Litchfield National Park’s Best-Kept Secret: The Spectacular Cascades
Litchfield National Park has several relaxing swimming areas that a guest can dip their toes into or cool off in after an adventurous day in the park. The Cascades is just one of those refreshing spots. Due to its location, the Cascades are split into an upper and lower level, causing it to be one of the quieter and more tranquil swimming spots in Litchfield National Park. The site was developed in 2010 as an alternative, recreational opportunity to unwind away from the denser crowds in the rest of the park.
What are the Cascades at Litchfield National Park?
The Cascades is a wide-rock lava flow that is around 200 meters in length, with several shallow pools that one can use to swim. There is a small stream that trickles over the rocks. The pools are around half a meter deep, and there are several rock slides to explore as visitors go around the site. The Cascades are divided into two sections: the Lower Cascades and the Upper Cascades. Activities encouraged here are sightseeing, picnicking, swimming, taking walks, photography, and of course, appreciating nature and relaxing. The Cascades are perfect for self-reliant and experienced visitors who prefer a more secluded swimming opportunity. The Upper Cascades are often referred to as a natural spa, and the Lower Cascades have deeper rock pools and waterfalls.
Location of Cascades in Litchfield National ParkThe Cascades is located on an access road off of Litchfield Park Road, Litchfield National Park. The site is 170 kilometers away from Darwin’s city center, travelling south. If you’re travelling from Darwin, take the Stuart Highway and turn off at the signs to Litchfield National Park via Batchelor. Follow the turnoffs to the Cascades. For general access to Litchfield National Park click here. From the car park, it is a 15 to 20 minute moderate hike to the Lower Cascades, an area with splendid falls and swimmable pools of water. If one would like, you can make your way up to the Upper Cascades with a bit of safe rock climbing and hopping. There are actually two options from the car park: a 1.3km walk to the Lower Cascades and a 1.7km walk to the Upper Cascades. Both walks are in the open with little to no shade at all, so it is important to wear sunscreen and bring a hat to stay comfortable! If you’re looking for accommodation at Litchfield National Park, our recommended options can be found here, these also include camping and caravan parks. If you like looking at a map below you’ll see a link that shows available accommodation with a map view!
There may be crocodile warning signs on your way up to the Upper Cascades, but none at the Cascades themselves. Hazards and hidden threats are communicated through signs onsite as well as in pre-visit information, available on the Northern Territory’s website. No pets are allowed on this trail, and guests cannot bring glass containers within 10 meters of the water. Guests are advised to stay on marked roads and tracks. Because of the hike and wildlife around the Upper and Lower Cascades, it is recommended that guests wear closed-toed/sturdy shoes and insect repellent.
Accessibility to Cascades in Litchfield National Park
The Upper Cascades are only accessible through a 1.7km hike to the site. The car park is accessible by 2WD. There is no access to the Lower Cascades during the wet season due to the risk of flash flooding, but the Upper Cascades are available all year long. There is no swimming during the wet season. There is no disabled access at the top of the escarpment (the actual Upper Cascades location), but there is disability accommodations to access one of the Cascades’ viewing platforms from the car park. Toilets and picnic tables are located in the car park only.
Accommodations + ExperienceThe Cascades are unqiue as there are no tours so it’s a perfect spot for self-reliant travellers. You can include the Upper Cascades (and Lower Cascades) as part of a one-day trip you create to Litchfield National Park. We suggest after visiting the Cascades, visit, swim in, and take pictures of Wangi Falls–it’s a beautiful photo opportunity for one’s travel Instagram! Wangi Falls is only an 8 minute drive from the Cascades car park, and then a short and accessible walk from the Wangi Falls car park. You can also visit Walker Creek for walking trails and reserved campgrounds, which you will need to book in advance. Camping is available all throughout Litchfield National Park. The closest campground to the Cascades is the one at Wangi Falls, which is about 6 kilometers away. You will need to book these campgrounds in advance. The Cascades is 1.5 hour drive from Darwin, so it is within reach for a day trip. If you’d prefer to stay indoors, you can stay at the Litchfield Tourist Park, just outside the Litchfield National Park boundary in Batchelor. For more luxurious stay try Hideaway Litchfield in Rakula. Besides these two types of accommodations, there are plenty of sleeping options available that you can find here on our accommodation page.
We’d love to know if you’ve visited the Cascades at Litchy in the comments!
If you have feedback on this page – please comment below if you’ve been to Litchfield National Park and which locations you’d add to this list. Get your daily fix of Northern Territory beauty by following @litchfieldnationalpark on IG or on FB here.
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Cover image by @louisedentonphotography on IG.