The 5 Best Swimming Spots in Litchfield National Park

The Litchfield National Park is home to a vibrant show of nature and boasts some of Australia’s most incredible scenery. As well as lush rainforests that break away into sprawling grasslands, there are plenty of swimming spots where visitors can cool off in the hot Australian sun. Here are some of the best in the region.

Buley rockhole michael1.    Buley Rockhole

This is a firm favourite amongst tourists and visitors alike. Buley boasts a cascading collection of rock pools that provide the perfect pretty backdrop to relax against. And, at just a one-and-a-half-hour journey from Darwin, the rockholes are easy to reach for an afternoon trip. There are a selection of deep plunge pools and shallower rock ponds, so you can take your pick.

2.    Tjaynera Falls

If you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-track, head to Tjaynera Falls, which is one of the national park’s best kept secrets. You can only access the falls by a four-wheel drive track, which means you might just get the area to yourself.

3.    Florence Falls

Another popular waterfall in Litchfield National Park is Florence Falls. The plunge pool here is deep and clear, providing a shady space to kick back and relax in beneath the impressive rock walls. The current here is strong, but you can grab a snorkel and watch the mesmerising underwater show unfold around you.florence falls michael

4.    The Cascades

The scenery here is made up of a wide rock lava flow that is around 200 metres long. A trickling stream bubbles over the top, creating a number of cosy pools perfect the cascades michaelfor relaxing in. Most are only around half a metre deep, but there are a collection of rock slides to liven up the experience.

5.    Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls is another popular hotspot in the park, and the crystal clear waters are a firm favourite amongst visitors. Dubbed the best swimming hole in the whole of Australia, it brings a lot of positives to the party – including clear, clean water, picturesque surroundings, no underwater obstacles, and a consistent temperature.

Exploring Litchfield National Park is a must-do if you’re in Darwin. Seeing the sprawling landscape unfold is a mesmerising experience, and the selection of rock pools and swimming spots provide the perfect place to relax and unwind. Whether you’re looking for a lively swimming area with stunning backdrops, or a secret spot to cool off in, there are plenty of places to choose from within the lush confines of the park.

Where to See the Saltwater Crocodiles of Darwin

adelaide river2The tropical climate of the Northern Territory makes Darwin the perfect backdrop for the resident saltwater crocodiles. In fact, this part of Australia is home to more crocodiles than anywhere else in the world, so it’s well worth a visit if you want to learn more about these magnificent, prehistoric creatures.

The Saltwater Crocodile

Salties, as they are locally known, are the largest species of reptile in the world and have sat at the very top of the food chain for over 100 million years. They can grow to an impressive seven metres long and can easily weigh more than 1,000 kg, though the average size of a fully-grown male in the Northern Territory is around five metres long.

There are around 200,000 saltwater crocodiles in Australia, with the vast majority of them calling the Top End and Darwin home.

Where to See the Saltwater Crocodiles of Darwin

There are plenty of places to spot crocs throughout Darwin and its surrounds. Here are some of the best.

1.    Crocosaurus Coveadelaide river3

Actually located in Darwin, this attraction is dedicated to the magnificent saltwater crocodile and is home to the largest display of Australia reptiles in the world.

2.    Crocodylus Park

Set just outside of Darwin’s city centre, Crocodylus Park is home to more than 10,000 crocodiles. As well as seeing these creatures up close, you can also browse the on-site museum that boasts numerous displays where you can learn all about the behaviour, habitat, and lifestyle of these creatures.

3.    Territory Wildlife Park

You can find this attraction around an hour outside of Darwin. Whilst there, you can wander around the displays that feature wildlife and ecology from the Top End, including creatures found in different habitats, from the escarpment zones right through to the lush mangroves that flank the coast.

Jumping Croc4.    Jumping Crocodile Tours

Set on the picturesque backdrop of the Adelaide River, the Jumping Crocodile Tours give you a chance to get to know these creatures in a unique and memorable way. You’ll travel along the river on a boat, stopping along the way to feed the resident crocs who jump out of the water on demand.

Getting to know the saltwater crocodiles of the Northern Territory is a must-do if you’re in the area. At multiple different venues, you can see the creatures in their natural environment, learn more about their fascinating lifestyles, and get up close and personal unlike anywhere else in the world.

