Why you must visit Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is on so many bucket lists! Is it on yours? Just 2 hours south of Darwin you will discover one of the most pristine National Parks to be found in Australia.
Monsoon rainforest, stunning waterfalls, magnetic termite mounds, weathered rocky outcrops of sandstone and historic ruins, are some of the reasons why you must visit this popular National Park.
Attracting thousands of visitors each year, Litchfield National Park features some of the most extraordinary landscapes in the Northern Territory in Australia.
Where is Litchfield National Park
Things to do in Litchfield National Park
Just over 100 kilometres south of Darwin lies Litchfield National Park. Named after one of the explorers to visit the area Frederick Henry Litchfield, in 1864.
The park was first known as Rum Jungle, the centre of the Northern Territory’s tin and copper mining until it was designated as a National Park in 1986.
You will see some of the Top End’s unique wildlife and stunning scenery. Expect to find historic ruins, monsoonal rainforest, open eucalyptus bushland, sandstone escarpments and permanent spring-fed waterfalls. Swim in crystal clear swimming holes, and enjoy natural infinity pools and take some of the bushwalking trails throughout the park.
Some of the tracks are 4WD only and seasonal, depending on the wet season rains. Even so, there is plenty to do in Litchfield National Park.
As you drive into the National Park, one of the first stops after entering the park are the Magnetic Termite Mounds along the floodplains.
Built by colonies of termites, the grey Magnetic Termite Mounds are often over 2 metres tall, and at first glance look like a field of tombstones. The Cathedral Termite Mounds are usually over 6 metres tall.
The termites mounds are oriented in a north-south direction allowing the internal temperature to be controlled by ensuring the smallest surface area to be exposed to the heat of the sun.
A series of small waterfalls and rockholes providing the perfect spot to take a cool dip. This natural cascade features some reasonably strong rapids depending so always make sure swimmers are supervised.
There is a 1.7 kilometre bush walk connecting Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls that is ‘easy’ going and provides a great opportunity to see native birds and other wildlife along the way. Camping facilities are close-by if you wish to stay longer.
The Florence Falls are a spectacular double waterfall with a 64 metre drop into the plunge pool below. Set in the midst of the monsoon rainforest, Florence Falls are one of the favourite swimming spots in Litchfield National Park. The big challenge is the 160 steps descending through the rainforest to the falls. Be aware that there are small fish which will nibble at your toes.
If you’re not planning to do the climb, take the vantage point overlooking the falls from the viewing platform.
Take a walk through the bushlands to explore Sandy Creek and Florence Creek walking trails. Both are considered easy going easy going and mostly shady.
The Tabletop Track
If you’re looking for an authentic outback adventure consider trecking the Tabletop Track. At 44.3 kilometres, the Tabletop Track is recommended for fit and well-prepared walkers and will take 2 and 5 days. It is rated as difficult.
Primarily used for hiking, walking, camping and backpacking, the trail is best used from May until September.
It will provide a unique experience of the Northern Territory as you wander along a series of creeks and pass waterfalls, through monsoonal forest and woodlands. Wildlife is abundant so you’ll be sure to see wallabies, flying foxes, cockatoos and kingfishers and so many other creatures.
Camping is allowed only at designated areas along the trail, and you must carry a topographic map of the area. It is also recommended to inform a reliable person of your intended route and estimated time of return.
The Tolmer Falls are spectacular as they gouge their way through the deep sandstone gorge and plummet over 328 feet into the deep pool below.
The 6.5 kilometre Tolmer Creek Walk takes you along the creek to the rockpools above the waterfall. If you want to see more there are other trails further along Tolmer Creek.
No swimming is permitted at this location to protect the Orange Horseshoe and Ghost Bat which are a rare species of bats living in the caves below.
Greenant Creek walk to Tjaetaba Falls
Climb to the top of Tjaetaba Falls before cooling off in the natural infinity pools at the top of the falls. One of the smaller creek systems in Litchfield National Park, Tjaetaba may stop flowing towards the end of the dry season.
The walk along Greenant Creek is a 2.5 km round trip and considered medium grade. The trail begins through the shaded monsoonal forest, before a short climb takes you to the relatively to secluded Tjaetaba Falls and the pools further on.
These falls are an Aboriginal sacred site so swimming is only permitted in the plunge pools upstream. As with any swimming spot in Litchfield, make sure you check all signs and information before diving in.
Wangi Falls is one of the most popular locations in Litchfield National Park due to its easy access, waterfalls and cool freshwater swimming hole. These falls are the most spectacular and the most visited in the park.
After crossing the foot bridge over Wangi Creek, the viewing platform is just 200 metres providing ideal opportunities for bird and wildlife watching. Be sure to take your camera.
Continuing along the Wangi Falls walk, to the viewing platform offering amazing views over the falls and the deep plunge pool.
The Wangi Falls walk is a 1.6 kilometre loop. Start at the plunge pool and continue on to the viewing platform in the rainforest canopy (65 steps) overlooking the waterfall and plunge pool below. Continue up to the secondary plateau (a further 25 steps) above Wangi Falls. The walk takes you on a loop over the creek and winds its way down the escarpment to the rainforest at the plunge pool. Enjoy a swim in the plunge pool.
Swimming is permitted during dry season only, from May until October as rising water levels during the wet season mean increased crocodile sightings, however, the higher volume of water also makes the falls all the more impressive.
Camping sites are available with a cafe and art shop open daily.
