items. Don’t eat lunch, the food is delicious and in huge proportions. BYO alcohol.
Nitmiluk National Park Kiosk
Gorge Road Nitmiluk National Park
Within the Nitmiluk Caravan Park, the Kiosk by the pool is a great spot. Lovely outdoor setting, green grass and plenty of activity in the pool to keep you entertained. They have a basic menu and salad bar which is included with every main. The selection of meals is small but the quality is good. A little pricey but you are a fair bit out of town and at the main tourist attraction of the region. Alcohol can be purchased from the Kiosk but cannot be taken into the pool. Some nights on weekends include live music too. There’s heaps of wallabies around and they seem pretty used to people so it’s a good chance to get up close and take some photos.
Springvale Homestead Caravan Park Bistro
Situated adjacent to the Springvale Homestead, it’s in a nice outdoor setting near the Katherine River. I believe the bistro is closed in the wet season. Serves your typical caravan park bistro foods.
Corner of Victoria Highway and Stuart Highway
Eagle’s Nest was a pub. Unfortunately it closed down in May 2012. I never had a chance to check it out and I don’t know why it closed.