While Kakadu National Park is the Northern Territory’s most famous national park, Litchfield National Park might just be its favourite. Located an easy day trip from Darwin, prepare to pinch yourself more than a few times because, no, that's not a mirage – it's just one of a number of astonishing attractions you'll find in Litchfield National Park such as:
Spectacular Outback scenery
Wildlife like kangaroos and buffalo
Pre-historic rock formations
Towering termite mounds
Hit the highway
Rise early in Darwin and take to Australia’s longest highway where you'll encounter not just stunning natural beauty, but also some unique Northern Territory towns with the quirkiest of names like 'Humpty Doo'. After passing Manton Dam, schedule a stop in Batchelor – a once sleepy little town located 98 kilometres from Darwin.
Famous for being the allied air force base in World War II, wander around the settlement, pay the Butterfly Farm a visit, or refuel with a freshly brewed coffee before heading deeper into the Outback.
Keep cool, calm & collected
After being cooped up in the car, you'll definitely feel like stretching out a bit. Luckily, Litchfield National Park has a 1,500 square kilometre area for you to do just that. When the sun is at its peak between 10am and 4pm, you can cool off by taking a dip beneath one of the park's soothing waterfalls. Rest assured that a lot of the swimming areas in Litchfield National Park are fresh water, meaning no saltwater crocodiles in sight!
A popular day trip for Darwin locals who love to pack their eskies and head for the shade of dark green gum trees, Wangi Falls and Florence Falls are the park's two most popular swimming spots. Open all year round, the cascading falls aren't just great for a swim, they are also excellent for exploring. The 1.6-kilometre Wangi Falls Walk and one-kilometre Shady Creek Walk at Florence Falls will make a refreshing swim all the more rewarding.
If Wangi and Florence don't give you your waterfall fix, add Tolmer Falls and Tjaetaba Falls to your tour itinerary. Those with a 4WD can also visit the secluded Surprise Creek Falls.
Litchfield's resident architects
One of Litchfield National Park's most peculiar sights are its gigantic termite mounds. Looking almost like tombstones as they tower towards the sky, some of the Northern Territory's most impressive mounds are found at Litchfield.
You won't believe the architectural feats completed by the termites, with each intricate mound complete with arches, tunnels, chimneys and nursery chambers. Well marked on Litchfield Park Road signage, head to the Magnetic Termite Mounds for easy viewing in all weather conditions via the boardwalk.
Find the Lost City
Evoking the remains of an ancient civilisation, the Lost City is another one of Litchfield National Park's more peculiar attractions. Astounding in both size and formation, the area is made up of a huge collection of rock formations that look like they were once made by man.
Spread over the size of a small town, the bad news for some is that the Lost City is accessible only by 4WD car or a long bushwalk. Those who do make the effort to get there will be greatly rewarded. You can combine your visit to the Lost City with a visit to Tolmer Falls, located just one kilometre away.
Do a tour or DIY?
To get to Litchfield National Park, take your pick of the many tours offered by Flight Centre, or, for more freedom, rent a car and make your own way there by following the Stuart Highway towards Katherine.
The good news for those who decide to take the adventurous option is that, aside from the Lost City, almost all of the park’s major attractions are accessible by regular vehicles. Still, whichever way you decide to get to Litchfield, you're bound to leave with many memorable experiences.