Got away in record (for us anyway) time the next morning. Overall, the Outback Caravan Park in Tennant Creek was pretty nice with a pool under a shade sail, shady sites and well manicured, but didn't have anything to keep us, so on we went up the highway. With a 130km speed limit and some unlimited sections, we were surprised to see a few pre-release cars at roadhouses tested by carsales.com before they went on to the magazines - the new Audi RS7 for one. The further we got, the taller the anthills became - some dressed imaginatively in shirts, caps and bras - a kind of 'desert snowman' theme. Daly Waters Pub, 6km off the highway, but well worth a short detour, had a massive collection of caps, bras, money and all sorts of paraphernalia to keep you interested for ages. There was a great beer garden, decent food, beauganvillea covered verandah, helicopter placed strategically upon the repairs shop, and quite the entertaining stopover on top of the "Crocodile Dundee" infamy.Making good time, we pressed on to Mataranka Homestead, arriving a little after 3pm after completing 600km. Home to the "We of the Never Never" novel of the 1920's, the Homestead had a replica of the old house made for the movie, but the main reason for our stopover was the amazing hot springs; don't think there's been a more welcome sight for weary travellers. The temperature, humidity and vegetation had been increasing exponentially since just south of Daly Waters, and theoretically having a hot springs in the tropics doesn't sound like a great destination, but it was a proper oasis! Surrounded by tall palms, the Rainbow Springs by the Homestead were crystal clear and water a very pleasant 30 degrees. We plunged straight in, before cooking tea, and then headed to the Homestead bar for a very entertaining (not sure if in a good way) evening hosted by a fairly plump older lady in a very tight pink mini-dress singing Abba and Johnny Cash covers. She enticed Matilda up on stage for some moves too.With Katherine only 140km away, we had a leisurely morning relaxing in the hot springs, then headed to Katherine to pick up some supplies (busiest supermarket I've EVER been in - 8 deep in 7 lanes) and drove half an hour to our accommodation for the next 4 nights at Nitmiluk campground. We're definitely in the tropics now: lush forest around us, 34 degrees C, and 70% humidity. The campground itself doesn't have a huge number of powered sites, but does have an amazing pool (except when there are 50 high school students as per the first day of our stay) and a bar serving drinks and icecreams. Lovely spot. The visitors centre helped us find an appropriate tour to do up the Gorge, so early the following morning, we boarded our boat and putted up the Nitmiluk Gorge on a 3 Gorge Cruise (Paul and I both had "3 hour cruise" tune humming in our heads until the spectacle of the Katherine Gorge hit us). Overall there are something like 13 Gorges. The first was a wide part of the river with lower cliffs, and then we hopped out of our boat onto a well made pathway leading up to some rock painting, along the cliff and into our second boat. The second Gorge is the Katherine Canyon, shown in post postcards and had lots of water dripping off rocks and foliage plus very tall cliffs. Off the boat again, a short walk along a path, and onto our final boat for the third Gorge. After touring this, we were ushered off on the opposite bank, and with a relatively steep climb and rock scramble, arrived at the glorious Lilly Ponds for a refreshing dip. It was sheer bliss and we spent close to an hour here. Back to camp along the 3 Gorges, more photos, had a great lunch at the visitors centre, and spent the rest of the afternoon in and out of the pool. Also, time to put away all our cold weather bedding and clothing - definitely won't need it for the next 4-5 weeks - so up into the roof rack it went.Day 2 was a lot more sedate. We headed back to the visitors centre for the girls to do some indigenous artwork with the artist in residence, John "Long John" Dewar, 2012 NAIDOC artist of the year. He was very softly spoken, but we managed to piece together his suggestions for animals to draw on our purchased boomerang and plate. He started off the painting and watched in bemusement while the girls attempted to use a reed brush to paint some straight lines. They actually look really good. Back to camp for some school work - first time having WiFi in a while - and into the pool.Day 3: packed a picnic lunch and drove an hour north of Katherine to Leliyn (Edith) Falls at the northern end of Nitmiluk park. There was a stunning lower pool with a shallow part for the girls to splash in, and a large lake. We then did the Upper Pool walk (2km) up steps and a bit of a rock scramble before taking in the delights of the second waterfall. Really beautiful. We rescued some stranded French backpackers who's old van had a flat battery, and headed back to camp to prepare for our trek west to Timber Creek and the WA border tomorow.