There's no better way to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the Top End than by pitching a tent in a national park. Both Litchfield and Mary River national parks have wonderful campsites featuring scenic riverside locations, natural swimming holes and diverse fauna. Kick back with a beer and watch the sun set then marvel at the galaxy of stars above while sitting around a crackling campfire.
Litchfield National Park
Only 1.5 hours' drive from Darwin, Litchfield National Park has the best camping near the capital. It's a great spot for a weekend campout with the family or for those embarking on the Tabletop Track walk. Most sites such as Wangi Falls and Walker Creek feature waterfalls and natural swimming holes, which are a great way to escape the heat after a sweaty day of walking. All sites have toilets, firewood, fire pits and water. Need something more comfortable? Stop in at Litchfield Safari Camp or Litchfield Tourist Park. Both are located outside the park and make good bases to explore the region.
Mary River National Park
Choose from a range of secluded camping spots along the river and close to scenic lookouts. Shady Camp and Couzen's Lookout are a popular choice, and are a great place to check out the river, local billabongs and monsoon forests. Sites are fitted out with toilets and cooking facilities. From November to April road closures can occur due to high water levels – during these times camping is off limits.
Before heading off on a camping trip, there are a few basic safety rules to follow. Camp in the designated areas and avoid the water's edge. Also, pay attention to fire bans and be sure to use the pits provided for campfires and ensure they are extinguished when you leave.