October 17, 2016

Best National Parks near Darwin

You might be surprised to learn that within driving distance of Darwin CBD lie some of the most unique landscapes in the world – all you need to do is hop in the car and find them! Here’s our pick of the top 5 national parks you should visit while in Darwin.

1.       Litchfield National Park

No visit to Darwin is complete without visiting Litchfield, less than two hours from the city. With its diverse landscape, you’ll find plenty to see and do. Florence Falls, Wangi Falls and Buley Rockhole are your best bet for swimming – beautiful, refreshing and most importantly, croc-free! If you fancy a hike, try the Tolmer Falls Walk to see one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the park. For the more experienced, there’s Tabletop Track – a whopping 39kms of sensational scenery.

2.       Mary River National Park

About an hour out of Darwin, you’ll find yourself immersed in some of the most beautiful wetlands in the Northern Territory. The lush waterways are brimming with barramundi, making it a prime location for those wanting to fish – Shady Camp is a popular and safe fishing spot – as well as saltwater crocs, which can be spotted from the many lookouts. Couzens Lookout is at its most stunning at sunset, and if you’re interested in birdlife, be sure to visit Mistake Billabong for a glimpse of life on the water. 

3.       Berry Springs National Park

Also an hour away is Berry Springs National Park. The pretty, shaded pools are perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of tables and barbeques for a picnic lunch. You’ll be surrounded by the bush, so take the woodlands walk and spot the wildlife. It’s popular with families, especially because Territory Wildlife Park is right next door - stop in to see their collection of native animals and birds. 

4.       Butterfly Gorge

Named after the Common Crow Butterflies that shelter in the rock face, Butterfly Gorge is another lovely swimming spot about 2 and a half hours out of Darwin. Once you’re in the main pool, you can swim across and climb up to the upper pools – worth the effort. It’s a quiet place surrounded by bush, far less busy than some of the other parks – if you’re lucky, you might even be the only visitor!

5.       Kakadu National Park

Yep, we’ve saved the best for last. World Heritage-listed Kakadu is basically 19,000kms of outstanding natural beauty, so we recommend you stay a couple of days to take it all in! There’s waterfalls, swimming holes, indigenous heritage and art, rainforests and bushland – not to mention the thousands of species of wildlife. Highlights of the park include Jim Jim Falls (truly a sight to behold in the wet season), Gunlom plunge pool, Yellow Water Billabong (famous both for its waterlilies and the crocs that live under them), and Ubirr, site of some of the best-preserved Aboriginal rock art you’ll see in Kakadu.