The Cascades is a wide rock lava flow of around 200 metres in length, over which a local stream trickles.
There are several small pools for swimming in, most of which are around half a metre deep. There are also
various cascades and rock slides to play in as you wander up and down the site.
Above: One of the shallow pools at The Cascades
(Order this image)
Reaching The Cascades is more difficult than many other swimming holes in Litchfield National Park,
which means that it is less crowded than its more famous neighbors.
The first 20 minutes of the walk from the car park is across flat, open ground with little shade.
The heat across this section can be sapping, so wear a hat and bring some water. At the junction, I took
the track to the lower cascades, which is the more popular route. As you near the cascades, the track
narrows, becomes undulating and the rock underneath is orientated at awkward angles for human feet to tread
upon. The best advice I can offer about the cascades is to wear sturdy footwear. There are also two daring river
crossings over felled logs to test your balance. The Cascades are not well signposted but you’ll recognize
them when you arrive.
Above: Relaxing in one of the little waterfalls at The Cascades
(Order this image)
There were some croc warning signs on my visit in the creek downstream of the cascades, but not at
the cascades themselves, however this may change at any given time, so make sure you pay attention to the advice on
site before you swim.
Other Information Before You Go:
Access Road off Litchfield Park Road, Litchfield National Park, 170 km (approx. 2 hr 45 min 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 the Cascades is well signposted. From
the car park it is about a 20-30 minute walk to The Cascades.
Toilets, picnic tables (at the car park only)
Rock with some loose sand and gravel
Maximum water depth:
Less than 1 metre
Minimum suggested swimming proficiency:
Beginners (during the dry season)
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.
Limited to no shade at most pools, particularly around the middle of the day.
There is a campground at Wangi Falls, 6km to the south.
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.
NT Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Wangi 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, including
croc warnings. 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.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the start of the walk to The Cascades.
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