Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park protects good examples of most of the Top End habitats. It also features numerous waterfalls which cascade from a sandstone plateau called the Tabletop Range, intriguing magnetic termite mounds, historical sites, and the weathered sandstone pillars of the Lost City.

Being less than two hours drive and just over 100 km south-west of Darwin, Litchfield National Park makes the perfect same day destination for visitors to Darwin wanting to experience the bush in the Top End without going too far off the beaten track.

The Park contains several types of typical Top End habitats including lush monsoon forests, magnetic termite mounds, unusual rock formations, numerous waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi Falls are definitely worth seeing) and cascades. The weathered sandstone pillars of The Lost City are worth a look, but a 4 wheel drive vehicles is required. Otherwise, an ordinary car will take you to most features.

The Park encloses much of the spectacular Tabletop Range, which is a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. During the monsoon season, from October to May, four major waterfalls thunder from the cliffs to tropical rock pools many metres below. During the rest of the year the waterfalls flow more gently, making the waterholes perfect spots for a cool dip. This Park is spectacular at any time, though most 4WD tracks are closed during the wet season, such as the one to the Lost City. Blythe Homestead is a step back in history.

Some swimming areas such as Wangi Falls become unsafe after heavy rain and are closed for swimming but the kiosk and picnic facilities remain open. Buley Rockhole is a series of rock pools joined by small waterfalls where you can sit in the waterfall and have a natural spa. And some of the rock pools are so deep you can dive into them.

Wildlife

The Park's central sandstone plateau supports rich woodland flora communities dominated by species including the Darwin Wollybutt (Eucalyptus miniata) and Darwin Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta) as well as banksias, grevilleas, terminalias and a wide variety of other woodland species. Patches of monsoon rainforest thrive in the deep, narrow gorges created over thousands of years by the force of the waterfalls cutting into the escarpment walls. Common wildlife species include the Antilopine Wallaroo, Agile Wallaby, Sugar Glider, Northern Brushtail Possum, Fawn Antechinun, Black and Little Red Flying Foxes and the Dingo.


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The caves near Tolmer Falls are home to a colony of the rare Orange Horseshoe Bat. Litchfield is a haven for hundreds of native bird species. Black kites and other birds of prey are common during the Dry Season. The Yellow Oriole, Figbird, Koel, Spangled Drongo, Dollarbird and the Rainbow Bee-eater inhabit the sheltered areas close to waterfalls.

Walking Tracks

Quiet walks leave from most popular sites. Signs in the carparks and along the tracks will show you the way. They vary between short strolls and walks of 1 to 3 km. If you are planning an overnight walk you'll need to obtain a permit prior to your visit from the PWCNT office in the Goyder Centre, Palmerston, Ph: 8999 4524.

Camping

There are many camping areas located throughout the Park, as well as picnic areas. Some waterholes are safe to swim in.

How to get there

Srive south from Darwin via the Stuart Highway to Batchelor. Follow the signs from the Batchelor township. The Park is generally accessible all year, and on sealed roads all the way. In the dry season it is also possible to get to the Park via Cox Peninsula Road (which is unsealed).

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