Our mates from Melbourne had flown up for a few days so we put aside a day to visit Litchfield National Park. It’s about 100km south of Darwin and while it’s accessible all year round due to the sealed road, 4WD tracks tend to close during the wet season. Camping is available at various locations.
Litchfield National Park is named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, who was part of the first European exploration of the area. Over the last 100 years, the area has been used for tin and copper mining, and pasture, before being dubbed a national park in 1986.
Probably the most popular location in the park, Florence Falls offers a beautiful swimming hole with fresh, clear water. We cooled off in the shade before heading to the measly picnic area for a bite to eat. We ended up sitting on a rock under a tree because the picnic platforms weren’t shaded.
A short walk leads to the Tolmer Falls lookout. You can see a natural arch that the water has created over the years before plunging down into an inaccessible pool and caves that are inhabited by bats.
These falls were really impressive and created quite a spray that was refreshing on our skin. During the Wet Season, the Wangi Falls are spit out heaps of water and this attracts heaps of tourists. There’s a café and gift shop on site, camping is available and there is a day use area, but the swimming area is closed during the wet season.
There are two termite features in the park – magnetic termite mounds and the cathedral termite mound. The magnetic termite mounds are pretty cool because they all run north to south, which is designed to maximise on the temperature control features of chimneys and tunnels within the structure. Scientists did experiments on the termites to see what affects the direction of their houses and after creating a magnetic field that was different to the earth’s, the termites started to build their mound according to the man-made magnetic field – hence the name!
The cathedral termite mounds were huge and the termites were a little scary, but we preoccupied ourselves with funny photos.