Kakadu National Park may get all the glory but Litchfield National Park certainly deserves its share of the international spotlight.
DO Spanning 1,500 square kilometres, Litchfield is easy to get to and its attractions are closer together than those of Kakadu, which is more than 10 times as vast. The pretty little town of Batchelor is the starting point for a day-long or weekend adventure in this ancient landscape. You’ll see magnetic termite mounds standing sentinel and the weathered sandstone of the rock formation known as the Lost City. There are magical walks through shady monsoon forests and you can swim in waterfall-fed pools at Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and Surprise Creek. Many sites are accessible with two-wheel-drive vehicles but, with a 4WD, it’s also possible to get off the beaten track.
EAT AND DRINK Litchfield Tourist Park Café (Corner of Windmill Road and Litchfield Park Road; +61 8 8976 0070) is tucked into a shed overlooking lush gardens and native wildlife. The café serves breakfast and lunch daily and has garnered a reputation for its burgers, which apart from the classic patty or steak varieties, also includes crocodile, buffalo and barramundi.
STAY There’s only one way to stay onsite in this National Park: camping. Wangi Falls has non-powered caravan sites; there are 4WD-accessible camping areas at Tjaynera Falls, Surprise Creek Falls and downstream from Florence Falls. Walker Creek has walk-in camping sites. Schedule and weather permitting, try to go during the week or outside school holiday times to avoid too many fellow campers.
GET THERE Litchfield National Park is about 100 kilometres south-west of Darwin. The drive takes about 90 minutes.