Litchfield National Park is located in the Northern Territory and is absolutely worth seeing. It’s less busy than Kakadu National Park, and offers many different opportunities for adventure. Swim safely in crocodile-free pools, dive under natural waterfalls, and meet the country’s iconic animals on magnificent hiking trails.
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Dive into the history of Litchfield National Park
The national park is situated southwest of Darwin and was inhabited 60,000 years ago by the Mak Mak Marranunggu, the Werat, and the Waray Aborigines. In 1864, the area was discovered by the English explorer Fred Henry Litchfield. The British then annexed the region, killed or exploited the native people and cultivated agriculture and livestock. A few years later, tin and copper and then uranium were found in the soil.
It was in 1949 that the first uranium mine opened in Australia and became a source of wealth for the Northern Territory. Once exhausted of its resources, the site closed in 1971. Finally in 1986, Litchfield was declared a National Park.
How to get to Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is a 2 hour drive from Darwin. The main route is the most suitable for all types of vehicles passing by the tarred road of Stuart Highway, passing by Batchelor.
It is also possible to take the Cox Peninsula Road, but this is a bit riskier. The road may be closed during the wet season (risk of flooding between November and March) and is not suitable for vehicles without 4-wheel drive.
It is also possible to join an organised tour departing from Darwin. There are day or multi-day tours that also include a visit to Kakadu National Park.
Our advice to make the most of your trip
- Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds
- Go walking in the morning, when it’s cooler
- Cool off in the pools of the park in the afternoon
- Wear sunscreen during the day and mosquito repellent at dusk!
When to go to Litchfield National Park
The park is officially open year-round but may be closed due to adverse weather conditions, particularly due to the heavy rains that hit the region at certain times of the year.
It’s best to travel during the dry season, which is between April and September, and avoid the rainy season, between November and February. These are the two main seasons in the Northern Territory. The waterfalls are at their most spectacular during the rainy season, but this lasts until the start of the dry season, making April the best time to visit.
To find out the latest information about the park’s opening times etc, go to the government website.
Activities to do at Litchfield National Park
Lovers of camping, swimming and hiking will be in heaven!
Visit unusual spots
Magnetic Termite Mound: Intrigued by these termite mounds? Get a closer look at them at the Magnetic Termite Mound. You’ll find it 17km from the entrance to the park, via the Batchelor road.
Lost City: Reserved for seasoned 4WD drivers only. Admire the impressive ancient sandstone remains of an abandoned city.
Cool off in the pools and waterfalls
Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, Tolmer Falls, Buley Falls: Take a dip in these beautiful pools surrounded by rocks and vegetation. (Be aware that these spots are pretty busy.)
Greenant Creek: A 2.7 km walk (about 1 hour) will bring you to this quieter basin, which is just as pleasant for swimming. Plus a breathtaking view of the park awaits you!
Go on a hike
The Tabletop Track loop allows for multiple trails as it passes through several spots that are worth seeing. Here are the longest and the shortest ones.
Tabletop Track: A 39 km round trip. Reserved for experienced hikers, plan several days to enjoy each stage of the trail.
Access via Wangi Falls, Greenant Creek, Florence Falls out Walker Creek.
Wangi Falls to Walker Creek: 1.6km one way.
Come prepared with a comfortable pair of shoes, a cap, SPF 50 sunscreen, mosquito repellent and above all LOTS of water. You will not always be able to fill up your water on the way.
Play the tourist
In Wangi Falls, you can eat on the terrace, have a coffee in the sun, visit the Aboriginal art shop and buy souvenirs to take home. There is even a publicly accessible telephone. Don’t hesitate to contact the cafe staff for any information and/or in case of concerns.
Take a helicopter ride
A helicopter ride will take you over the most beautiful spots in the park. This is expensive ($500pp approximately) but worth it for the views and the memories!
Discover the flora and fauna
Thanks to its tropical climate, Litchfield National Park boasts lush vegetation. There are rainforests and marshes, and tropical flowers surround the many gorges dug in the ground by the waterfalls.
What animals will you find there?
Many species of animals live in the park, ranging from the cute – wallabies, geckos, kangaroos, possums and flying foxes – to the not-so-cute such as wild pigs, buffaloes, crocodiles, toads, snakes, bats, mice and spiders.
Watch out for insects!
The Nephila and the Huntsman are two species of spiders that live in the park. They may look scary due to their size, but they are considered harmless to humans.
Unfortunately, it’s the smaller pests that are more likely to cause you bother: green ants and mosquitos won’t leave you alone. Wear bug spray and a citronella wristband and pray!
Not to mention termites…
The park is known for its giant termite mounds that can measure several meters high.
Where to sleep in Litchfield National Park
Paid and equipped campsites
Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole, Central Valley, Walker Creek, and Florence Falls are campsites located within the national park.
Two campsites are only accessible by 4WD. These are Surprise Creek Falls and Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek Falls).
Each of these campsites is classified by category (A, B and D). Prices vary depending on the category and the facilities available (BBQ, restrooms and showers, picnic tables, etc.). Most campsites require you to pay online and you won’t be able to pay in person. Find out well in advance. This is also the case for some hikes.
Category B campgrounds have basic facilities (toilets, picnic tables, barbecue) and are a little more modest. Water is available but it must be boiled before drinking! The rate for this type of campsite is $6/adult.
Category A campgrounds have modest facilities such as: showers and toilets, cooking facilities, picnic tables and barbecue as well as garbage cans. Again, water is available but it must be boiled. The price is $12/adult.
Category D campgrounds have the best facilities. The quality of their services means that they can only accept a limited amount of people, so remember to make your reservations in advance. You access the campsite through a locked gate, unlike with other campsites where access is free. They usually have toilets, picnic tables and barbecues. Water should also be boiled here. The price is $20/adult.
Look at the list of campsites on the government website to find out what category they are classified in. You will also find all the information you need to camp there.
Cross the bush to Walker Creek, which is on the edge of the river. You’re guaranteed a tranquil space here, but say goodbye to access to drinking water! Only dry toilets are present on site.
There are no free camps available inside Litchfield National Park, you will have to go a little further if you want to access this type of camp. About 2 hours north of Litchfield is the Finiss River Crossing free camp. it’s a bit far but it is one of the only options available if you don’t want to pay for a campsite. One idea is to go there before or after your visit to the park, when you’ll be passing it anyway.
Warning! Note that campfires must be lit in the designated locations provided for this purpose, and remember to always take your waste with you.
🗑️ In 2015 all trash cans were removed from Litchfield National Park. You must keep your waste until you can dispose of it outside the park.
💧 Stock up on drinking water before entering the park. Otherwise, you can only buy bottled water at Wangi Falls.