Litch­field NP

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - 6 Of The Best -

Info: www.nt.gov.au/parks When to go: April-Oc­to­ber Grade: Mod­er­ate

THEY CALL IT a mini-Kakadu, but to de­scribe the NT’s most vis­ited na­tional park – Litch­field – that way is to do this wilder­ness haven a dis­ser­vice. The 1500km² park is jam-packed with wa­ter­falls, mag­netic ter­mite mounds, some bril­liant swim­ming holes (check all signs for croc warn­ing/no swim­ming) and awe­some camp­ing. Best of all, the na­tional park is just 120km south­west of Dar­win. Even though this may sound warn­ing bells for po­ten­tial campers, the fact is the park is size­able enough, with a de­cent spread of camp­sites through­out, for you to still find your own per­sonal piece of Top End par­adise for a weekend or longer of camp­ing.

Most of the park’s roads are sealed, which re­sults in a large num­ber of day tour­ers, but if you are pre­pared to drive (4WD only) into – and ex­plore – the park’s more southerly sec­tions, you will find fewer peo­ple with plenty of sub­lime camp­sites avail­able. We’d rec­om­mend a loop through the park to and from Dar­win for a long weekend of camp­ing. And we’d also opt to do it clock­wise, driv­ing south along the Stu­art High­way from Dar­win, and then turn­ing right on to Daly River Road and ac­cess­ing the park via its south­ern en­trance. It’s a much longer first day, but well worth it…

This south­ern part of Litch­field Na­tional Park is less crowded and a lit­tle ‘wilder’ in terms of its land­scape, big creeks and rivers, and camp­sites than the north­ern sec­tion. Most wa­ter­ways in this sec­tion will have dropped down enough for an easy cross­ing in your ve­hi­cle by the end of the Wet Sea­son (usu­ally June, but check be­fore­hand with Na­tional Parks) and you will kick off your Litch­field NP camp ad­ven­ture with a night at one of the pret­ti­est camp­sites in the park: Sur­prise Creek Falls. The bonus of this camp­site is twofold; it is re­mote and rarely over­crowded, plus you can safely swim in the wa­ter­hole at the bot­tom of the falls.

For the next night, we’d highly rec­om­mend track­ing north along the park’s main track, ne­go­ti­at­ing the park’s widest wa­ter cross­ing – the Reynolds River – and then set­ting up camp not much fur­ther north of there, at beau­ti­ful Tjayn­era Falls (Sandy Creek). Again, this site is a bit harder to ac­cess so there should be space, plus you can en­joy another swim there, safely.

The fi­nal day could be spent sam­pling some of the swim­ming at the nu­mer­ous wa­ter­falls in the north­ern sec­tion of the park, such as Wangi and Florence Falls, Bu­ley Rock­hole and Cas­cades. Even though it is pop­u­lar, we’d still def­i­nitely rec­om­mend a night’s camp­ing at the quirky Wangi Falls camp­ground, with the wa­ter­hole just a short walk from camp for a nice dip at the end of the day. It’s close to the best three days of camp­ing you will find in Oz.

Litch­field Na­tional Park’s south­ern sec­tions con­tain some spec­tac­u­lar land­scapes to ex­plore.

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