Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park, covering approximately 1500 km2, is near the township of Batchelor, 100 km south-west of Darwin. Each year the park attracts over 260,000 visitors.
Proclaimed a national park in 1986, it is named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a Territory pioneer, who explored areas of the Northern Territory from Escape Cliffs on the Timor Sea to the Daly River in 1864.
The Central sandstone plateau supports rich woodland flora communities dominated by species including Darwin Woolybutt and Darwin Stringybark, as well as banksias, grevilleas,terminalias and a wide variety of other woodland species.
Remnant pockets of monsoon rainforest thrive along the bottom of the escarpment, and in the deep narrow gorges created over thousands of years by the force of the waterfalls cutting into the escarpment walls.
They are significant because of their size and lack of disturbance. Here visitors will find lilies and slender ground orchids growing among Pandanus, paperbark and swampbloodwoods.
Common wildlife species include the Antilopine kangaroo, Agile wallaby, Sugar glider, Northern brushtail possum, Fawn antechinus, Black and Little red flying foxes and the Dingo. The caves near Tolmer Falls are home to a colony of the rare Orange leaf-nosed bat and the Ghost bat.
Litchfield is a habitat for hundreds of native bird species. Black Kites, and other birds of prey are common during the dry season. The Yellow Oriole, Figbird, Pacific Koel, Spangled Drongo, Dollarbird and the Rainbow Bee-eater inhabit the sheltered areas close to waterfalls. A species of marsupial mouse (the Northern Dibbler), the Rufous-tailed Bush-hen, a frog (the Pealing Chirper) and the Primitive archerfish, occur in the Wangi Falls area.
Wangi, Tolmer and Florence falls and Buley Rockhole, are popular with visitors and tour groups. The falls have large pools that attract birds and reptiles such as monitors. Orange-footed Scrubfowl, honeyeaters, Figbirds and Torres Strait Pigeons share the fruit and berries in the areas with nocturnal mammals like the Northern Quoll, Northern Brown Bandicoot and Northern Brushtail Possum. Frill-necked Lizard are common throughout the park, but will not be seen as frequently during the cool dry season months. The Finniss River area also hosts a number of large Saltwater Crocodiles, commonly abbreviated as "salties".
The magnetic termite mounds are a popular tourist attraction. These wedge-shaped mounds are aligned in a north-south direction as a response to the environment. The termites which build them feed on grass roots and other plant debris found in plains which are seasonally flooded. Therefore, the termites are forced to remain above the water, in the mound. The alignment of the mound acts as a temperature regulator, and allows the temperature to remain stable.