Maguk Gorge (aka Barramundi Gorge) – Kakadu National Park
Maguk – owned by the Jawoyn people (Bolmo, Matjba, Wurrkbarbar).
Towering sandstone escarpments and pandanus aplenty transport you to a tropical wonderland at this Top End plunge pool. Throw your boots on for a 1km walk to get to the swim zone, but don’t rush! We suggest visiting Maguk Gorge later in the day when it’s a tad quieter.
You’ll get to wander through a paperbark forest, a versatile plant for local Aboriginal people who use it for bush tucker, medicine, and material. You may even be able to catch a rare sighting of the Rainbow Pitta bird, a species endemic to Northern Australia. After the stroll, your secluded paradise awaits, a delightful waterhole with strong island vibes and a running waterfall that flows year-round!
Florence Falls – Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is an important place for the Kungarakan, Mak Mak Marranunggu, Werat and Warrai people who have lived in the area for thousands of years.
A hot spot for Darwin locals, Florence Falls boasts two mesmerising waterfalls that feed a refreshingly cool plunge pool. Enjoy a decent 15 minute walk from the carpark, check out an unmissable photo viewpoint of the falls, then wander through monsoon rainforest before you reach the lush bottom swimming hole. Visually stunning, expect ochre stone cliffs topped with iridescent green trees and vines, stark white splashes of water from the running waterfalls and deep blue hues of the waterhole. We recommend rock lounging in the shade, flicking through the pages of decent book, then taking a once-in-a-lifetime swim out to Florence’s waterfalls.
Buley Rockhole – Litchfield National Park
Are you a rock lunger, a deep-sea diver or surface splasher? Open for most of the year, the cascading pools of Buley Rockhole have something for everyone. Seek your own private rock hole to cool off in, or spend a day exploring them all and taking in the surrounding bush. Buley Rockhole is an invigorating freshwater wonderland where gentle waterfalls feed crystal clear pool upon crystal clear pool. It’s also a nice spot for families, with a set of picnic benches located en-route to the pools and shady zones to keep the groms out of the sun!
Wangi Falls – Litchfield National Park
We visited Wangi Falls at magic hour, and magic it was! As other swimmers packed up for the day, we were left to soak in Wangi’s beauty with only a few others and the local Rainbow Bee Eaters (don’t be fooled these colourful birds are bossy folk). The zone came to life as golden hour turned up the colours of the plunge pool and its two waterfalls. A vivid reflection of the surrounding pandanus, stringybark gums and falls were cast across the pool. We made a swim dash to get a closer look and lucked out, spotting a miniature rainbow under the awe-inspiring fall’s splashes! Wangi Falls is a top spot for a day picnic, with grassy areas and shade from tall gums, it’s a Darwin day trip must-do.
Edith Falls – Nitmiluk National Park
Leilyn – Owned by the Jawoyn people, the name of surrounding area Nitmiluk means ‘Cicada Place’. Traditional Custodians, the Jawoyn people continue to hunt, gather bush tucker and practice traditional ceremonies in the Park.
Edith Falls is only a short 60km drive on the Stuart Highway from Katherine. Grab a coffee in town from the Black Russian Caravan (it’s a bucket list item for caffeine addicts) before heading out to Nitmiluk National Park for a day of waterhole exploring. Alive with ancient Jawoyn culture, there are plenty of waterhole options to discover around Edith Falls. Get a taste of the Jatbula Trail’s magic by scheduling in the 8.6km return full day walk to Sweetwater Pool. Hike to find an inviting large pool where you can cool off; you might even spot a freshwater turtle.
There’s also a short 2.6km return walk to the upper pool from Edith Falls carpark. The upper pool is set amongst raw sandstone cliffs, like something from a martian fairy-tale, where crystal-clear rockholes are fed by a picturesque waterfall (also a thrill to swim beneath!). Jump into the refreshing water or relax like a local goanna, your choice!
Otherwise, if you’re keen to just put the feet up and relax without the sweat eliciting activity, head to Edith bottom pool. Laze on a noodle as you watch water tumble high from the escarpment into the large plunge pool below! Absorb the woodland as you float, taking note of paperbark and pandanus that surround the pool. If you’re the type to forget your lunch or get hungry fast, don’t stress, there’s a true-blue Aussie café at Edith Falls carpark.