Discover one of the Top End’s hidden treasures, an unspoiled wilderness boasting diverse flora and fauna and impressive natural formations – all just an 90-minute drive south-west of Darwin.
Covering around 1500km² (580mi²), Litchfield National Park is replete with idyllic waterfalls, pristine swimming spots, beautiful walking trails and hidden natural wonders.
Here, you can explore lush monsoon forests, termite mounds, unusual rock formations and numerous stunning waterfalls.
Ponder the magnetic termite mounds, stroll between sandstone towers of the 'Lost City', wade through a series of rock pools at Buley Rockhole, cool off with a swim in the plunge pool below Florence Falls and browse indigenous arts and crafts at the Coomalie Cultural Centre.
Keep your eyes peeled for the hundreds of species of fauna. Wallabies, sugar gliders, quolls and flying foxes are all common, as is the dragon-like water monitor that can often be seen basking on rocks.
Spot the yellow oriole, figbird, pacific koel, spangled drongo, dollarbird and rainbow bee-eater that inhabit sheltered areas close to waterfalls.
The Marranuggu, Koongurrukun, Werat and Warray Aboriginal people all consider Litchfield National Park to be a significant cultural site.
Litchfield National Park's proximity to Darwin via the sealed Stuart Highway means it's an excellent day trip location – but overnight stays are also recommended. Allow up to three days to see all the sights.
Discover why Wangi Falls is the best-known and most popular attraction in Litchfield National Park.
The falls cascade into a large, easily accessible swimming hole surrounded by lush monsoonal rainforest.
Relax in the expansive manicured lawns of the picnic area and watch the water from the two falls cascade over the rock escarpments into the large plunge pool below.
A choice of walking tracks allow you to easily explore the area around the waterfalls, including a 3km (1.8mi) loop track that takes you up and over the falls and back to the car park, or a return option to the treetop viewing platform.
Camping is the only option to stay overnight, with facilities including a kiosk, hot showers and barbecues.
Note: The falls are regularly closed to swimming during the tropical wet summer from October to March, as currents in the pool can become strong and dangerous. However, during summer, the fast-flowing falls make for spectacular photography and the kiosk and picnic facilities remain open.
Wangi Falls Walk – This two-day 18.5km (11.5mi) bushwalk is part of the Tabletop Track, which takes you from Wangi Falls to Walker Creek.
Along this section of the track the landscape's rocky outcrops and ridges offer plenty of opportunities to see local wildlife, including northern quolls, wallabies, frogs and lizards. There is abundant birdlife to spot: look out for colourful red-winged parrots, double-bar finches, or kingfishers.
From the escarpment the path crosses open woodland and crosses creeks lined with pandanus.
Wangi Falls loop trail – An easier 1.6km (1mi) loop trail is also available starting at Wangi Plunge Pool: climb to the top of the escarpment for a great view, and then stroll back down to the base of the falls for a picnic or a swim.
The bush campsite located at Tjenya Falls offers basic accommodation. Camping fees apply within Litchfield National Park.
Note: The walk is graded as difficult, so a good level of fitness is required.
This trail also forms part of the Tabletop Track in Litchfield National Park.
Greenant Creek Walk – Starting at the bridge across Greenant Creek this 2.7km (1.6mi) loop walk follows the creek upstream before climbing up to the Tjaetaba Falls Lookout and to a tiny pool above the falls where you can swim.
The plunge pool and the area downstream of the falls is a sacred Indigenous site, so you should not swim there.
An easy three-minute walk from the car park takes you to the scenic viewing platform high above the falls for panoramic views of the gorge, surrounding valley and the waterhole below.
A trail descends to the valley floor where you can continue on to a secluded plunge pool for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters.
The pool is located in the middle of a monsoon rainforest, providing plenty of shade from the sun. Florence Falls is open for swimming for most of the year.
A choice of walking trails provide a different perspective of the area. The 1km-long Shady Creek loop trail tracks along a stream through the rainforest-filled gorge, then through woodlands back to Florence Creek, with a short stroll to the car park.
Florence Falls is one of the link trail access points to Litchfields' challenging Tabletop Track.
Camping is available at both the Florence Falls campgrounds.
Florence Creek walk – This is an easy 90-minute walking trail between Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park.
You can choose to start the 3.2km (2mi) walk at either end and follow the trail through cool monsoon rainforest and open savannah woodland.
