Top Things To Do In Litchfield National Park
The Darwin locals have been keeping this gem under wraps for far too long.
With its pristine and diverse natural beauty and abundant attractions, it’s time that Litchfield National Park revealed its true colours to the world.
This is one incredible destination, even rated by many locals as being superior to the more widely known Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
So just what is so special about this 1 500km2 wilderness area in the heart of the Northern Territory?
For starters, it’s only an hour and a half drive from Darwin so getting away for a day trip or better still, an overnight stay is quick and easy. And if you love bushwalking, wildlife, bird-watching, swimming, camping, experiencing nature or just getting away from it all, Litchfield offers a myriad diverse environments including dramatic waterfalls and crystal clear plunge pools, spring-fed streams, monsoon rainforests, towering sandstone outcrops, rocky escarpments, historic ruins and intriguing termite mounds. Although some of these can only be reached by four-wheel drive, the major attractions are all linked by sealed road and are easily accessible – so there’s every reason to visit this glorious wilderness region.
Let’s look at some of the top things to do in Litchfield National Park:
These spectacular falls cascade from the edge of the Tabletop plateau into a deep pool surrounded by monsoon forest. An easy three-minute walk takes you from the car park to the lookout area where you can enjoy spectacular views over the gorge and the falls. If you’re feeling a little more energetic or fancy a refreshing dip in the pool beneath the cascading water, you can follow the gorge rim walk which descends 135 steps to the valley floor.
While you’re there, you could do the Shady Creek Walk – an easy 950m loop which winds gently along the creek and through the rainforest before returning back to Florence Falls. And if you’re really lucky, you may even spot the shy short-eared rock wallaby in the woodlands.
These are probably the best-known of Litchfield’s attractions and are only 150kms south of Darwin.
The caravan and campsite is well-appointed with modern amenities including an open-deck cafe, information booth, toilet facilities and BBQ areas with manicured picnic lawns and gardens.
A thundering segmented waterfall descends 84 metres over several tiers into a crystal clear swimming hole, plus there are spectacular bush walks as well as some resident wallabies, making this one of the most popular places to visit in Litchfield Park. And it’s open all year round!
To enjoy the amazing natural surroundings, you have the option of an easy 300m stroll along a boardwalk to a lookout point or a longer 1.6km interpretative scenic walk from the swimming hole up to the viewing platform in the canopy of the rainforest. And for the really energetic, there’s always the Wangi Falls Walk, a two-day extravaganza of nature that takes you 18.5kms through lush bush along the Tabletop Track to Walter Creek in the green heart of Litchfield National Park.
These are arguably the most spectacular waterfall in the park, cascading over two soaring escarpments into a deep plunge pool and although access to the base of the falls is restricted, the dramatic beauty of the falls can be admired from a lookout area above.
For those interested in wildlife, the Tolmer Falls are home to colonies of rare ghost bats and orange horseshoe bats.
Other must-see watery attractions in Litchfield National Park include the tropical oasis of Sandy Creek Falls (also known as Tjaynera Falls), Tjaetaba Falls and Buley Rockhole.
Magnetic Termite Mounds
You’ll see many termite mounds around the Northern Territory, but none is as impressive or as intriguing as the magnetic mounds in Litchfield Park.
At first glance, the hundreds of mounds standing up to two metres high look like a massive tombstones, but they’re more than just quirky silhouettes. These architectural feats are created by millions of tiny termites and many of them are up to 100 years old.
The really fascinating thing about these mounds is that they’re actually massive magnetic compasses, carefully constructed so that their thin edges face north and their broad backs face south. This allows them to dodge the sun’s rays keeping the interior chambers, arches, tunnels and chimneys cool to protect their ant inhabitants.
A viewing area with accessible boardwalks takes you right close to the mounds, including some of the Cathedral Termite Mounds which stand about four metres high. Plus there’s an information shelter at the site with fascinating facts about these remarkable creatures and the structures they’ve built.
The Lost City
These towering sandstone outcrops aren’t called the Lost City for nothing.
Aptly named because they look man-made and conjure up an image of the ruins of an ancient civilization, these weathered and weirdly shaped monoliths cover an area the size of a small town and are estimated to be over 500 million years old.
However, access to this spectacular and remote site is by 4WD only and only experienced drivers should tackle the challenging and rocky road conditions.
The Blyth Homestead
Anyone interested in Australia’s pioneering past will enjoy a visit to the Blyth Homestead in a remote area of the Litchfield National Park.
Built in 1928 and abandoned in the 1960’s, this historic homestead on the site of an old tin mine has been restored to tell the story of the trials, tragedies and harsh realities of the lives of the early pioneers in this isolated, remote region. There’s an interpretive on-site display, entry is free and access is by four-wheel drive only.
Litchfield National Park isn’t just another remote wilderness area. It’s one of the jewels of Australia’s north and offers something for everyone, but remember, some roads and attractions are seasonal so always check what’s open before you head off.
And if you want to see this spectacular region from a unique aerial perspective, you should look at what Outback Floatplane Adventures have to offer. All of their tours include a low level scenic floatplane ride over the diverse landscapes of Litchfield National Park, so you can experience this pristine wilderness in an exciting and unique way.
Their full-day excursion also includes a ground tour of the area including Tolmer, Wangi, Litchfield Café and Batchelor, so it’s a great opportunity to see the full spectrum of what this amazing place has to offer plus an exciting view of the falls from the air. For more details, please contact Outback Floatplane Adventures on 08 8981 4881 or visit www.outbackfloatplanes.com.au.