Litchfield National Park. National Park in Northern Territory, Australia

Litchfield National Park

National Park in Northern Territory, Australia

Litchfield National Park NT-5 Photo © Russell Charters

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Litchfield National Park

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Litchfield National Park NT-1 -
	Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park NT-1 - Litchfield National Park. Photo by Russell Charters
Litchfield National Park is located about 100 kilometers south of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. The park covers about 1,500 square kilometers and is located near the village of Batchelor. It is an important nature reserve in the Top End; it contains several typical habitats for that region, such as waterfalls, waterholes, rainforests, and sandstone plateaus – the Tabletop Range – and cliffs. With more than 250,000 visitors each year, Litchfield National Park is a very popular national park in Australia. One of the reasons it gets that many visitors is probably that Litchfield lies closer to Darwin, the state’s capital, than Kakadu National Park.

One of the park’s main features is the presence of huge termite mounds. In addition, the park is an ideal day trip from Darwin; it is only about an hour-and-a-half by car. However, it is better to stay for a few days and explore the park some more. There is a lot to see and do.

The park’s central sandstone plateau provides a home to a wide variety of plants, such as Banksias, Darwin Woollybutts, and Darwin Stringybarks. In the valleys below lush pockets of rainforest thrive. The waterfalls, plunge pools, and waterholes in the national park are the ideal habitat for Orchids, Lilies, Pandanus, and Paperbarks.

Various habitats provide refuges to numerous animal species. The most common animals are Kangaroos, Wallabies, Possums, Dingoes, and Flying Foxes. A few caves are home to two rare bat species. Bird life in Litchfield National Park is abundant, to say the least. The park is home to hundreds of bird species. Examples of birds that could be spotted during a visit are Kites, Orioles, Dollarbirds, Bee-eaters, and Figbirds. There are many other animals, such as nocturnal mammals, lizards, snakes, etc. The national park also has a fairly large population of huge saltwater crocodiles. A major tourist attraction is the so-called magnetic termite mounds, built by large colonies of termites and aligned in a north-south direction.

Litchfield National Park NT-4 -
	Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park NT-4. Photo by Russell Charters

History

The Litchfield National Park area has been home to the Wagait Aboriginal people for many thousands of years. Many of them still live there. The first Europeans who visited the region were members of the Finniss expedition who traveled there in 1864 all the way from South Australia. One of those expedition members was Frederick Henry Litchfield (Wikipedia Article). It was him who, with a small group of explorers, first set foot in what is now Litchfield National Park in 1865. The area was a center for copper and tin mining from the 1880s until it became pastoral land in the mid-20th century.

Pastoral activities lasted until 1985 when Litchfield National Park was officially declared.

Things to Do

Termite
	Mounds Litchfield National Park NT-7 - Litchfield National Park
Termite Mounds Litchfield National Park NT-7 - Litchfield National Park. Photo by Russell Charters
The major highlights in Litchfield National Park are the magnetic termite mounds and the waterfalls. Most of the park’s attraction can be accessed and are linked by a paved road. More remote landmarks can be reached on 4WD tracks.

There are hundreds of two-meter-high termite mounds to be found throughout the park. They are the result of the work of thousands of termites and are north-south-oriented for maximum temperature control.

The Florence, Tolmer and Wangi Falls are the main waterfalls in Litchfield National Park. All of them are easily reached along the paved road. Florence Falls is located in lush rainforest and has a plunge pool that offers great and refreshing swimming opportunities. There is a viewing platform at the top of the falls. Tolmer Falls also has a lookout platform, but access to the bottom of the waterfalls is limited because of the presence of rare bats in the caves. The most popular falls are Wangi Falls. There is a café and art center, a pleasant walk to the top of the falls, and campground with toilets, barbecues, and showers. These three waterfalls are accessible all year round.

Another popular attraction is Rockhole, a series of waterholes and waterfalls. There is a basic campground and excellent swimming.

Litchfield National Park also has numerous fantastic hiking trails, historic homesteads, 4WD tracks, picnic sites, etc.

Litchfield
	National Park - Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park. Photo by Pete Hill

How to Get There

Litchfield National Park can be accessed on three roads. The main route to the park from Darwin runs for about 100 kilometers along the paved Stuart Highway and through the gateway village of Batchelor. This paved road makes the park accessible all year round. The two other roads are unpaved. One runs to Darwin via Berry Springs; the other south to Daly River. To access the park on these roads a 4WD is necessary. The dirt roads are usually closed during the wet season.

Similar Landmarks

Kakadu National Park is located relatively nearby and is one of the largest national parks in the world. It also consists of waterfalls, sandstone formations and waterholes. Further south in the Northern Territory lie West MacDonnell National Park, Finke Gorge National Park; Watarrka National Park, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. To the west, in Western Australia, lies magnificent Purnululu National Park.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 10, 2015

Pictures of Litchfield National Park

Florence Falls Litchfield National Park NT-2 - Litchfield National Park
Florence Falls Litchfield National Park NT-2 - Photo by Russell Charters

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