Along the way, look out for birdlife, including kingfishers, honey-eaters, fairy-wrens and pigeons. Try to spot black flying-foxes (bats) roosting in the trees, and other wildlife such as nocturnal brown bandicoots and northern quolls.
At either end you can swim safely in the plunge pool at Florence Falls or in the series of waterfalls and rock holes at Buley Rockhole.
Unwind in the three-tiered pools of Buley Rockhole – a picture-perfect area shaded by surrounding rainforest and only a short drive from Wangi and Florence falls.
Located in the middle of a tropical rainforest this pretty swimming hole is fed by nearby waterfalls – the perfect spot to lie back and relax in your own private rock pool.
This is a popular spot with locals: visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds and enjoy the magic. There are also picnic and barbecue facilities.
Discover one of the most spectacular falls in the Litchfield National Park as it cascades over two high escarpments into one deep plunge pool.
A short walk takes you to the viewing platforms that offer views of the falls as they plunge over high escarpments into a deep pool.
Tolmer Falls walk – This 1.6km (1mi) loop trail follows an easy path through Top End sandstone country, along Tolmer Creek past pristine rock pools and a tributary.
Note: Swimming is not permitted here. Access to the bottom of the falls has been restricted to protect the habitat of ghost bats and orange horseshoe bats.
This scenic long-distance trail takes you alongside pristine creeks, cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear pools and through native tropical savannah woodlands in Litchfield National Park.
The Tabletop Track is accessed via one of several link trails at Florence Falls, Greenant Creek, Wangi Falls and Walker Creek. You can also vary your route to walk shorter sections of the track.
Along the way, spot local wildlife such as wallabies, possums and flying foxes, picnic at one of the shady spots at Tabletop Swamp and Greenant Creek or cool off with a refreshing dip at Wangi or Florence falls.
This 39km (24mi) circuit hike (or around 50km (31mi) if you include the link trails to campsites) includes three main sections:
Wangi Falls to Walker Creek offers great views as the trail follows the palm-lined creek to Tjenya Falls, then continues through open woodland to Walker Creek – allow two days to complete the 17.5km (10.8mi) hike;
Walker Creek to Florence Falls passes unusual sandstone formations and lush rainforest – allow one to two days for the 10.7km (6.6mi) distance;
Florence Falls to Wangi Falls continues past large castle-shaped boulders and the paperbark and pandanus-lined Wangi Creek – allow two days to complete the 19.7km (12.2mi) walk.
Other hiking options, include…
Florence Falls to Greenant Creek – You can vary the route by walking from Florence Falls to Greenant Creek, around 22km (14mi) – allow two days – and then continue on to Wangi Falls, around 8km (5mi) – allow one to two days. A large part of this track has no natural waterways.
Greenant Creek to Wangi Falls – The 8.5km (5.2mi) loop trail from Greenant Creek to Wangi Falls passes through tall carpentaria palms, fig and weeping paperbark trees.
Walker Creek walk – This 3.5km (2mi) return walk follows a crystal clear creek and should take about two hours. You can swim in the creek near the picnic area or at the shared camping and swimming hole at the end of the walk.
Along the way, look out for local wildlife and listen to the bird calls from some of Litchfield’s 169 recorded species that inhabit this forest area. Secluded camping sites are nestled along the creek.
Walker Creek also provides a link walk access to the Tabletop Track hike.
Greenant Creek Walk – Starting at the bridge across Greenant Creek, this shady 2.7km (1.6mi) walk follows the creek upstream before climbing steeply to Tjaetaba Falls lookout. While graded as moderate, the walk has some steep inclines, so allow about 1.5 hours to complete it.
Along the way, admire the tall carpentaria palms, fig and weeping paperbark trees, and on the forest floor spot geckos, lizards and frogs. During early morning or at dusk, you may spot wallaroos drinking along the creek.
From Tjaetaba Falls lookout admire the Aboriginal sacred site and the creek below. The custodians request that visitors only swim above the falls, so continue to the rock pools a bit further on.
Note: Tabletop Track is suitable for experienced, fit and well-prepared bushwalkers only. Allow three to five days to complete the full circuit. You must camp in designated campgrounds.
Discover hundreds of termite mounds standing up to two metres high in one of Litchfield National Park's most impressive sights.
Up to 100 years old, these structures are unique to the northern regions of Australia.
Stroll along the accessible boardwalks to get close to the two metre-high, thin magnetic termite mounds, and the taller four-metre high cathedral termite mounds.
