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Buley Rockhole
Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory

Buley Rockhole is a series of cascades interspersed with flat rock shelves. There are actually several rockholes within the rock shelves that are surprisingly deep (greater than 2 metres) and suitable for swimming. Alternatively you can find a spot on the rock shelves or within a cascade to relax and let the water rush over you at any depth you choose. It is wonderfully refreshing on those hot days in the Top End. Swimming at Buley Rockhole, Litchfield National Park Above: A group of people relaxing around the pool in the middle section of Buley Rockhole (Order this image)

The rock can be slippery. I suggest you keep your centre of gravity low with crab like movements as you wander across the rock to avoid a dangerous fall. You can scramble, jump or swim the full length of the rockholes from top to bottom, or use the dirt path beside the river to enter wherever you like.

When I visited there was a local who made a hobby of duck diving with a face mask for lost items in the lower pool. He came up with a shiny ring in less than a minute, so I suggest you leave your jewellery somewhere safe to save it from being washed away.

The number of car spaces in the car park is limited to prevent overcrowding. If the car park is full, signs advise you to come back later. The best time to visit is early and late in the day to avoid the tour groups.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Access Road off Litchfield Park Road, Litchfield National Park, 140 km (approx. 2 hr drive) south of the Darwin city centre
Latitude:-13.113311 Longitude:130.785626
Getting there: From Darwin take the Stuart Hwy southwards and turn off at the signs to Litchfield National Park (via Batchelor). The turnoff to Buley Rockhole is well signposted within the National Park.
Facilities: Toilets, campground. There are no bins, so take your rubbish with you.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Cool
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum suggested swimming proficiency: Beginners in the shallower areas, experienced in the deeper pools
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No swimming during the wet season, no pets, no generators, no glass containers within 10 m of the water, no feeding of native animals, no nets, no traps, no firearms, light fires only in fireplaces provided, no soaps or detergents in or near waterways, stay on marked roads and tracks.
Sun shade: Shade available in and out of the water at the lower pool. No shade available at the upper pools.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: There is a campground at Florence Falls, 2km to the north. Florence Falls also has unpowered caravan sites. An online booking system for campgrounds in the park is due to be implemented in late 2021. Prior to that, it is first come first served. The park is within reach of Darwin for a day trip, or for a more relaxed or extended stay, you can try the following options, just outside the national park boundary. I have stayed in a cabin at Litchfield Tourist Park (as a paying guest) in Batchelor and found it quite comfortable and provided easy access to the national park if you have a car. In the nearby accommodation options below, all distances are by road, not as the crow flies.
Nearby accommodation:Distance from swim:
Banyan Tree 30 km
Litchfield Tourist Park 30 km
Butterfly Farm 40 km
Further options… More than 40 km
Managing authority: NT Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Florence Falls is around the corner
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to Litchfield National Park, the managing authority warns of the presence of scrub typhus, which is caused by bites from a mite. Precautions include wearing enclosed footwear, long trousers, insect repellent, camping away from dense forests, and using a ground sheet when sitting or laying on the ground.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pools at the rockhole.
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