The Bats of Tolmer Falls

The sprawling plains of Darwin and beyond promise visitors an eclectic mix of scenery, from Red Desert landscapes to cascading waterfalls and vast scrubland. If you’re in the area, there’s plenty of wildlife to spot and stunning scenery to soak up.

tolmer michaelAt Tolmer Falls, one of the best-loved waterfalls and natural wonders in the region, there is a lot to see and do. Here, an incredible lookout point juts over the tumbling water that drops into a deep, refreshing plunge pool at the base. Around the edge, there is a picturesque walking track that takes you right up to the top rock pools that sit above the falls. These are the perfect place to kick back, relax, cool off, and enjoy the marvellous views.

The escarpment scenery is a sight to behold in this part of Australia. The gushing water falls down high cliffs in a prehistoric scene that’s both impressive and fascinating.
At the bottom of Tolmer Falls, there is a cave that’s home to some very special residents – the rare orange horseshoe bats and endangered ghost bats. Because of their habitat and its close proximity to the falls, visitors can only watch the waterfall from a distance.

The Ghost Bats at Tolmer Fallsghost bat michael

The beautiful ghost bats that call the caves at Tolmer Falls home tend to live in a range of habitats in tropical Queensland, like rainforests, monsoon regions, and vine scrubland. They forage in these areas and then roost in the cool, dark confines of caves and mineshafts – hence their famous location at Tolmer Falls. The ghost bat is now extinct in Central Australia, making a sighting of them in the north extra special.

The Orange Horseshoe Bats at Tolmer Falls

orange horseshoe bat michaelThe other resident bats at Tolmer Falls are the orange horseshoe bats, which also forage in a range of habitats, like woodland, velvet hills, and open grasslands. Again, they come together in cool dark caves to roost, which is why they have chosen the excellent location of Tolmer Falls.

The bats at Tolmer Falls are one of the main draws of the region, but there is still plenty to see and do if you don’t manage to catch a glimpse of these fascinating creatures. As well as the caves, there are a number of pretty walks around the Falls that expose you to stunning views of the surrounding landscape. And, of course, there are the pools, which are perfect for cooling off in after a long, hot day.

The Wildlife of the Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is located around 100km from Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. The expansive area covers more than 1,500 square kilometres and has retained its national park status since 1986. It was named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a keen explorer who travelled much of the Northern Territory back in the mid-1800s.

The region has been inhabited by Aboriginal tribes for thousands of years, and the plants and animals that call the area home remain important parts of the park for many different reasons.

The Plant Life of the Litchfield National Park

ground orchid
At the heart of the park, there is a central sandstone plateau that provides the perfect habitat for woodland flora, including species like the Darwin woolybutt, stringybark, and banksias. 

Elsewhere, monsoon rainforest backdrops that have set up camp in the ancient gorges are home to colourful plant species, like lilies, ground orchids, and swamp bloodwoods.

The Animal Life of the Litchfield National Park

Animal species of the Litchfield National Park are varied, ranging from native kangaroos and wallabies, to possums, flying foxes, and dingoes. At Tolmer Falls, you can find caves filled with rate orange leaf-nosed bats.

The bird life is equally as exciting, with plenty of native bird species, including black kites, spangled drongo, and the rainbow bee-eater, which can be found near the many waterfalls. Around Wangi Falls, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the marsupial mouse and the bush-hen.

grey headed flying fox 01In other areas characterised by water, you might spot reptiles like monitors, birds, like honeyeaters and figbirds, and mammals, such as the bandicoot and the brushtail possum. During the warmer months, frill-necked lizards come out to play, while the Finniss River remains home to a group of large saltwater crocs.

Perhaps one of the most popular parts of the park, though, are the magnetic termite mounds. Shaped like jutting wedges, they form a sKakadu Facts 1urreal silhouette against the backdrop of the park and are home to thousands upon thousands of termites. 

For nature lovers, the Litchfield National Park is the perfect place to explore. With a range of habitats, including monsoon forests, sprawling escarpments, and ancient gorges, there are plenty of places to spot a range of different plant and animal species. Keep your eyes peeled during your visit and remember to look above, too, as there are plenty of bird species that call this spectacular part of Australia home.

Exploring Litchfield National Park

litchfield National Park michaelFound just to the south of Darwin, Litchfield National Park sprawls out in a picturesque display of cascading waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes, and intriguing termite mounds. Amongst it all, there are some incredibly historical sites and stunning natural scenery, like the impressive sandstone Tabletop Range, and the lush greenery of monsoon rainforests. 

There are plenty of things to get stuck into while you’re in the park, regardless of whether you’re looking to enjoy the wildlife, the stunning views, or more adventurous pursuits.