Marvel at these enormous magnetic compasses, with their thin edges pointing north-south and broad backs facing east-west. This aspect thermo-regulates the mounds for the magnetic termites inside, who prefer high humidity and stable temperatures – feats of insect architecture oriented with the sun to keep the termites cool in baking conditions.
Learn more about the thin magnetic termite mounds, and the even taller four-metre high cathedral termite mounds at the nearby information shelter that provides a fascinating insight into these remarkable creatures and their habitat.
Stroll around this natural collection of unique free-standing sandstone block and pillar formations somewhat reminiscent of the ruins of a long-forgotten civilization. Access to this remarkable site is along a rough and rocky track by 4WD vehicle only.
Admire the stunning views of the open valley, enjoy a picnic lunch and relax by the natural plunge pool.
Tjaynera Falls and its pristine plunge pool are located at the end of a 4WD-only drive and 1.4km (0.86mi) walk through a paperbark-lined open valley.
Tjaynera (Sandy Creek) Trail – Starting at the car park, this 3.4km (2.1mi) loop trail winds along the creek and passes a hillside full of cycad palms before reaching a plunge pool – just perfect for a refreshing swim.
Accessible only by 4WD vehicle, this waterfall and waterhole attract less traffic than the more accessible waterholes elsewhere in the park, and with campground facilities, make for an idyllic spot for a weekend away.
Overnight camping is available at the Sandy Creek camping ground. Note: If going for a dip, only do so in areas that are marked safe for swimming.
Tjaynera Falls are located 1.7km (1mi) south of Blyth Homestead.
Explore the Northern Territory's only butterfly sanctuary and discover a colourful display of natural flora alongside the amazing collection of butterflies.
Get up close to the Australian lurcher, the orange lacewing, cruisers, blue-banded eggflies, canopus and orchard butterflies.
Relax and enjoy the tropical garden setting and take the time to have a snack or meal in the picturesque cafe or licensed restaurant.
Browse a diverse range of distinctive Indigenous artworks from across the Top End and Central Australia.
See striking works on paperbark, paper and canvas, as well as printed textiles, carvings, didjeridoos, fibre weavings and rare traditional ceremonial artefacts.
Learn about cultural projects, displays and performances and wander the unique bush tucker garden.
Look into the restored Blyth Homestead and try to imagine the tough conditions faced by pioneers in these remote areas.
Built by the Sargent Family in 1929, the homestead was abandoned in the early 1960s. Access to the homestead is by 4WD vehicle only.
Camping is the only option inside the national park but there are a handful of accommodation options in Batchelor, a township on the edge of the park.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Batchelor at TripAdvisor.
The best time to visit Litchfield National Park (and the Darwin region) is during the winter dry season from April to October. At this time you can expect cooler weather and minimal rainfall.
Litchfield National Park experiences a tropical monsoonal climate characterised by two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season, with a fairly similar temperature all year round.
The dry season is characterised by warm, sunny days with an average high of 32°C (89°F) in April, May, September and October, and 31°C (87°F) in June, July and August. Humidity is relatively low and rain is unusual.
The wet season, from November to March, is characterised by warm temperatures and monsoonal rain. This season brings the waterfalls and floodplains to life; some roads are closed due to flooding.
During the 'build up' from October to December – the transition between the dry and the wet – conditions can be extremely uncomfortable with high temperatures and high humidity.
Storms are impressive and lightning strikes are frequent. The Top End of Australia records more lightning strikes per year than anywhere else in Australia.
About Darwin weather…
Litchfield National Park is located around 120km (75mi) south-west of Darwin – an 90-minute drive on the sealed Stuart Highway, via the small township of Batchelor.
The most convenient route to Darwin, from overseas or interstate, is by air to Darwin International Airport (DRW), located about 12km (7.4mi) northeast of Darwin city centre.
Due to the sheer number of must-see attractions in Litchfield, it's best to either rent or take your own car, or book an organised tour – numerous Darwin-based tour companies run tours to the park's main highlights.
You may also choose to drive the Nature’s Way from Darwin through Kakadu National Park and into Nitmiluk National Park before returning via Litchfield National Park; or vice-versa.
To the east of Litchfield National Park, sits Kakadu and Arnhem Land; to the south, lie Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park.
About how to get to Darwin…
Latest update: Litchfield National Park: 23 October, 2020
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