Unveiling the Wonders of Magnetic Termite Mounds: Nature’s Architectural Marvels
The Magnetic Termite Mounds are a must- see when visiting Litchfield National Park. Spread across a flat area of land, hundreds of mounds sit tall, some reaching 3 metres. They get the term “Magnetic” as they are all flat and in the same direction, with two sides thinning out pointing north and south, similar to a compass needle.
The Magnetic Termite mounds are located in Litchfield National Park, 133 km away from the capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin. They are also 35.3 km away from the city of Batchelor and 1,452 km from Alice Springs.
How they were createdTermites create mounds as a ventilation system for the colony that resides below. The mounds are made out of sand, termite saliva, and feces, and can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. The mounds serve as an apartment complex for the termites and can house tens of thousands of termites. In order to accommodate for a large number of termites, they create an organized system of little compartments, called galleries, as well as pathways that connect them.
Why they are magneticAlthough they are not actually magnetic, Graham Brown from the Northern Territory Museum states that the north-south axis alignment provides them with comfort, since it helps keep the individual galleries at a certain level of moisture that termites need to thrive. Aside from this, there are a few plausible theories of why they build their mounds like that, but none of them are official.
The Magnetic Termite Mounds are only 230 meters off Litchfield Park Road, and have plenty of free car parking. Additionally, there is a public restroom available. Termites are not a danger to humans or pets, however it is recommended to follow the “look, don’t touch” rule. Any vehicle can access this location, and the terrain is not rough. It is also open year round.
For sleeping accommodations, we recommend these curated options in and around Litchfield National Park. Litchfield National Park also has camping available.The closest campsite to the Magnetic Termite Mounds is Sandy Creek Campsite. Sandy Creek is 32.8 km away, and only accessible through a 4WD. For more information on camping options click here. If you’d like to search on Expedia you’ll see a search option below or if you’d prefer to visualise on a map there’s a map option under this section.
If you are looking for guided tours that cover the termite mounds, you’re in luck. Most guided tours of Litchfield National Park cover the Magnetic Termite Mounds. We highly recommend the Litchfield Wanderer tour that Ethical Adventures provide. The team picks you up from Darwin and guides you to the Magnetic Termite Mounds and other fantastic Litchy sports such as Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, and the serene Tabletop Swamp.
The Magnetic Termite Mounds are 21 km northeast of The Lost City where you can explore large sandstone rock formations. Tjaetaba Waterfall is a beautiful location to swim and spend time in the water, and a 21.9 km drive from The Magnetic Termite Mounds, and is accompanied by a 1.5 km walk (3 km round-trip). Lastly, Tolmer Falls is a great spot to walk around with the sound of water falling in the background. Tolmer Falls has amazing view points and is wheelchair-friendly.
Have you been bitten by the (termite) curiosity bug about this location?
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Cover photo by Abbey and Jade, @Thebrunettenomads on IG.