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Litchfield National Park is just an hour-and-a-half drive from Darwin and features a myriad of diverse environments including rugged sandstone escarpments, perennial spring-fed streams, monsoon rainforest, magnetic termite mounds, waterfalls and historic ruins.

Must do:
•    Jump in a four-wheel drive and discover the dramatic splendour of Tjaynera (Sandy Creek) Falls, Blyth Homestead Ruins and the weathered sandstone columns of The Lost City
•    View the magnetic termite mounds. Hundreds of two-metre high magnetic termite mounds reveal the architectural feats of the intriguing insects that build their mounds aligned north and south to minimise exposure to the sun and maximise temperature control
•    View the spectacular double waterfall of Florence Falls set amid the monsoon forest. 135 steps lead down to the plunge pool
•    Cool off at Buley Rockhole, a series of cascading waterfalls and rockholes located just 80 metres from the carpark
•    Visit Wangi Falls – one of the park’s best swimming and picnic spots. Note: Swimming at Wangi Falls is subject to seasonal closure

 

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This 1,500 square-kilometre park is an important area to the Koongurrukun, Marranuggu, Werat, and Warray Aboriginal people. The Finniss exploration was the first European connection to the area and the park was named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a member of the expedition. For 75 years until 1955, the area was the centre for tin and copper mining. It then fell under a pastoral lease until it was designated a national park in 1986.

You can spend as little as one day in the park, taking a quick dip in each of the plunge pools and rockholes on the drive through, but to really experience the true beauty of Litchfield it’s best to stay at least two days.

Litchfield National Park’s major attractions are linked by a sealed road, although a four-wheel drive is necessary to access The Lost City and the Reynolds River Track. It is also possible during the dry season to travel by four-wheel drive down the Reynolds River Track to the Daly River Road.

The crystal-clear swimming holes and pleasant bushwalking trails make this park a favourite among Darwin locals. Meals and refreshments are available inside the park at Wangi Falls and you can stay overnight at a number of places in and along the road to the park that offer campsites, cabins and caravans, or in the small township of Batchelor – the gateway to Litchfield.

The townships of Adelaide River and Batchelor are steeped in history, from the early Chinese market gardens and military presence during WWII, to the discovery of uranium and the mining at Rum Jungle. The area was originally inhabited by the Kungarakan and Warai Aboriginal clans - the first Europeans to travel through the area were members of the Goyder survey expedition in 1869. The first settlement here was not established until 1870, a base for workers on the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line.

Must do:
•    Take a guided tour to the Adelaide River War Cemetery and the Railway Heritage Precinct
•    Visit the beautiful Robin Falls in Adelaide River. Just a short walk through the scenic bush surrounds, the area is home to  a wide variety of flora and fauna
•    Experience station life at Mount Bundy
•    Walk amongst the butterflies at the Batchelor Butterfly Farm

 

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Adelaide River Township

Situated on the Stuart Highway 112 kilometres south of Darwin, Adelaide River offers a warm welcome to travellers. The township came to prominence following the completion of construction on the Overland Telegraph Line, followed by a hotel, police outpost and railway station. The town became a popular overnight stopover for travellers and prospectors enroute to Pine Creek following the discovery of gold there in 1871.

From 1939, with the build-up of World War II military activity, the town took on a major role as the location for a huge military base, with the 119 Australian General Hospital, army camps and thousands of service personnel stationed in the town and surrounding areas. Following the bombing of Darwin in 1942, Australian and American military headquarters were relocated from Darwin to the Adelaide River township. The town is now the site of the third-largest war cemetery in Australia, the resting place for some 63 civilians and 434 service personnel.

Batchelor

Batchelor, ‘the gateway to Litchfield National Park’, lies just 100 kilometres south of Darwin. Goyder’s survey party passed through the area in 1869, and in 1874 a small roadhouse, the Rum Jungle Hotel, was constructed on the supply route. The present township stands on a section of land that was part of a demonstration farm established in 1912 by a Mr. E.L. Batchelor. The area began to flourish in 1949 with the discovery of uranium by John (Jack) Michael White. 1952 saw the expansion of the town when it became home for workers employed at the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine (White’s Mine), Australia’s first uranium mine and one of the greatest economic influences on the subsequent development of the Top End. Mining operations ceased in the early 1970s and Batchelor came under the control of the Northern Territory Administration. Batchelor Institute, in the centre of town, originally occupied the single men’s quarters of the mining company.