Darwin locals are fortunate to be within relatively easy reach of some of my favourite National Parks in Australia.
If you have at least a week and you’re exploring the Top End of the Northern Territory, then I highly suggest a looped road trip from Darwin taking in Katherine Gorge, Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks.
But if you only have a day or two, Litchfield makes for a great getaway from Darwin as it’s is only a 90 minute drive from the city.
It’s one of the best places in the Top End of Australia to go swimming, with waterfalls plunging off the edge of the escarpment into crystal-clear, safe swimming holes. And by safe, I mean salt-water crocodile free!
And it’s easy to see why Litchfield attracts 260,000 visitors each year – stunning tropical waterfalls and swimming holes, monsoon rainforests, giant termite mounds, wildlife, historical sites, walking and 4wd tracks.
Highlights of Litchfield National Park
1. Buley Rockholes
This was my favourite part of Litchfield National Park.
It was the perfect place to visit with our kids and we recommend getting there early to escape the tour buses and have the rock pool serenity to yourself.
The Buley Rockholes is a series of rock pools that has water cascading through them. Walk up to the top and take your pick of rock holes to sit in for awhile.
Spend a few hours moving from one to the other. It’s hot enough to warrant it – even in the winter.
2. Florence Falls
Florence Falls is a double-plunge waterfall leading to a popular swimming hole. There is a steep staircase down to the pools passing through a lovely viewing point, but it’s not to strenuous.
Otherwise you can take the walk down to the falls from the car park via Shady Creek track. We didn’t get to do it, but it’s meant to be very pretty. And you can walk between Florence Falls and Buley Rockholes.
3. Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls is probably Litchfield’s most popular attraction with the largest swimming hole, picnic area, and onsite cafe – our kids enjoyed an ice cream here on a hot day, and it can be especially busy around lunchtime in peak season.
If you’ve got young kids like me, entering the waterhole is easier than at Florence Falls and it’s clear and shallow in close. Just be aware that it gets deeper and darker the further you swim out.
4. Walker Creek
If you want a swimming hole experience that is away from the crowds then take the 3km walk along Walker Creek to shared swimming hole number six. It was small, but just lovely to have all to ourselves and so refreshing after such a hot walk with two kids.
Along the walk you’ll see various private camp sites next to the creek with their own private swimming hole. Worth considering pitching a tent if you like bush camping. Number one was my pick.
5. Magnetic Termite Mounds
These termite mounds are incredible. Built by thousands of termites with a north-south orientation to control the temperature inside the mounds and to minimize exposure to the sun.
You will pass these termite mounds first if you enter the park from Darwin, we saved them for last on the way out.
If you have a 4WD then you can have an adventurous off-road experience to places such as The Lost City and Tjaynera Falls.
Litchfield is small enough to enjoy over a day, or big enough to explore over a weekend. But if you can, consider visiting mid week to avoid the weekend rush.
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