With its close proximity to Darwin, picturesque waterfalls, sparkling swimming holes, and spectacular nature walks, Litchfield National Park is understandably popular with Territorians and visitors alike.
A day in the park is only enough to scratch the surface, so if you have the time, consider staying longer to discover more of its hidden gems. Rejuvenate your soul with massages under waterfalls, take long rambling bush walks, and soak up the vistas from the park’s rocky escarpments. You can even fly high above the landscape in a helicopter, before landing to enjoy sunset drinks between the towering termite mounds.
It’s hard to believe it now, but Litchfield was once a tin, copper and uranium mining area and cattle property. The region was designated a national park in 1986 and has since become one of the Territory’s best-loved natural assets.
Here are ten of the best things to do in Litchfield National Park.
Watch our video of top things to do in Litchfield National Park:
Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide’s YouTube channel. In this video, we take you to stunning Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory. Lo…
Litchfield is a pleasant 90-minute drive from Darwin. Along the way, stop and check out Berry Springs Nature Park — a stunning wetland area with swimming holes and shaded picnic areas, and a huge diversity of birdlife. Call into Barramundi Adventures near Berry Springs and reel in a barra without having to worry about sharing the experience with crocodiles!
Located 40 minutes’ drive south of Berry Springs, Batchelor is a small former uranium mining town and the gateway to Litchfield National Park. The township serviced the infamous Rum Jungle mine of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Learn more of its intriguing history at the Batchelor Museum, which is housed in the mine’s former single women’s quarters.
Leave time to see the random replica of Eastern Europe’s Kalstein Castle, or to be a landing pad for beautiful Australian butterflies in a tropical rainforest setting at the Batchelor Butterfly Farm.
While camping is permitted in the park, if you’re after more creature comforts, there are a variety of accommodation options available in Batchelor. They include spacious pool-view motel rooms at Litchfield Motel, secluded luxury bush cabins at Hideaway Litchfield, and even a converted Viscount caravan at pet-friendly Litchfield Tourist Park.
There are two types of termite mounds around Litchfield, and the designated roadside stop just inside the park allows you to see and learn about both the gigantic cathedral termite mounds on one side of the road, and the field of magnetic termite mounds on the other. Magnetic mounds aren’t actually magnetic, but run north-south with the broad flat sides facing east and west. It makes them look like a field of tombstones.
Litchfield’s 1,500 square kilometres boast an assortment of nature-based experiences and adventures, but cooling-off beneath waterfalls or in one of the many spring-fed waterholes tops most visitors’ ‘to-do’ lists. Watch gallons of water pouring over the rugged sandstone escarpment at the top of fabulous Florence Falls, before trekking down the 160 steps to the base of the falls for a refreshing swim and stress-busting massage — courtesy of Mother Nature.
A short drive or 1.5-kilometre walk from Florence Falls will bring you to Buley Rockhole. Chill out in the tranquil plunge pools and laze away the day on the surrounding large flat rocks.
Tucked within a narrow rusty-red-coloured gorge, Tolmer Falls cascades powerfully over two massive escarpments and can be viewed from two cliffside platforms. The gorge is also home to rare orange horseshoe and ghost bats. Swimming is not permitted here; just looking. But it’s absolutely mesmerising.
Probably the most popular spot in the park, Wangi Falls (pronounced wong-guy) sits amidst spacious lawns, barbecues, a café and campground. You can swim here for much of the year, but as always, obey all safety signs. Share the three-kilometre loop walking trail with a myriad of local birds and friendly (for the most part) wildlife, as you head up and over the falls and snap the breathtaking views from the top for Insta.
While most of the park is accessible in a standard vehicle, some areas can only be reached by 4WD. These include The Lost City, Blyth Homestead and Bamboo Creek Tin Mine. The Lost City is not a city, but a series of impressive and unusually eroded rock formations, that with a bit of imagination, resemble a lost civilisation. Suitable for proficient 4wdrivers only, it’s well worth the effort to rough track in to see this natural wonder.
Discover what daily life was like during Litchfield’s mining days at Blyth Homestead. Built in 1928 and abandoned in the 1960s, interpretative boards share the homestead’s history and the trials and tribulations of the era.
From where miners lived to how they worked, the well-preserved Bamboo Creek mine site completes the story. Here, tin was mined from the early 20th century, up until the mine was abandoned in 1955. Connect with nature on a two-hour round trip walk from here to Walker Creek.
Get a birds-eye perspective of the park’s tabletop escarpment, vastness and natural beauty on an NT Air scenic flight by helicopter. Departing from Wangi, NT Air is the only licensed operator permitted to land inside the park. Choose a short whirl around the waterfalls, or fly further and land at more isolated waterholes, historical sites and The Lost City. You can even touch down among the termite mounds and toast the setting sun.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best things to do in Litchfield National Park? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Remember to be ‘croc-wise’ wherever you choose to swim in the Top End. Obey all safety signs and directions.
Cover image: Wangi Falls. Image: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught. Additional images: Bigstock
Nannette Holliday was obviously born to travel — Holliday is her real name. A former TV and radio presenter, Nannette’s globetrotting has earned her the nickname ‘International Woman of Mystery’ amongst friends, while also providing a rich library of experiences to draw on creatively. Many are woven into her first novel: The Sting of Fate, and Nannette is currently working on the sequel. When she’s not drafting chapters for herself, Nannette writes for a variety of magazines, and even ghostwrites books for other people. It all helps keep her in the manner she has become accustomed to — indulging in world travel, fine food and great wine!