Things to Do in Litchfield National Park

Go for a Swim
There are numerous spring-fed waterfalls that are dotted around the park, including Florence and Wangi Falls which boast crystal clear swimming holes at the base of their majestic waterfalls. As well as Florence and Wangi, other popular hotspots include Buley Rockhole, which boasts a three-tiered waterfall that’s shadowed by lush rainforest, and Tolmer Falls, with its own viewing platform and rare bat colonies.
Walks and Hiking

Like most of the national parks in Australia, Litchfield has plenty of hiking routes for you to explore. Each one takes you on a different adventure through the lush scenery, exposing you to the eclectic selection of wildlife on offer and a range of incredible landscapes.

Take the Tabletop Track and marvel at the views from the impressive sandstone cliff face, stroll along the boardwalk on the Walker Creek Walk, passing by lush ancient plant life, and take in the waterfalls on Wangi Falls Walk and Tolmer Falls Walk. walker creek walk michael

Magnetic Termite Mounds

Perhaps the most popular site in Litchfield National Park are the incredible magnetic termite mounds. These impressive feats of nature soar metres skyward, forming homes for the local termites that have slaved away building the sculptures.

Get to Know the Militwar cemetery michaelary Heritage

As well as an array of great landscapes to enjoy, Litchfield National Park also has a rich military history which can be explored via a series of historic sites. Check out the Adelaide River Railway Station and the Adelaide River War Cemetery while in the vicinity to learn more about how this part of the region’s history helped shape it into the place it is today.

Litchfield National Park is one of Darwin’s most visited attractions, drawing in visitors from near and far. As well as a stunning landscape made up of all sorts of scenes and a mesmerising collection of waterfalls, there are plenty of walks to take and a fascinating history to uncover while you’re there.

Wading Birds and Wetlands at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve

fogg dam conservation reserveSet around 70 kilometres east of bustling Darwin, the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve unfolds into one of the very few wetland systems in Australia that can be accessed by visitors all year round.

A selection of educational boardwalks take you on a trail through a range of different landscapes, stopping off a picturesque observation platforms along the way where you can marvel at the stunning views and spot the selection of resident wading birds.

The birdlife at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve is second to none and is really the biggest draw to the area. To experience it at its best, visit from the end of March up until the start of October, when it becomes an important wildlife refuge for numerous bird species and other animals.

fogg dam conservationAs well as enjoying the unique selection of animal life, you can take one of several walks which help you make the most of the wetland area without having to worry about getting your feet wet in the process – and remember your camera! The unique landscape and its residents lend themselves perfectly to stunning photography opportunities.

Moving along the graded pathways, you’ll move from shady forests to floodplains and back again, enjoying a selection of ecosystems that each boast their own best features.

From the Pandanus Lookout walk, you can marvel at wonderful views of the dam, which is particularly beautiful at both sunrise and sunset – take a picnic and spend some time there to really soak up everything on offer. Elsewhere, the Adelaide River catchment area helps make up the Top End wetlands, which are of significant importance thanks to their special beauty and cultural significance.

fogg dam conservation IWildlife at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve
As well as a huge selection of migratory water birds that return to the conservation reserve every year, there are numerous other wildlife species that you might stumble upon during your time in the area. There are the largest populations of snakes, including Water Python and the Death Adder here, which can be spotted in the forests and floodplains.

Elsewhere, you might be able to catch a glimpse of saltwater and freshwater crocodiles who reside in the unique landscape throughout the year.

The landscape surrounding Darwin is especially surreal, providing a unique insight into Australian wildlife like nowhere else in the country. If you’re in the area, spend some time at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve to learn more about why this type of landscape is important for the ecosystem and to spot some of the rarer wildlife species in the country.


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How to Experience the Darwin Botanical Gardens

Darwin Botanical GardenLocated just two kilometres outside the bustling centre of Darwin, the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens promise 42 hectares of tropical plant species for you to explore and admire.

Having been a part of Darwin for more than 130 years, the gardens host a range of ancient species, including a huge canopy of rain trees and tall palms. You can combine a visit to the gardens with a trip to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets during the dry season for the ultimate cultural and picturesque experience.

What’s more, this is one of the only botanic gardens in the world that is home to marine and estuarine plants that grow naturally. In the popular Plant Display House, you can marvel at the huge collection of tropical orchids, bromeliads, and numerous other species of exotic flora.

darwin botanical GThe History of the Darwin Botanical Gardens
Dating back to 1886, the gardens were created to introduce and evaluate plants for the new city of Darwin. Since then, the gardens have blossomed into a huge visitor attraction, as well as an important part of scientific life in the city.

Over the years, the hundreds of species have survived natural weather disasters like cyclones and wildfires, as well as World War II.

