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.
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:
Access Road off Litchfield Park Road, Litchfield National Park, 140 km (approx. 2 hr drive) south of the Darwin city centre
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.
Toilets, campground. There are no bins, so take your rubbish with you.
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.
Shade available in and out of the water at the lower pool. No shade available at the upper pools.
There is a campground with unpowered sites at Buley Rockhole and at nearby Florence Falls. Florence Falls
also has unpowered caravan sites. The park is within reach of Darwin for a day trip, or for a more relaxed or extended stay,
you can try commercial
accommodation around Litchfield National Park
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 swimming holes in the park if you have a car.
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.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pools at the rockhole.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below.
I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.