Darwin is flanked by two of the Northern Territory's stunning national parks: Mary River National Park and Litchfield National Park. Both nurture exquisite landscapes and wondrous wildlife and are just a short drive from the city.
Mary River National Park
Located just 150 kilometres east of Darwin, the Mary River National Park is a haven for anglers and wildlife watchers alike. The park's river, wetlands and billabongs are famously frequented by an enormous concentration of birdlife, are known to have the largest population of saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory, and, after the rains, are brimming with barramundi.
Unsurprisingly, the park is popular with wildlife viewing cruises, guided twitcher tours and specialised fishing charters. If you're travelling independently, you'll find excellent viewing platforms for wildlife watching and croc spotting, as well as convenient camping areas and boat ramps. The Hardies and Wildman 4WD tracks should sate off-road adventure seekers.
Litchfield National Park
Tucked away behind expansive plains and magnetic termite mounds are the stunning and wonderfully fun spring-fed waterfalls and waterholes that make Litchfield National Park a favourite with Territory locals. You'll be buoyed by the pandanus-lined plunge pools at Florence and Wangi Falls, and soothed by the gentle series of cascades at Buley Rockhole. On land there are staggering steps to viewing platforms and lookouts offering staggering views of much of the park. Walkers will find short trails from most popular spots, as well the more challenging multi-day circuit, the Tabletop Track. Visitors in 4WD will find tracks to the Tjaynera Falls and the sandstone towers of The Lost City.
There are plenty campsites accessible on foot, by 4WD and by regular 2WD drive, so set up a tent and enjoy easy access to the Park's swimming holes, walking tracks and picnic spots.