Litchfield National Park
During the hot dry season the park is a magnet for people looking for a refreshing swim. Crocodiles do not seem to be as much a threat in Litchfield as they are in other Top End parks, such as Kakadu National Park.
Other features of the park include the termite mounds and the "Lost City", an area of bizarre sandstone block and pillar formations which have been sculpted by wind and rain over thousands of years.
Litchfield National Park is approximately 1500 sq km in size and is an important conservation reserve in the Northern Territory. Typical of Top End habitats, there are a number of waterfalls which fall from a sandstone plateau, the Tabletop Range. There are large termite mounds, historical settlement sites, weathered sandstone pillars such as the Lost City, and Aboriginal culture to learn about.
The Park’s traditional owners are the Wagait Aboriginal people, many of whom live in the area. The region has a colourful pioneering and pastoral history and places like the ruins of Blyth Homestead, built in 1929 but abandoned in the 1960s, are a reminder of the tough conditions faced by pioneers.
For visitors, Litchfield National Park's main attractions are permanent spring fed waterfalls (Florence, Tolmer and Wangi), cascades at Buley Rockhole, magnetic termite mounds, and a wildlife cruise along the majestic Reynolds River.
Flora and fauna
The Northern Territory supports a wide diversity of native animals including birds, insects, reptiles, marsupials and mammals. This tropical environment is prolific with barramundi and produces the most exciting sportfishing in Australia.
The Top End, which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, has a tropical climate. Darwin has an average temperature of 32°C all year, with varying humidity. The tropical summer, from December to March, is considered by many to be the region's most beautiful time of year.
The summer rains bring the natural landscape to life and deliver the picturesque storms and sunsets the Northern Territory is renowned for. The dry season, from May to October, has warm, sunny days and cool nights. At the end of the year, the build up, or pre-monsoon season, begins and humidity levels start their rise.
The following chart outlines Darwin's monthly temperature averages as an indicator for the whole northern region.
There are only three roads into Litchfield National Park. The only paved access road is via the small town of Batchelor off the Stuart Highway between Darwin and Katherine. The other two options are dirt roads, one north to Darwin via Berry Springs, the other along the south edge of the park to Daly River. The north side of the park can be fairly comfortably covered from Darwin in a single day (figure on 300 km), but to enjoy the sights which are 'off the beaten track', a few more days and a 4WD will be necessary.
There is no entry fee for the National Park. Camping fees are charged per person per night.
The National Park has a network of sealed and unsealed roads. The northern end can be visited by 2WD on bitumen roads. To visit the southern end, it is necessary to have a 4WD due to several river crossings and the variable nature of the road conditions. During the wet season (Dec-Mar) access by road may be not be possible as the 4WD tracks are closed due to flooding.
This three-to-five day bushwalk will allow you to experience the lush woodlands, tumbling waterfalls and swimming holes that make the region a special nature playground. The track is recommended for experienced bushwalkers with a good level of fitness. Obtain a permit prior to your walk from the PWCNT office. Phone: (08) 8999 4524.
Section 1 Wangi Falls to Walker Creek Enter Tabletop Track from the link walk at Wangi Falls. Allow 7 hours to walk the 18.5 kms trail to Walker Creek. There are great views winding up and down along the edge of the escarpment. Walk through open woodland and cross creeks lined with pandanus. To make this section a two-day walk, stop at the bush campsite located at Tjenya Falls. The campsites at Walker Creek offer a beautiful oasis of stepped waterfalls tumbling into deep pools.
Section 2 Walker Creek to Florence Falls There are several shady places to rest beside a creek on the 12.3 kms track between Walker Creek and Florence Falls. Over the 5 hours of the walk, cross several rills of water, walk beside tall sandstone formations and through masses of cycads. At the end of the day, you will be rewarded with a swim in the plunge pool at Florence Falls.
Section 3 Florence Falls to Wangi Falls Follow the track from Florence Falls to Wangi Falls and pass beside stringybarks, paperbarks and pandanus. Allow 8 hours to cover this 19.7 kms section that crosses broken, rocky ground. If you are staying overnight camp at the small Tabletop campsite located beside a beautiful, terraced cascade. Alternatively, continue on to finish the track at your starting point.
There is a small kiosk located at Wangi Falls where refreshments can be purchased. Basic food staples can be purchased at the nearby town of Batchelor.
There is only one real place to eat in the immediate vicinity of the park:
The only other option is a little mobile kiosk at Wangi Falls.
Drinking water is available at some of the sights.
The town of Batchelor is located approximately 15 km from the park.
Litchfield Park Road, near park entrance
On the Litchfield Park Road, coming from Batchelor, there are a few commercial camping grounds just before the park entrance.
Litchfield Tourism Precinct
The grandly named "Litchfield Tourism Precinct" consists in entirety of the Litchfield Cafe (see Eat) and one place to sleep:
Within the park
In the park, there are a few public camping grounds (fees may apply) with toilets and, for some, showers:
Drink plenty of water; at least one litre of water for every hour of walking in very warm weather. Ensure you have an adequate fitness level for the bushwalk you plan to undertake.
Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day or walking alone, register with the overnight bushwalking register if you plan an extended walk. Carry a map of the area you're walking/camping in and know how to read it, tell someone your plan and when you expect to return
Bring a DEET based repellant if camping or walking in the evening.
Snakes can be in the long grass, and crocodiles in the waters not declared safe.