Love Litchfield National Park, but keen to check out a new spot? Central Valley is Litchfield’s newest campsite and the perfect distance from Darwin to enjoy a weekend getaway.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Highlights

  • Adventure into the campground on the 4WD track
  • Explore the Central Valley creek system, including numerous plunge pools to cool off in
  • Spend time spotting an abundance of wildlife, such as birds, lizards, snakes and wallabies
  • Enjoy brand new facilities

One of the major attractions of Litchfield National Park is the fact that it’s a short 1.5-2 hour drive from Darwin. Such an attraction, however, means that come the weekend, you’re often competing with locals for a campsite at the popular spots such as Florence and Wangi Falls. 

The beauty of Litchfield’s newest spot is that it has a booking system, so when you take off from Darwin on a Saturday morning, you’re guaranteed a space to pitch your tent. Just make sure you get in quick, and have picked up the keys from NT Parks and Wildlife beforehand!

Read more: Explore More NT Adventures

A 4WD Adventure to Central Valley

Getting into the Central Valley is an adventure within itself. After turning off from Litchfield Park Road at the Lost City turn-off, there’s a well-graded dirt track that takes you through two locked gates (which you’ll have keys for from NT Parks). It’s after this second gate that things start to get a bit tricky on the 4WD front. 

 

Journeying to Litchfield National Park’s Newest Campground: Central Valley, Jo Guthridge - Central Valley Campground, NT, camping, 4WD

 

The track suddenly changes to a loose, rocky, narrow path, with undulating terrain and low-lying areas that are likely to be submerged during the wet season rains. The last section in particular requires extra care, so take it slow! After this, the track opens up to a well maintained campground, with ten sites to choose from; several of them on the edge of the creek. 

 

Pitching the Tent

Because we arrived late in the afternoon, we had a site away from the creek-front which backed onto the escarpment we’d just traversed. It overlooked a monsoon vine forest, with a trickling creek that’d be perfect for a swim early in the dry season. 

 

 

Despite the sun beginning to set on the escarpment, we managed to get in a quick dip before dinner in one of the plunge pools of the main creek. We finished our night drifting off to the pitter patter of light rain rain on our fly. 

 

Journeying to Litchfield National Park’s Newest Campground: Central Valley, Jo Guthridge - Central Valley Campground, NT, camping

Exploring the Creek System

It gets hot fast in the Top End. By mid-morning, temperatures are already well into the 30s, so make sure you get exploring early. 

You have two options for exploration; swimming and scrambling straight down the main creek and dodging orb spiders in their webs, or crossing the creek at the campground to a track on the other side. 

The rocky 2km trail takes you past a variety of vegetation such as sand palms, pandanus, and iron wood. You can duck into swimming spots along the creek, which vary from shallow rapids with small waterfalls, to wide open pools up to a metre deep. 

Towards the end of the track, scramble down to a lovely spot to cool off that overlooks the creek as it opens up to a wider, more croccy section. The track finishes with Neva, one of the two conveniently located pit toilets, before you return to the campground via the same track.

Read more: How To Stay Safe in Croc Country

 

Essential Gear

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

How To Get There

From Darwin, head south down the Stuart Highway towards Litchfield National Park via Berry Springs or Batchelor (similar distances). Turn at the Lost City turn-off, and travel along this unsealed road to the T-junction sign for the Lost City and Central Valley. Take the left towards Central Valley, and pass through two locked gates. After the second locked gate, take the 4WD track down to the campsite.

 

Skill Level

Intermediate

You must have a level of competency in 4WDing to handle the terrain getting into the campsite, but once you’re there, choose your level of adventure according to your experience.

Distance Covered

2km on the walking track along the creek