Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks – Crocodiles, Ancient Rock Drawings, And Angry Flies

October 15, 2017

Litchfield and Kakadu are 2 national parks quite close to Darwin, so we decided to spend 3 days exploring them. There are many organized tours starting in Darwin, but they’re expensive and we preferred to have the flexibility of deciding on our own what to see and how to use our time, so we rented a car in Darwin and explored the parks on our own.

That meant driving about 1000 km in 3 days, but mostly on completely empty roads in the parks – see photos below. Yep, that’s what the streets looked like almost all the time. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s low season now or if it’s always like that. But we were mostly on these straight, empty roads, with a speed limit of 130 km/h. Most of the time, we only met another car every 5-10 minutes or so.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield’s attractions are mainly fresh water pools formed at the base of waterfalls. They’re lovely to swim in and as refreshing as you imagine. But except for that, there was not much truly impressive in the park. Perhaps that’s also because we had a constant comparison in our minds to the rainforest in Borneo, and neither of these 2 national parks could keep up with that. To be fair, it’s the end of the dry season here, so everything is quite dry and I can very well imagine it looks different in the wet season. But for now, we were a bit disappointed about the dryness we encountered everywhere.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu is much bigger than Litchfield and also has more to offer. There are 2 main sites with well preserved Aborigine stone drawings (some estimated to be about 20’000 years old)…

… there are impressive rock formations…

… and there are beautiful lookout points above the surrounding landscape.

We took a beautiful early morning boat tour in some of the wetlands of Kakadu. I was keeping my fingers crossed before the tour that we see crocodiles, and we did see crocodiles – about 20 or so of them! I needn’t have worried about not seeing any. They were everywhere in the rivers we were cruising on. We saw them catching and eating fish, and fighting each other for the food. As the guide warned us in the beginning of the boat ride, “we keep all our body parts in the boat while we’re out on the water. Don’t lean out when taking photos. Otherwise you’ll just be training the crocs to jump.” We also saw wild buffalos, many different birds, wallabies, cat fish, and a snake. Overall, Kakadu was much more interesting than Litchfield, but it also covers a much bigger area and requires quite a bit of driving between the sites.

Highs and Lows


  • Swimming in the beautiful natural pools in Litchfield. First time for me swimming at the bottom of a waterfall!
  • Seeing and trying to understand the old Aborigine rock drawings. Very impressive. It’s sad though to see how many Aborigines nowadays have problems in the Australian society and how much things have changed for them.
  • Watching the sunset from a lookout point in Kakadu.
  • The boat ride in the wetlands of Kakadu and all the animals we saw. You’re often told here that you should not go swimming in muddy rivers because there are crocodiles, but only once you see said crocodiles, do you really internalize that warning.
  • Going for an evening swim in the pool of our lodge in Kakadu. I can’t remember the last time I was swimming after dark. One more thing I should do more often.


  • Big armies of flies in Litchfield and smaller armies in Kakadu, all willing to risk their lives to go into your mouth, nose, eyes or ears. Very annoying. We constantly had to defend our heads against them. After a while, we figured out that hitting each other (with the best of intentions of killing the flies) does not bring anything – the flies are faster in flying away. Many other tourists were wearing nets around their heads to keep the flies away, but Daniel and I decided we’re too cool for that – and we kept up the battle…
  • The heat! In Kakadu we had 42 degrees Celsius. That’s not a human-friendly temperature. The AC systems of our car and of our cabin couldn’t keep up. I can’t blame them.

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