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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. 

Read on for a comprehensive guide on where to find the Cascades in Litchfield National Park, the top things to do a the Cascades, and recommended accommodations nearby.

What Are The Cascades?

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. The Upper Cascades are often referred to as a natural spa, while the Lower Cascades have deeper rock pools and waterfalls.

What are some of the top things to do at the Cascades? Picnicking, swimming, taking walks, photography, and of course, appreciating nature and relaxing. The Cascades are perfect for travellers looking for a more secluded swimming opportunity.


Sunny day at the Upper Cascades in Litchfield National Park
IG @jodieleegibson at the Upper Cascades in Litchfield National Park
Natural rock pool next to two small waterfalls at the Lower Cascades in Litchfield National PArk
IG @benywhitaker at the Lower Cascades in Litchfield National Park

Where Are The Cascades in Litchfield National Park?

The Cascades is located on an access road off of Litchfield Park Road in Litchfield National Park.

How far are the Cascades from Darwin? The site is 170 kilometres south of Darwin’s city centre. 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. You can make your way up to the Upper Cascades for 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, so it is important to wear sunscreen and bring a hat to stay comfortable!

Top Accommodations Near Litchfield National Park

Camping is available all throughout Litchfield National Park. The closest campground to the Cascades is the one at Wangi Falls, which is about 6 kilometres 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.

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 is a link that shows all available accommodation options!

Cooking station in a camping side, pot over a campfire at Lichfield National Park
IG @130northtravels camping at Litchfield National Park
Man hiking through the jungle in Litchfield National Park
IG @benywhitaker hiking at Lichfield National Park

Access to The Cascades

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. 

Are The Cascades accessible? There is no disabled access at the top of the escarpment (the actual Upper Cascades location). However, there are disability accommodations for those who need to access one of the Cascades’ viewing platforms from the car park.

Safety Warnings

Be aware of crocodile warnings

No pets are allowed, and no glass containers within 10 metres of the water.

Travellers are advised to stay on marked roads and tracks.

Due to the wildlife around the Upper and Lower Cascades, it is recommended you wear closed-toed/sturdy shoes and insect repellent. 

Waterfall on red rock at Lower Cascades in Litchfield National Park
View at Cascades by IG @browns_outoftown
Picture of Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park
Wangi Falls by @aus_z8 on IG

One Day Cascades Itinerary

You can include the Upper Cascades (and Lower Cascades) as part of a day trip you create to Litchfield National Park.

We suggest visiting, swimming in, and taking pictures of Wangi Falls after visiting the Cascades–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.

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.
For even more Territory content (we can’t get enough) check out @northerhq on IG. Please sign up here to join our newsletter list to be the first to get travel hints and local recommendations.

Cover image by @louisedentonphotography on IG.