A Day Trip To Litchfield National Park You Need To Do
If you are visiting the Northern Territory then a day trip to Litchfield National Park is an absolute must!
At just over an hour’s drive away from Darwin, Litchfield National Park is renowned for natural pools, beautiful waterfalls such as Florence Falls, hikes and breathtaking views to make your journey worthwhile.
Most areas are accessible by 2WD but to get the most out of our experience, we booked a tour with Ethical Adventures. In this guide, we’re going to share everything you need to know about what a Litchfield National Park day trip looks like.
Why book with Ethical Adventures?
Ethical Adventures is designed to not only invite travellers to connect with land and culture, but to be deeply involved in conservation battles and fighting plans that threaten the natural habitat in any National Park.
Rob Woods, owner of Ethical Adventures has been working since he was 18 to create a business that protects nature so that generations to come can enjoy Litchfield National Park as we do.
It was a wonderful experience to learn from Rob and how much he believes the tourism industry gives everyone a chance to connect with the culture and environment.
Rob told us:
All of a sudden the tourism industry isn’t just about tourism, it’s about sustainability and teaching everyone to care.
What makes Litchfield National Park so special?
Litchfield National Park expands over 1500km and is home to several cascading waterfalls, stunning swimming spots and a monsoon forest. Aboriginal people have been living in the area for thousands of years using the land as a resource and their ancestral spirits are still present today in the culture, stories and landscape.
At only over an hour’s drive from Darwin CBD at the Stuart Highway, it is possible to do a Litchfield day tour and immerse yourself in most of the spectacular places on offer such as the stunningly beautiful Florence Falls and Wangi Falls. Did you know, Litchfield National Park waterfalls attract more visitors than the world heritage Kakadu National Park?
A lot of the swimming spots are closed in the wet season due to flooding and crocodiles but in the dry season, the crocs are removed and the National Park can be enjoyed by locals and tourists.
What is included in the tour?
Travel arrangements are included in the tour price as you’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Darwin CBD in an air-conditioned tour van before 8am. The day tour includes:
Cold water bottle refills
Morning coffee and homemade mango muffins
Swimming goggles to see under the natural pools
Lunch of “Adventurers Salad” – Double Brie, Cranberries, Chicken, seeds, sundried tomatoes and avocado. Dietary requirements are catered for but I strongly advise you try their delicious lunch!
Healthy snacks throughout the day trip such as iced tea, fruit and oat bars
A qualified and knowledgeable tour guide
What to bring
It’s important to know that the itinerary will switch between hiking and swimming so need to prepare for both activities. I would recommend you bring:
Swimmers and towel
Thongs or sliders, if you are going from one plunge pool to another, you will be glad you don’t have to keep putting your hiking boots back on
Comfortable Hiking clothes
I packed a rash vest which was easy to throw on between swims and keep my clothes dry
Swimming noodle – I didn’t pack this but so many locals did and I was jealous of them floating around and relaxing in the pools.
Stops on the Litchfield Day Tour
As with any National Park combating the changes in our environment, some waterfalls and walking trails may be closed on the day of your tour due to spreading bushfires.
Ethical Adventures work closely with the NT Parks to find sustainable solutions to protect the natural habitat so whenever the itinerary changes, you will be able to know why and learn about the conservation of Litchfield.
Berry Springs Nature Park
On the way from Darwin to Litchfield, you will stop at Berry Springs’ natural geothermal pools surrounded by a monsoon forest. The short half-meter cascading waterfalls are awesome to rest against for a morning shoulder massage and the temperature is incredibly relaxing.
It is safe to swim here in the dry season and you can swim into the larger pool and through the trees. Be warned though, we asked an Aussie if there were any crocs in there and he said
There may be crocs. You’ll be ‘right!
All saltwater crocs are cleared out but in the NT there is always a chance of freshwater crocs inhabiting the area. But we learnt that freshwater crocs will only attack humans if they are threatened…did we feel safe? Erm yeah, cautious but safe.
Wangi falls is a sacred Aboriginal women’s site but open to everyone in the dry season. The two thundering waterfalls plunge water into a large natural pool you can swim in and also create a little infinity pool in the rocks which you can climb up and have a dip. Wangi falls is an absolutely stunning area and if you can, you should swim behind the waterfall for a great view.
To the left of the main pool entrance, the water is extremely cold and many people have gone into shock trying to dive down there so it is recommended you don’t swim in this section. Also freshwater crocs love cold water…would you dare swim here?
Wangi Falls Hike
After a swim, we hiked the walking track up and over Wangi falls to the viewing platform. The signs say it could take you an hour to hike but we completed it in 35 minutes, but be warned it is very hot with little shade at the top.
If you do decide to leave the Wangi Falls swim to complete this hike, the high vantage point and breathtaking views will make it worth your while. This area is home to orange horseshoe bats and rare ghost bats which are huge so try and spot one!
Top tip: visit the Litchfield cafe at the bottom of Wangi falls for an ice cream after your hike.
The next stop and one of my favourites is Buley rockhole in Litchfield National Park. Several beautiful rock holes are connected together with short waterfalls for more relaxing shoulder massages.
This is a popular area with locals and families and you can find deeper plunge pools to dive down or jump from rocks. Buley rockhole reminded me of a natural spa with people chilling in nature’s own jacuzzis.
Here we stopped for the delicious “adventurers salad” lunch which I have since been trying to recreate at home!
The next stop on the day tour was Florence falls, one of the most famous Litchfield National Park waterfalls. You can see the two thundering waterfalls from a viewing platform and really grasp how massive the monsoon forest is in Litchfield National Park.
To get down to the plunge pool at the bottom of Florence Falls, you will have to climb 160 steps there and back up after so it is a strenuous hike.
Our tour guide gave us the option of the full hike down or swimming in the creek at the top, we opted for the creek because holidays are for relaxing after all. The creek was awesome to explore, again get a waterfall shoulder massage and we even swam alongside a water monitor lizard.
I’m sure if you choose to do the hike down to Florence falls it would be worth it as the 30-meter plunge pool would be great to relax in.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to Tolmer Falls on our day tour due to bush fires but is said to be stunning. Tolmer Falls is one of the highest Litchfield national park waterfalls, cascading over rocks into a large plunge pool. Unfortunately, swimming is not permitted here but i’m sure the hike would offer beautiful views.
Magnetic Termite Mounds
The last stop in our itinerary was to see the magnetic termite mounds. If you have ever been to the Northern Territory or driving along the Stuart highway, it is renowned for giant termite mounds dominating the landscape.
The naturally formed termite mounds in Litchfield national park can grow to be eight meters high over a 100-year lifespan. Termites are necessary for the environment as they feed on dead branches and trees, this decomposition allows fresh nutrients to return to the spoil.
Would we do a day trip with Ethical Adventures again?
Ethical Adventures made our day in Litchfield National Park truly memorable and was easily one of the best tours on the whole of my Northern Territory trip! Obviously, we had a brilliant day swimming in plunge pools and under waterfalls, but we were also able to learn about the conservation of the landscape and how fellow travellers can respect the culture they visit.
It is special when a company is able to impart its wisdom to tourists so we not only visit a beautiful country, but we leave caring for it too.
Find out more about Ethical Adventures tours here.
This article is written by Amii Freeman, our resident writer at Londoner In Sydney.
Hi I’m Amii! I’m from Darlington in the North East of England. I moved from London to Sydney in 2019 for a slower pace and to be by the coast, without having to give up my love of cities. My passion is in film and TV, I screen-write and act as much as I can. In my spare time I love trying new food, exploring new places, kayaking, hiking and cycling.Follow me on Instagram @amiifreeman!