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As if I hadn’t already fallen in love with Darwin, it had to go and throw Litchfield into the mix as well. This National Park turned out to be one of my favourite places I visited in the whole of Australia!
Just a short 2 hour drive from Darwin and you’ll be in the heart of this gem of a place. It’s an awesome mix of water holes, waterfalls and crazy big animal-related things (you’ll see what I mean in a bit). It’s the kind of place where it’s natural beauty gives you everything you want from a trip away from the city.
A huge bonus is that all the things to do in Litchfield National Park are nice and close together. This makes it so easy to fit lots in within a quick overnight trip, or even a day trip. Furthermore, it’s also great news for you fellow 2WD travellers as you don’t need a 4×4 to visit it!
Oh, and did I mention you can camp next to one of Litchfield’s waterfalls for a couple of dollars?
Yep, Litchfield is freakin’ awesome!
So without further ado, here’s my guide to visiting and 6 awesome things to do in Litchfield National Park.
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Where is Litchfield National Park?
Located in the north of the Northern Territory, Litchfield is just 100km south of Darwin which takes just 90 minutes to drive. The drive to the national park isn’t the most interesting but the park will well and truly make up for that.
When is the best time of year to visit Litchfield?
One very important thing to know about the Northern Territory and Darwin is that it has two season – wet and dry. As you’ve probably guessed, the rainy season can have some days with seriously torrential rainfall which can make it tricky to have such an outdoorsy day. The dry season runs from May to September and when we visited in June, the weather was fantastic. Darwin is pretty much always hot which makes cooling off in Litchfield’s waterfalls bliss. However, the park is open all year round and the wet season is when the bushland really springs to life.
How to get to and around Litchfield
There are no public transport or hop-on-hop-off style services around the national park so the easiest way to reach and travel around Litchfield is by using your own vehicle. Of course, we had our van so were able to spend as much time as we wanted at each place and camp the night there. If you don’t have your own camper, then take a look at vroomvroomvroom.com.au to compare hire options so you can make the most of your trip.
If a self-drive trip isn’t for you then there are a number of tours that go to Litchfield so you won’t miss out. Take a look at some awesome ones below.
Top tips for visiting Litchfield
- Unlike many spots in the Northern Territory, you don’t need a 4WD to visit much of Litchfield National Park. The main waterfalls and swimming holes are super easy to reach and much of the park is on sealed roads. Perfect for campers!
- I recommend getting to Litchfield early if you want to avoid the crowds from the tours arriving.
- If you’re visiting in the peak season (the dry season) then be sure to book your campsite in advance as they can fill up quickly.
Where to camp in Litchfield on a budget
This camping spot is hands down one of the best I stayed at! If you love waterfalls (I mean, who doesn’t) this is your chance to sleep almost next to one. Wangi Falls Campground is one of 6 national park campgrounds and costs just a few dollars a night to stay. The campsite is right next to the incredible Wangi Falls which is just an incredible spot. There are shower facilities as well as BBQs and basic camp kitchen.
Be sure to get here early though as spaces fill up really quickly in the peak season. Tom and I were lucky to get a spot and only got there in time thanks to a Ranger telling us how busy it gets. I actually recommend going to this campsite first just to pay for your space. You will also need to pay in cash so make sure you have some on you.
6 awesome things to do in Litchfield National Park
1. Get a photo with the huge Magnetic Termite mounds
I know seeing what essentially is a pile of dirt made from creepy crawlies sounds a bit ‘meh’, but these mounds are actually pretty impressive! Throughout our drive through the outback we had seen termite mounds everywhere but knew nothing about them. The Magnetic Termite mounds in Litchfield stand at a whopping 5m and the entire bushland there is covered in them. It’s an unusual site to see and you’re able to get up close to the mounds and find more out about how they are formed.
2. Dive into Buley Rockhole
Time to crack out your swimmers and, well, pretty much keep them on for the rest of the day. Buley Rockholes was definitely my favourite swimming spot in Litchfield. Made up from a series of cascading pools filled with crystal clear water. The lower pools are nice and deep making them great for jumping in, and the ones further up have rock ledges making them great for relaxing in.
We reached Buley by about 9am and found there to be only a few other people there; it was so good! By about 9.30-10am things started to get busier, so having an early start will pay off.
3. Swim under two waterfalls at Florence Falls
Just a little further up the road is the beautiful Florence Falls. This double waterfall is in such a spectacular location surrounded by forest with viewing platforms and walking routes around the top of the gorge. It’s just a short walk from the car park to reach the waterfall and it’s another great swimming spot.
Florence Falls was already pretty busy when we got there but most people were relaxing on the rocks rather than swimming so we still had plenty of space.
4. Catch the views at Tolmer Falls
This isn’t a place you can swim but the views over Tolmer Falls are spectacular. This is a massive waterfall compared to the others you’ll see in Litchfield with the water falling over 2 escarpments. There’s an easy walkway from the car park that takes you to the viewing platform and from personal experience, it’s a great spot first thing in the morning.
5. Relax and stay at Wangi Falls
This is a really popular spot but it’s so, so beautiful. Wangi Falls is the perfect place to take a rest even if you’re not camping here the night. There’s a small cafe and plenty of picnic space to chill out near the falls. The Falls itself is fantastic. The plunge pool is large and you’ll get some good exercise in swimming over to the waterfall. When you get there, you can climb up the rock to a hole which is like a mini natural pool.
6. Take the Wangi Falls loop to hidden views
As well as the beautiful waterfall, you can take a 3km loop trail to the top of the falls to more swimming holes. The trail starts from the picnic area and the first section is relatively steep but it levels off somewhat after. We saw a grand total of 2 other people doing this walk so it was pretty special to have a place like this to ourselves. The views from the top are always worth the effort too.