What to Do at the Botanic Gardens
There is plenty to get stuck into at the Botanic Gardens. Start by taking a stroll through the beautiful monsoon forests, the coastal dunes, mangrove fields, and open woodlands, and marvel at the incredible selection of plants as you go. There are more than 400 species of palms alone in the rainforest gully, as well as a pretty waterfall and several serene ponds to kick back and relax by.

darwin botanic gardens evasYou can also take a traditional tour of the gardens and learn about the indigenous uses of the local plants which have remained a huge part of Aboriginal life throughout the centuries.

Elsewhere, you can tuck into tea and cake at Eva’s Café which is located inside the historic Wesleyan Church, and you can take some time to yourself in the peaceful Shade Garden. In the Sensory Garden, there are hundreds of species of butterflies to spot, while the lily pond is the perfect backdrop for a BBQ. Art lovers should check out the Eco House which has its own art gallery, and the more adventurous visitor might want to head out on a Segway tour around the gardens.


How to Explore Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls ISet amongst the stunning scenery of the Litchfield National Park near Darwin, Wangi Falls promises visitors a magical dose of beauty and fascinating history.

It is perhaps the best-known and best-loved attraction in the park, and can be reached by a sealed road to the west of the park – 150km to the south of bustling Darwin.

Around the falls, there is plenty for visitors to get stuck into, including hiking, relaxing, and wildlife spotting. Around the base, you can kick back and relax in the manicured picnic area as you watch the cascading water fall down the rocks and splash into the refreshing plunge pool below.

When the weather gets warm, you can cool off in the pool itself, which is flanked by lush rainforest for the ultimate paradise backdrop. Nearby, there is a kiosk to buy snacks and drinks from, a camping ground, and barbecue areas.

Wangi Falls 3All around the falls, there are weaving walking tracks that take you around the waterfall and through the spectacular scenery that surrounds it.

The Wangi Falls Walk
The most popular walk is the Wangi Falls Walk, which is a two-day extravaganza that takes you 18.5 kilometres through lush bush along the Tabletop Track. Along the way, you’ll take in the beauty of Wangi Falls and make your way to Walter Creek in the heart of Litchfield National Park.

QuollAs you go, you’ll be exposed to mesmerising views across escarpment country, where the landscape is made up of rocky formations and ancient ridges filled with native wildlife and colourful plants. Keep your eyes peeled for critters like quolls, wallabies, frogs, and lizards, as well as birds including kingfishers, red-winged parrots, and double-bar finches.

From the escarpment itself, you’ll cross fairytale patches of open woodland, and cross creeks that date back thousands of years. At night, you can camp at Tjenya Falls beneath the stars and prepare for your next day of adventures.

The walk is a fairly difficult one, so only able travellers are able to walk it. However, if you still want to explore the region, you can take the return 1.5 kilometre walk that starts at Wangi Plunge Pool. From there, you climb up to the top of the escarpment and take a leisurely stroll back down to the base for a picnic, a barbecue, or a swim.

Getting to know the scenery of the Litchfield National Park is one of the most exciting parts about visiting Darwin, and Wangi Falls gives you the chance to explore it in all its glory.




The History and Stories of Stokes Hill Wharf

Stokes Hill 2Set on Darwin’s picturesque waterfront, the Stokes Hill Wharf acts as both a vital part of the city’s history and a popular tourist attraction bursting with al fresco restaurants, waterside bars, and shops. Once the site of the city’s prominent pearling industry and the tragic Bombing of Darwin, the area is now a great place to learn key stories about Darwin and unwind as the sun sets over the pretty views.

The History of the Wharf
In 1885, the Railway Jetty was built in the place the Stokes Hill Wharf now resides. It was smaller in size and was built specially to allow direct transfers between ships and trains in the area. It didn’t last long, though, as the weak timber that was used was eaten by termites. In 1904, the Railway Jetty was replaced by a design that quickly became known as Town Wharf.

Again, the design didn’t last, but it gave the port of Darwin a good service until it was damaged beyond repair in 1942 during the Japanese bombing raids. After the war, an attempt was made to reconstruct the wharf, but it didn’t undergo its complete overhaul until 1961. The Stokes Hill Wharf that remains today began being built in 1953 and, up until the construction of the New Fort Hill Wharf in the early 80s, it was the main general cargo wharf for the city.

Stokes hill wharfThings to Do at Stokes Hill Wharf
As well as check out the selection of restaurants, bars, and shops surrounding the wharf, you can step back in time and learn more about the prominent history that imbues the area.

At the Bombing of Darwin tourist attraction and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility, you can browse stories from the past, and view virtual reality experiences and holographs in displays of cutting edge technology.