One of Litchfield National Park’s best waterholes. The creek flows out of the northern slopes of the Tabletop Range following the creek until the first campsite at Rocky Falls. A great spot for camping with 8 individual camping spots along the creek.
Walker Creek walk is a 3.6 kilometres return so allow approximately 2 hours return with a difficulty rating of moderate. Camp sites at swimming holes have been established approximately every 200 metres along the creek with toilet facilities provided near Campsite 6. Camp fees apply when camping in this area.
Open all year round, this freshwater swimming hole is a favourite with grassland viewing platforms and a walking trail from the picnic area to the top of the Cascades.
Bamboo Creek Tin Mine
Easily accessed, and just a short walk from the car park to the ruins of the old tin mine. The Bamboo Creek Tin Mine was in operation from 1905 until the late 1950’s when challenges with transportation and wet season monsoonal rains brought the about it’s closure.
The walk does a loop around the site starting at the ruins of the stone buildings that were used as living quarters by the miners. In the remaining walls of the main hut you can still see the slits in the wall that were used to fire on attackers. The path then climbs up the hill to the old mine shaft. You are not allowed to enter the shaft.
The path then takes you back down to the ruins of the mill where most of the machinery is still in place including the old engine that was used to run the mill. The mine provides insight into the methods and mechanisms used by early workers to extract the tin from the ground before the invention of heavy machinery.
Allow 2 hours for the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine walk – approximately 3.5 kilometres leading to a crystal clear swimming hole.
Dry Season – 4WD access only
Blyth Homestead Ruins
Blyth Homestead is just off the Sandy Creek Road. The ruins of the homestead built in 1929 by the Sergeant family. Abandoned in the 1960s, Blyth Homestead is a popular attraction for visitors. Accessible by 4WD only during the dry season.
Located along one of the many 4×4 tracks in the south of the park, lies the Blyth Homestead, a rundown old shack built in the 1920s that sits exactly as it was left when abandoned in the 1960s.
The homestead is a throwback to Litchfield’s mineral mining and farming history, and is a reminder of how truly remote the area was for early explorers. A 4WD vehicle is required to access the area, and road conditions should be checked before departing.
Surprise Creek Falls
These small waterfalls are a short walk through the monsoon rainforest to the tranquil pool. Walk a little further in to find smaller pools sunken into the rock face and the start of these falls. A great cooling off spot after the walk in. 4WD only and closed over the wet season.
The Lost City
Accessible by 4WD only during the dry season. Known as the ‘Lost City’, this site is a formation of sandstone blocks and majestic pillars, formed and weathered by the elements and reminiscent of a lost civilisation.
When to Visit
Litchfield National Park is spectacular at any time of the year. The waterfalls flow all year round and are at their most spectacular in the wet and early dry season.
Want to know when the Top End will suit you best? Read up on our posts:
How to get to Litchfield National Park
- Fly into Darwin: from all major Australian cities, Bali or Singapore.
- Rail from Adelaide: Arrive by rail on the Ghan, through Alice Springs & Katherine.
- Drive It Yourself (DIY) from Darwin: Litchfield National Park is approximately 2 hours drive south of Darwin. 2WD vehicles are suitable unless you’re planning to visit The Lost City, Sandy Creek or other identified 4WD only sites. Hire cars are available – ask at your hotel.
- Day tours: Book your Litchfield National Park day tour from Darwin.
Accommodation near Litchfield National Park
We often do day trips to Litchfield National Park however there are a number of Caravan Parks, Hotels and Motels nearby that could help turn your next adventure into a holiday.
Try the accommodation at Adelaide River, Lake Bennett, Batchelor and Berry Springs. They have have a range of facilities to suit every budget. Check pricing options here.
If you like it … put a pin on it
Litchfield National Park is an ancient sandstone plateau that has been shaped by water.
It is one of the Top End’s best opportunities to go camping and bushwalking. Relax and unwind by taking a dip in natural spring-fed waterfalls and rock pools. Litchfield National Park is our little piece of heaven in the Top End!
Get ready to visit Litchfield National Park
- A Good Camera: There will be plenty of great photo moments wherever you are in Australia so bring along a good camera. I highly recommend the Sony a6000. It’s light, compact and takes amazing photos!
- Walking Sandals: The outdoor lifestyle in Australia means you will need some lightweight & heavy duty walking sandals! Be comfortable, treat yourself to a pair here. I love mine.
- A super light Day Pack: The Deuter Airlite Day Pack brings together all around versatility and advanced ergonomics to deliver optimal comfort when hiking. Check out the ventilation system. Perfect for hiking in Australia!
- A Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Stay hydrated in the harsh Australian sun. Get yourself a Yeti Stainless Steel water bottle and refill as you go. Tap water is drinkable in Australia – and free!
- Slap on a Sun Hat: You will need a good sun hat for protection. Here’s a Henschal Hat – Aussie Breezer. A nice wide brim and great airflow on a hot day.
More to read about the Top End
- Darwin to Kakadu – Do the Top End in 6 days
- 10 Best Road Trips in the Northern Territory
- 6 Reasons why you must road trip to Katherine
- Things to do in Darwin, Australia
- Best Pubs to spend Beer O’Clock in Darwin
Have you been to Litchfield National Park yet?
There’s so much to see and do in the Top End, you’ll wonder why you haven’t come sooner! What else is on your bucket list to see and do whilst you’re here?
Reference: NT Gov – Litchfield National Park