Chasing waterfalls occupies a priority spot on the itineraries of many travellers who visit the Northern Territory. However, although Alice Springs and the surrounding area are home to an abundance of stunning gorges and magnificent waterholes, waterfall chasing requires you to venture a little further afield on a thrilling multi-day road trip. Set your compass to north to discover a plethora of cascading falls bursting with life from the desert. Take a trip from Alice Springs to one of the below national parks, or extend your stay and visit all three.
The first destination is Nitmiluk National Park, which is around a 14-hour drive from Alice Springs, so we recommend allowing at least two days to complete the drive. When you are approximately a third of the way there, you will reach Tennant Creek, one of the Northern Territories main townships and the site of Australia’s last gold rush, making it an ideal place to stop for a night. Daly Waters, located around two thirds of the way along your route boasts the oldest pub in the territory, where you can stay the night in a cabin or campsite.
From there, it’s a four-hour drive to Nitmiluk National Park, home to the cool, refreshing waters of Edith Falls. Choose either the top or bottom pool to take a dip, relax, and float to the tune of the rushing water. This is also an ideal spot for camping. Whilst Nitmiluk National Park is home to several breathtaking waterfalls, there’s a lot of walking involved to reach them. The striking, narrow falls of Lily Ponds can be reached on a picturesque 19.8KM return walk, whilst the sensational Crystal Falls and 17 Mile Falls lie on the iconic 62KM Jatbula Trail. It may take several days to get there, but these idyllic falls are worth the hike.
For those of us who don’t have the time or the fitness levels for the trek, it’s time to move on to the next sensational location: Litchfield National Park. Prepare to have your breath taken away by the spectacular display of outstanding natural beauty that is Florence Falls. Venture to the viewing platform for impressive views of the double waterfall spilling down the towering rock walls into the clear, inviting waters of the plunge pool below. If you have 4-wheel drive you can move on to one of Litchfield’s best kept secrets: the more serene Tjaynera Falls. Enjoy gorgeous views of the descending falls and their delightful surroundings, and stay the night at the campsite.
Just a two-hour drive from Litchfield is the world-heritage listed Kakadu National Park, which is heaven for waterfall lovers. One of the better known waterfalls here is Jim Jim, which is nestled in a deep gorge. These dramatic falls, which can only be accessed with 4-wheel drive, drop a massive 200 metres down to the dazzling plunge pool below. Don’t head back before visiting beautiful Gunlom Falls, home to a pristine natural infinity pool hidden at the top of the falls.