Elsewhere, you can enjoy panoramic sea views all year round from the wharf, where you can take in impressive sunsets, take part in fish feeding demonstrations as dusk falls, and listen to free live entertainment during the dry season on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The Stokes Hill Wharf is a key attraction if you’re looking to uncover the turbulent history of Darwin, right from its pearling days, through the war, up until its present reincarnation as a tourist city. Don’t forget to marvel at the views, too, which look out across the stunning expanse of ocean and beyond.




The Feeding and Breeding Habits of Australian Saltwater Crocodiles

saltwater crocodileCrocodiles are one of Australia’s most iconic creatures, and Saltwater crocs are one of the most common varieties. These huge, prehistoric creatures are dangerous and territorial, but they are also incredibly impressive and beautiful.

Found mostly across the north of Australia in places like Darwin and its surroundings, the name saltwater crocodile is actually a little misleading. These creatures can be found in the brackish waters along the country’s coastlines, but can also be found in freshwater rivers, swamps, and billabongs that are set miles away from the sea.

Australian saltwater crocs take the title of largest reptile in the world thanks to their bulky mass that can weigh over 1000kg. Males can clock in at 6 or 7 metres in length, though this is fairly rare and most usually measure up to 5 metres.

Saltwater CrocodileThe Feeding Habits of Saltwater Crocodiles
Saltwater crocodiles (or “salties” as they are known in Australia) predominantly eat small reptiles, turtles, fish, and wading birds that they hunt in the water, but they also eat much larger prey like wild pigs, livestock, and buffaloes. Their heavy-set jaws can crush a couple of tons of weight in one go.

The Breeding Habits of Saltwater Crocodiles
Despite their name, the breeding of saltwater crocodiles tends to take place in freshwater areas between the months of November and March. The females lay between 40 and 60 eggs in a homemade nest that combines plant matter and mud.

Where the crocodiles lay their eggs and make their nests can be an indication of how much rainfall is due in the wet season – but this shouldn’t be taken as gospel.

Saltwater crocodile 2The female croc stays around to guard the nest, splashing it with water to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Over a period of 90 days, the eggs begin to develop and, surprisingly, the sex of the offspring is actually determined by the temperature during the incubation period. If the temperature is below 30 degrees Celsius, the eggs will be female, and above 32 degrees Celsius, they will be male.

When the eggs are ready to hatch, the baby crocodiles start chirping, which encourages the mother to help them out by digging them out of the nest. She then immediately takes them straight to the water’s edge in her mouth, where she watches them until they can feed and look after themselves.

Fun Facts About Kakadu National Park

Kakadu Facts 1The Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s oldest and most mesmerising landscapes, and is set just outside of Darwin. Here, time seems to stand still; ancient Aboriginal tribes still live a traditional life, while the plant life and animal life has been living in the area for thousands and thousands of years. Today, the park is a World Heritage listed site, thanks to both its incredible scenery and its living Aboriginal culture.

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Fun Facts About Kakadu National Park
It’s BIG
The park covers almost 20,000 square kilometres, making it the largest national park in the entire country. To put that into perspective, it’s almost half the size of Switzerland.

Kakadu Facts2It’s Owned by Aboriginals
The majority of the park is classified Aboriginal land, meaning it is still owned by its traditional keepers. They continue to manage the park in partnership with Parks Australia, and have a huge say in what happens with the future of the park.

These people have lived in Kakadu for more than 50,000 years, making them the oldest living culture on earth.

The Aboriginal people still live traditionally. Though changes have taken place over the last few decades to keep in line with the current growth and evolution of the world, the Aboriginal people still live in towns and settlements of Kakadu, and still spend time hunting, fishing, and caring for the land.

There is Ancient Rock Art
Because of its ancient history, it makes sense that Kakadu has some incredible ancient rock art to explore. The artworks here span back 20,000 years, documenting historic events and age-old traditions.

kakadu facts3There Are Lots of Birds
Kakadu is famed for its extraordinary amount of bird species. In the park alone, there are around 280 different species, which makes up around a third of the entire population of bird species in Australia.

The Termite Mounds Are Spectacular
If you’re walking through Kakadu, you might stumble across some strange-looking mounds. These are the native termite mounds, and they cast an impressive silhouette against the landscape. They can grow up to six metres tall and can be found along the Maguk Road in the southern part of the park.

Kakadu National Park really is one of Australia’s best-loved treasures. Not only can you explore the mesmerising scenery, the eclectic mixture of wildlife and ancient plants, but you can learn more about the oldest living culture on the planet when you get to know the local Aboriginal people and their traditions.

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