Litchfield National Park is home to woodlands, waterfalls, glittering plunge pools and tall termite mounds – catnip for modern adventurers. It only takes two hours to get here on the Stuart Highway from Darwin (that’s the blink-of-an-eye, by Northern Territory standards), via the tiny gateway township of Batchelor. You can also join one of the all-inclusive tours if you don’t fancy driving; alternatively, whoosh over the park in style, enjoying a bird’s-eye view from a helicopter.
The park is pleasingly generous when it comes to giving away its best bits: Buley Rockhole and the hurtling Florence, Tolmer and Wangi Falls are all easily accessible from Litchfield’s main road. There’s so much to admire and experience: marvel at ingeniously constructed termite mounds built by millions of industrious insects), take a dip in peaceful panadanus-lined pools, enjoy a leisurely picnic in spectacular surroundings and set off on scenic hikes (which can last a day or for days – pick your pace).
There are plenty of clearly marked walking trails that leave from the car parks, including one that takes walkers through a series of unusual weathered sandstone domes known as the Lost City. Don’t miss the historic Blythe Homestead Ruins (once the site of an old tin and copper mine), Greenant Creek (a sacred Aboriginal site) and Surprise Creek Falls, where a cycad-bordered walk loops through the valley and leads to a plunge pool – a deliciously cool reward for your exertions.
On the topic of cool rewards, the park has some spectacular spring-fed waterfalls that cascade down rocky cliffs into safe swimming holes. Go for a dip beneath the twin torrents of Florence Falls. Keep your eyes peeled for wallaroos and short-eared rock wallabies as you climb for the viewing platform and be rewarded with spectacular views. Take the Florence Creek Walk, an incredibly scenic 1.5km trail that leads to the Buley Rockhole: a cluster of natural spas and whirlpools, fringed by tranquil bushland. If you keep going, you’ll come to the Tolmer Falls, where the relatively easy Tolmer Falls Walk winds through the rich-hued sandstone country.
When to go
There are two seasons in the Top End: the wet and the dry. If you want to see spectacular waterfalls, lightning storms and monsoon rains then head here between November and April. However, many roads are closed then, so most touring is done by boat or plane. The dry season – between May and October – is far less humid. It’s the best time to visit if you want to see wildlife, as the area’s animals gravitate towards a few billabongs in search of scarce water supplies.
Where to sleep
Situated in Australia’s Top End, in a wildlife-teeming area Bamurru Plains is an luxury safari lodge with real style. Based around a central timber-and-bamboo lodge, bungalows have an exhilarating back-to-nature vibe that fits perfectly with all the outdoor eating and beast-chasing excursions that goes on each day. From Darwin, it takes three hours to drive here.
Begin your Australian adventure in style with Singapore Airlines. Fly one-stop to Darwin from £660.