After our time in Darwin we entered the National Park by taking the Cox Peninusula Road which has a 24km stretch of unsealed road. We spent three nights in total in this stunning park, before making our way to Alice Springs. There are lots of different types of vegetation here which makes it a really interesting place to explore and the waterfalls are amazing. We walked through cypress pines, monsoonal rainforests, savannah grasslands and saw ancient cycads. We swam in beautiful pools with cascading waterfalls and saw a few snakes too.
Day 1 Wangi Falls hiking and swimming and a coffee in the cafe, which is nestled in the national park
Day 2 Cascades hike, Walkers Creek, plunge pools and Tjsynera Falls hike and swim.
Day 3 Magnetic termite mounds, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole hike and swim, The Lost City, Tolmer falls hike, Greenant Creek hike and another swim at Wangi Falls.
Where to stay
We camped at Wangi falls and made a bee line for the campsite as this site fills up fast, even outside the school holidays. By just after 10am all the 33 sites were full, with lots of people desperately seeking a spot. There is camping up the road at Litchfield Safari Camp which was our back up. Wangi Falls campsite has lots of facilities (flushing toilets, showers, a cafe and free wifi) Its a National Park category A site, which makes it really good value. For the same facilities in Kakadu we were paying over twice as much, plus a parks pass. Other camping within the park can be found at Florence Falls as well as a few well appointed 4×4 sites at Sandy Creek, Surprise Falls and Florence Falls. The site at Sandy Creek looked lovely as it is located 9km down the Reynolds 4×4 track, check opening status as there is a river crossing.
Hikes and waterfalls
Our favourite hike had to be Tjaybnera Falls at Sandy Creek. The river crossing at the start nearly put us off as the car in front of us had turned around. But then a FJ cruiser passed and went for it and we followed him through. Although it was a reasonable length crossing that’s deep in parts (around 0.6m) it was fine as it had a good rocky base. The hike was a 3.5km return to a beautiful waterfall and pool. We swam around for a while and I wished I had a GoPro again as the view from under the fall was magic. We had the place to ourselves and due to its location it’s never going to be that busy. The 4×4 track continues to Surprise Creek where there is camping and then onto Daly River. It looked an awesome track and is definitely something we would do to explore the park differently next time. The route takes you across a deeper crossing at Reynolds river, which talking to locals was sitting at 0.8m. The track was open and apparently so far nobody had got stuck, which is good as a recovery with all those crocs around wouldn’t be fun.
It was our 9th Wedding anniversary while in the park and I loved Walkers Creek. It’s was a 3.5km return hike and the creek has lots of plunge pools to cool off in with nobody around. The individual campsites you can stay at looked fun. You write your name on the blackboard to book one!
Wangi Falls is pretty touristy. The coaches roll in and out all today. But it’s a huge pool and if you wait until the late afternoon it’s much quieter. To the left under the smaller waterfall is a perfectly shaped pool which you sit in, it’s brilliant and the water is a little warmer! We couldn’t touch the bottom so held onto the side and looked out into the main pool. We did the short 1.6km hike before we jumped in. It’s reasonably accessible with steps and staircases built in. We saw 5 little tiny black pigs on the track snuffling around in the dirt.
The 3.5km return upper Cascades hike is a nice morning walk, taking you onto the plateau with views across the flood plains for miles. When we were here at the start of August the lower cascade walk was still closed. You can swim in the upper Cascades , but we decided to save our cool off for the places we planned to explore later in the day. We were pleased we did, as although nice and with nobody else around it was very tranquil, other places were better. (Plus there is only so many times you can take your clothes on and off)
Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole is a great hike taking in both these spectacular areas. We parked at Florence falls and walked to Buley Rockhole, along the well formed path to the main pools. There were also lots of little paths heading off to waterholes which nobody was in. On our return the path headed off into the monsoonal rainforest and to the base of Florence falls, where we jumped in the huge pool and swam under the waterfall. After our dip, we headed up the steps, for incredible views of the top of the falls, before heading back to the car and having lunch at the lost city.
Tolmer falls, was a short but gorgous 1.6km hike, ending with superb views of this drop waterfall
Greenant Creek hike, had a lovely boardwalk and then after a climb a beautiful pool at the top. For cultural reasons we couldn’t swim in it, which would have been nice on a hot day. Its a nice hike, but we would suggest if you don’t have much time to prioritise others walks.
The lost City
The Magnetic Termite Mounds