Situated close to the idyllic beaches of the Northern Territory, Litchfield National Park is a must-see national park in Australia. Polka-dotted with a wide array of amazing sights, you know you’ve come somewhere magnificent from the minute you arrive in the area and catch a glimpse of the diverse landscapes. Relax in the waterholes, go wildlife spotting or trek all the way out to the mysterious, sandy remains of the natural Lost City; there is no shortage of activities in the park for avid visitors. Let the stresses of everyday life be lifted as you explore the cracks and crevices of this captivating, Australian gem, also listed as one of the best things to do while in Darwin. Read on for our detailed guide of this great park.
- An abundance of jaw-dropping waterfalls and crystal-clear plunge pools where you can spend your days lounging and rejuvenating
- The magnetic termite mounds (trust us)
- The phenomena of the peculiar ‘Lost City’ to the south
- The park is easily accessible with a wide range of accommodation in the area
- Can be quite crowded, especially around public holidays
- Some sites require a car with four-wheel drive
|Number of annual visitors||260,000|
|Size||1500 sq. km|
|Entrance fee||There are no entrance fees. There are camping fees per person, per night that range in price but normally no more than USD 8*.|
|Permits||Permits are not required to visit the park.|
|Common animal sightings||Antilopine kangaroo, the agile wallaby, sugar gliders, flying foxes, dingoes, and even the rare orange leaf-nosed bat and the elusive ghost bat.|
|Best season to visit||Anytime, but be aware that during the wet season, the trails and hikes become significantly more strenuous as they are considerably more slippery.|
Take a helicopter ride for an aerial view of the park
Start your trip off on a high by soaring above the treeline and trying to grasp just how gorgeous the entrancing landscape is. It’s much more impressive when seen from above.
Visit the waterfalls around the park
Don’t forget to pay a visit to some twenty-six waterfalls that pockmark the entire park. Take a dip in the plunge pool underneath the two torrents of Florence Falls before grabbing something to eat next to the local residents - including the short-eared rock wallabies!
Approximately 1.6 km along the Tolmer Falls hiking trail you will find the striking waterfall and also might live the rare experience of seeing the evasive ghost bat.
Learn a little at Blyth Homestead
Life for Australian pioneers in the outback was tough. Blyth Homestead, the charmingly rustic museum, does a good job of paying homage to that. Its story begins in the earlier days of the twentieth-century and ends with its abandonment in the sixties. The home also featured a tin mine which is now in ruins. An interactive exhibition has been installed into the former homestead which depicts the trials and tribulations that people from this forgotten area suffered.
There is no entry price, however, you need a 4x4 to arrive here from the entrance and due to the weather in Litchfield National Park, the attraction is inaccessible between the months of November and March.
Wander around the Lost City
Speaking of mysteries, another absolute must-see is the ‘Lost City’, a huge gathering of strange natural rock formations created over the course of millions and millions of years.
However, the trail to get out to this mystical spot requires an off-road vehicle; it’s often best to leave the driving up to a local professional so it might not be a bad idea to consider booking one of the many tours available.
Discover the Aboriginal sites
Due to the fact that the park lies between the Finnis and Daly Rivers (traditional lands of the Marrathiel, Marranunggu, Werat, Warray and Koongurrukun peoples) there are a number of Aboriginal sites in the area. The most popular of these is the Tabletop Range, an area which is not only beautiful but linked intrinsically to the beliefs of the local Aboriginal folk. Feel free to visit the area but bear in mind that it is an area of utmost importance to local communities and often seen as sacred. Remember to adhere to the rules and enjoy a couple of hours learning more about the Aboriginals who have inhabited the area for eons.
Investigate the bizarre termite structures in the area
Litchfield National Park might be stunning, but it is also very mysterious! Termite hoards have constructed an eerie, pillar-like field of giant mounds about fifteen kilometers from the eastern boundary of the park. The nests — some of which stretch over 2.5m high — will leave you in awe. To keep these feats of nature protected, visitors have to observe them from a nearby boardwalk but the site is still impressive!
Wangi Falls Art & Cultural Centre
In an area with such a rich history, it’s no surprise that there is such an abundant collection of art and artefacts. The place to find the collection is the Wangi Falls Art & Cultural Centre, just follow the signs to the visitor center and you will see the cultural center right next to it. The area doubles as a cafe, a little oasis in the forest serving cold drinks, snacks and other refreshments.
With such a plethora of sights to see and activities to partake in, you might want to take it down a gear and enjoy the park at your own pace. It’s convenient to stay nearby and luckily there is a wide range of options in the Litchfield Tourist Park to the northeast of the park. Campsites, caravans, there’s even a huge lodge which is ideal for larger groups and simple bunk beds for those who want to save their cash. Try The Homestead for big groups and a touch of luxury or The Bunkhouses for a more gritty and authentic outdoors experience.
Eating options are plenty and the options are diverse, so you won’t go hungry. The local cuisine involves buffalo and crocodile meat so be prepared for unique food that can pack a punch!
- Safety should always be your priority — traversing such a wild and rugged park can be quite dangerous. Remember to make note of the emergency telephone signs. This is the number of park authorities in case you need their help: (08) 8976 0282.
- Many who visit the park worry about crocs but there is no need. If you stick to the designated swimming spots, there is a very slim chance of encountering a crocodile. Sightings are in the low tens on an annual basis. As always, though, it’s important to be careful!
- Do NOT sit on bare ground or grass as scrub typhus is transmitted by microscopic bush mites on grasses and bushes. If possible, read more on scrub typhus before heading out to explore the park.
Litchfield National park attractions are numerous and fun, so your visit will be eventful to say the least. You would have to try very hard to be bored here with so many opportunities at your fingertips. Whether you’re on the hunt for a relaxing vacation or exciting adventure packed trip of a lifetime, it’s worth adding this spot to your Australia travel plans.
*Rate for park entrance is as per 2017 pricing.