A beginner’s guide to Litchfield National Park (Northern Territory, Australia)

Litchfield National Park contains stunning waterfalls, swimming holes and surrounding Australian bushland. The park is very accessible as a day trip from Darwin at around a 90min or 100-120km drive from the city depending on which entrance you take. Another option is to stay overnight at a campsite within or surrounding the park. Litchfield is an excellent first stop on an adventure through the top end – see our one week in the top end road trip itinerary to see where this road can take you!

The map above shows the broad geography of the park. There are two main entrances into Litchfield and they differ in the quality of the roads. Take the Batchelor route to enter on sealed road. The entrance via Berry Springs (Cox Peninsula) is a great way to get through the park without turning around, although it includes around 15km of rough unsealed road so you may want to check your vehicle is suitable and permitted (in the case of hire vehicles) to drive on that type of road (as an aside – on our trip to Litchfield we took the unsealed road in, and so did this magnificent road train which seemed to have taken a wrong turn and then got stuck going up a particularly steep hill – quite an inconvenience but an experience nonetheless!).

Needless to say – road trains should not be taken on this road

There are good facilities throughout the park including toilets, showers, campsites, picnic benches and car parks making it an enjoyable place to visit. Most attractions offer different walking options allowing you to choose the intensity level. There are also attractions that are accessible via 4WD. Refer to the map provided by the Northern Territory government to help plan your visit.

Wangli Falls

Wangli Falls, Litchfield National Park

This is one of the most popular sites in Litchfield with picturesque waterfalls surrounded by rainforest, swimming holes, walking tracks and viewing platforms. It has good facilities with picnic benches, barbeques, toilets, showers and car park. Make sure you read the signs carefully as the watering hole is not suitable for swimming all year round, particularly in the summer months (October to March) when the currents can be strong. The falls are a short easy walk from the carpark making them highly accessible and family friendly.

Tolmer Falls

Tolmer Falls – Picture: Darwin Tours

Tolmer Falls is located around halfway through the park, and just off the main road. Tolmer Falls features two large drop waterfalls, the largest of which is almost a 50 meter drop from top to bottom. The waterfalls are for viewing only due to cultural sensitivities, but you can enjoy a stunning lookout over an incredible vista over the waterfall and the park more broadly at this location.

Florence Falls

Florence Falls – Picture: Life of Py

This is another popular waterfall and swimming hole in Litchfield. Follow the short steep stairway down to the plunge pools for a refreshing swim in the clear water. You can also take the longer but more scenic 1km Shady Creek walk to avoid the stairs and crowds in peak periods. If you’re not up for the full walk, there is a viewing platform close to the carpark for a panoramic view of the falls and surrounding bushland.

Magnetic Termite Mounds

This site allows you to get up close to the termite mounds. These towering structures are unique to northern Australia and are 50-100 years old. There are two types mounds – cathedral and magnetic. The magnetic mounds are narrow and north-south facing to optimise sun absorption whereas the cathedral mounds are tall standing between 4-8 metres high. There are some information boards at the site detailing the facts and history making for an informative and interesting experience. The mounds are close to the (sealed) Batchelor entrance of the park and are a great first stop before heading to other attractions such as Florence Falls.

Other destinations in Litchfield

This is just a sample of the many amazing experiences you can have in Litchfield National Park. There are other great options – particularly if you have a 4WD available – include the Lost City, Tjaynera Falls and Cascades. Be sure to comment below – what are your favourite things to do in Litchfield National Park?

One final note…

The global travel situation is constantly evolving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Domestic travel options have reopened in Australia, and we’re looking forward to the day when Australia reopens to international travellers. We’re frequently researching the best options for travel once it’s safe again, so be sure to check out our articles on 5 places to travel to once borders reopen, and follow our blog and our social media accounts (TwitterInstagramFacebook) for the latest updates. Thanks for reading to the end, here’s to another Better Break soon!

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