Litchfield National Park is an immaculate place to visit in the north of Australia in the Northern Territory. Located only 100km southwest of Darwin, the park has nearly a quarter-million visitors every year. Becoming an official national park of Australia in 1986, the park covers an area of approximately 1,500 square kilometres. This park is an ancient landscape that has been entirely shaped by water.
The beautiful area is filled with waterfalls that are surrounded by picturesque monsoonal vine forests, making this a fantastic place to camp or stay in a cabin. The crystal-clear pools, iconic termite mounds, and clusters of weathered sandstone pillars that resemble a lost city are just a few of the sights for guests to look forward to.
This park is also incredibly important to the Aboriginal communities that have called this area home for hundreds of years. Their ancestral spirits are tied to the landscape, as they have cultivated much of the plants and wildlife that still call this area home in the present day.
If you are visiting Litchfield National Park then you are allowed to go swimming in multiple areas throughout the park. The safety of guests is considered very important to the park staff, so rangers will routinely monitor the safety of all designated swimming areas.
Consistently, the depths of the water and the currents can be incredibly overwhelming and challenging to navigate for young or inexperienced swimmers. That is why it is crucial for children to always remain under the supervision of an adult while swimming. This is much to do with the fact that weather conditions change quickly in the park/area, with severe storms and flash flooding being quite common.
Because of this, it’s highly recommended that all guests of the park take into consideration the list of acceptable swimming areas that are routinely updated by park staff. These are areas that are monitored, not only because of weather conditions but also due to the wildlife that calls this park home.
Are There Crocodiles In Litchfield National Park?
There are crocodiles that call Litchfield National Park their permanent home. Crocodiles are found in both the freshwater and saltwater of northern Australia, however, the park’s amphibious friends are of the saltwater variety. These scale-covered fellows are often referred to as “salties” by locals and can be quite dangerous. With the heavy rainfall (often monsoonal) from October to April, many sites throughout the park become closed off to the public.
This is not only because the roads become inaccessible and there is an increased risk of flash flooding, but the higher water levels allow the salties to move around as they please. Because of this, after the wet season has concluded, the water throughout the park is closely examined and monitored by the staff. This is to ensure the safety of every visitor to the park
When Can You Swim At Litchfield National Park?
It has been deemed safe to swim in some areas at certain times of the year, with some only being considered to be safe during the dry season, which is from May to October. However, others are both considered safe areas for swimming year-round, with the exception of extreme flooding and washouts – which are closely monitored and made publicly aware by the park staff.
Generally speaking, the only exception is when major weather events are in the area during the wet season. Much of the time, the wet season will cause a rise in water levels and the currents to become very strong, which can cause the aquatic life (particularly crocodiles) to move throughout the park – as opposed to remaining in their usual areas.
Can You Swim At Litchfield National Park During The Wet Season?
Tourists and local Australians alike flock to Litchfield National Park for the excellent and abundant choices of swimming spots. These spots are available for swimming nearly year-round:
- Buley Rockhole
- Central Valley
- Florence Falls
- Reynolds Track
- Walker Creek
- Wangi Falls
There are certain areas of Litchfield National Park that are not appropriate for swimming during the wet season. During this timeframe, the currents generated by the waterfalls and rising water levels can often be so strong, that it isn’t recommended for anyone to enter the water.
However, this is not always the case for every swimming spot around the park. While some may be closed on certain days because of the weather conditions, they will usually open again soon after.
What Else Is There To Do In Litchfield National Park?
One of the best spots to visit in Litchfield National Park is the sandstone ruins. This is an area consisting of large sandstone structures that take on the appearance of an ancient civilization. These are natural structures that are formed over thousands of years by erosion. The walls, narrow passageways, and domes give the impression that they were once man-made or meant to look like a maze.
These structures take up a large area, consistent with the size of a small town, and are estimated as being over five hundred million years old. Visitors and tourists are sure to be astounded by the natural beauty and architecture, however, this is considered a trek that is only available to those who are experienced with driving four-wheel-drive vehicles, as they are all that is permitted.
Another truly impressive sight for viewers to behold is the vast field of termite mounds. There are literally hundreds of these gigantic, two-meter high mounds to view in a wide-open flat field. Estimated at being well over one hundred years old, these structures are entirely unique to northern Australia, making them truly a one-of-a-kind sight to see.
Visitors are able to take a stroll along the adjacent boardwalk and marvel at these enormous mounds. The magnetic termites inside require high humidity and temperatures to survive, which is exactly why the mounds are built in a way that allows them to be thermo-regulated. It is truly a natural wonder – one that no guest should miss out on the opportunity to see!
Guests are also encouraged to make the trip out to the historic pioneer village that lies within the park. Another location that requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle to see, this site is definitely worth the trip. This location was initially built by a family that ran a nearby tin mine and serves as a stark reminder of the harsh conditions and struggles that families living in the north had to endure.
Although it was abandoned sometime in the 1960s, it has since been restored to its former glory – with the addition of educational displays that help visitors to understand the trials and tragedies that those once living there had to fight to overcome. For those who love learning more about history, this is definitely a superb place to consider visiting.
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