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Don’t take any old one of the Litchfield national park tours… Get the most out of your trip and tours from Darwin by seeing a lot more of the region. We opted for a 4 day itinerary with Adventure Tours Australia (Part of the Intrepid Group) which included not just visits and swimming at spectacular and unspoiled waterfalls in Litchfield national park, but also:
- Mary River Cruise
- Trip to Kakadu national park, including Ubirr rock and Edith falls
- Katherine Gorge Tour
- Aboriginal Culture Experience
- Meals and accommodation for the whole tour
- An expert Aussie guide who did all the driving and answered our questions
When it comes to taking tours from Darwin, having a guide is invaluable. This is the outback after all. Even during our 4 day tour, a tourist got eaten by a crocodile in the region – not one of our group! Because with an experienced guide, like our guide Rick, you have nothing to worry about.
The first stop is Litchfield national park where we’d be swimming in croc free waters. After pickup from our hotel in Darwin, our small group tour of 12 was ready for an Australian adventure – Northern Territory style!
Litchfield National Park Tours: Waterfalls
If you love the idea of roaming from lush, cooling, refreshing, free flowing waterfall to the next all day long then this tour is going to rock your socks off – literally actually, no need for socks in the watering holes #justsayin… Although, there may be some little fishies trying to give you a pedicure. Just relax and go with it!
Hiking routes to each waterfall differ in length. So you get some choice in whether you want to do more hiking or more swimming. But we always opt for the more swimming option because it’s freaking hot (trust us, we went in May, which is winter in Australia, and it was freaking hot). But also because you will find yourself swimming in waterholes surrounded by pure natural beauty at it’s very best. No Burger King here!
We managed to visit 3 uniquely different and unspoiled waterfalls (With a break for lunch in the middle) while on the Litchfield National Park Tours segment of our trip – Buley Rockholes, Florence Falls and Wangi Falls.
Litchfield National Park Tours – Termite Mounds
On the way through Litchfield National Park you also may spot a few things that look like “weirdo rocks” as Tommo put it when I pointed them out. But they are in fact termite mounds, many of which are over 2 metres tall.
There are two main types of termite mounds. The Cathedral Termite mounds – which are oddly shaped somewhat like a medieval cathedral – can grow over 4 meters. The building process for each mound can take from 50 to 100 years.
The other termite mounds are made by magnetic termites. These mounds look more like tombstones. You’ll see strange fields of these on Litchfield National park Tours. I don’t know who these termites are burying – but it’s eerie.
There are so many termites in this area that about 80% of the trees are believed to be hollow with only a few termite resistant trees staying safe from consumption.
This Litchfield National Park Tour covered the highlights, with enough time to really enjoy swimming in those waterfalls. But there was still left time for our final destination – A Mary River Cruise at sunset.
Mary River Cruise – Wetlands & Bilabongs
A Mary River cruise is the ideal place to spot one of the northern territory’s biggest tourist attractions – the crocodile. We saw a couple of Australia’s gigantic saltwater (They grow over 5 metres long – 16 foot) crocs during the cruise. They were within meters of the boat. The one pictured below, resting calmly. Seemingly chilled.
But our guide estimated that falling out of the boat would leave you a matter of seconds (at most 30) to climb back in before becoming croc food. These guys are seriously fast. Even on land, their launch speed is faster than a cheetah over a distance of 5 meters. So, don’t stand too close to the waters edge, you’ll never get away in time!
The wetlands and billabong (a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool, made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood) you visit on this Mary River Cruise are also teaming with a large selection of birdlife, including: Jabiru, Ibis, Brolga, Egret, Kite, Sea Eagle, Magpie Geese, and many others. The bids are beautiful, but seriously there is nothing more exciting than spotting a croc in the wild – and we saw 3 – including a little fresh water croc!
And yes, both freshwater, and the much larger saltwater crocodiles, can live in these freshwater wetlands. The “Salties” are the man eaters, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can only get eaten if you are near the sea!
As the heat of the day fades, a lot of wildlife becomes more active. We saw wallabies a distance from the river banks – away from the crocodile’s reach. But still, one of the most spectacular sights is the incredible outback sunset. Some of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen were during our time in the Northern Territory – and our Mary River Cruise Sunset really put on a show.
Mary River Cruise Accommodation
We stayed a short drive from Mary River, at Bark Hut Inn, Mount Bundy. All our accommodation was included in the tour. The Bark Hut Inn is A real Aussie Outback pub with campground accommodation in the fields behind. Expect a filling pub meal with plenty of chips!
Or, Skip to day 4: Katherine Gorge & Aboriginal Cultural Experience
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Disclaimer: We did receive our Adventure Tours tour complimentary – all opinions remain our own. This post contains affiliate links – thanks for supporting this blog by using them