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The Cascades
Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory


 
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. Swimming at The Cascades in Litchfield National Park Left: One of the shallow pools    Right: Looking upstream along The Cascades

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.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Access Road off Litchfield Park Road, Litchfield National Park, 170 km (approx. 2 hr 45 min drive) south of the Darwin city centre
Latitude:-13.127502 Longitude:130.661833
Getting there: 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.
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables (at the car park only)
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: 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.
Sun shade: Limited to no shade at most pools, particularly around the middle of the day.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: There is a campground with unpowered sites at nearby Wangi Falls. 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.
Managing authority: 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.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the start of the walk to The Cascades.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
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