Litchfield National Park NT | Travel Blog

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Published: July 22nd 2023

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We wanted to explore Litchfield National Park, and Rum Jungle was the closest location with a good caravan park to base ourselves in. The name Rum Jungle is derived from an accident that occurred in 1871. A bullock-wagon load of rum, destined for the construction gangs, was said to have been bogged near a patch of jungle on the crocodile-inhabited East Finniss River. The bullockies untethered the oxen and set about drinking the rum, having one of history’s most glorious binges. I knew of Rum Jungle from my High School studies as the location of one of the world’s largest uranium mines. Rum Jungle produced uranium from 1954 to 1971, roughly one-third of which was exported for nuclear weapons. The rest was stockpiled, and then eventually sold in 1994 to the US. By the time the mine closed in 1971, the region was a well-known ecological wasteland, with the attempts to rehabilitate the mine having failed. Fortunately, this wasteland lies north of where we were staying, with efforts to clean up the mess still ongoing.

Every year over quarter of a million of visitors come to Litchfield National Park. Closer to Darwin than Kakadu, Litchfield National Park is less than

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two hours drive from the city, and is full of beautiful waterfalls, creeks and swimming holes. The growing menace of saltwater crocodiles was evident though, with Wangi Falls within Litchfield having been closed just prior to us arriving due to an attack on a tourist swimming below the falls. Having spent some time last year in Northern Queensland, we have learnt that saltwater crocodiles are generally lazy and will not swim over rock barriers. The wet season, however, provides opportunities for smaller crocodiles to move upstream when water levels are higher, trapping them in creeks and rock holes, where they grow in size and can become dangerous.

Being within a short drive of Litchfield National Park proved to be advantageous in the Northern Australian heat, and we found we visited the waterfalls and rockholes within the park almost every day of our six day stay. Buley Rockhole was one of our favourite places to cool off under the many cascades of natural cool spring water, as well as Florence Falls, which lies a short way downstream. We tried to cover all of Litchfields natural wonders, including the Lost City (a fortress of stone monoliths that resemble a city), Tabletop

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Swamp (a haven for wildlife and birds), Tolmer Falls (a spectacular high drop waterfall), Tjaetaba Falls (a swimming hole perched precariously above a high waterfall – we enjoyed the ultimate infinity pool), Walker Creek (a steep rocky walk to a peaceful swimming hole),the Magnetic Termite Mounds (where each mound is a thin wedge shape which always faces magnetic north) and The Cascades (again a steep walk to swim in cool sandy pools).

On one of the days, we drove down to the township of Adelaide River, where we visited the Adelaide River Hotel, famous for its Crocodile Dundee connections. Adelaide River was also the site of the War Cemetery for service men and women who died in Northern Australia during the second world war, with its first burials taking place after the attack on Darwin in February 1942. The cemetery is beautifully kept and each grave has a brass plaque with personal wording from their families. A sad but memorable place to visit.

The Banyan Tree Tourist Park had a musician olaying each night under the large Banyan Tree, which was great to listen to over a meal from the restaurant. Many travellers we have spoken to actually

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prefer Litchfield NP to Kakadu NP. We had an amazing time there but we will leave that judgement until we visit Kakadu in the near future.



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