Located 2 km North of Darwin’s City Centre the 42 hectares of garden feature superb orchids, ferns, figs and a wide variety of palms. The lower entrance of the park situated on Gardens Road features a water fountain, floral displays, a playground, barbeque and toilets. While the higher entrance off Geranium Street has the display gardens, information centre and plant display house. The gardens have different landscapes including escarpment, rainforest, woodland, wetland, coastal plain and mangroves. Aboriginal garden walks are also available to offer an entirely different perspective on Top End plant communities. The gardens make a relaxing day out for the whole family or for the individual who appreciates the delicate features of the gardens.
Charles Darwin takes in part of the Port Darwin wetland, one of Australia's most significant wetlands. Port Darwin is large at 48 sq km and very diverse. The national park includes a system of inlets, islands and bays in which thirty six of the Northern Territory's fifty one mangrove species lye. The Park is situated on Frances Bay in Port Darwin and includes the western bank of Sadgroves Creek, Reichardt Creek and part of Bleesers Creek. The area was part of a network of military sites established during the development of Darwin as Australia's World War II defence line. The bunkers and shelters in the Park were used for storage between 1941 and the mid 1980's. The park includes a Lookout platform where there are wonderful views of the harbour and its wetlands. There are also walking tracks, barbecues, shade shelters, drinking water and toilets available.
Casuarina Coastal Reserve lies along the coast of Darwin's northern suburbs. The large coastal area extends from the mouth of Rapid Creek to Lee Point and is situated 15km north of Darwin’s CBD. The long white sandy beaches surrounded by Casuarina trees, and beautiful sandstone cliffs make the area unique, back from the beach and sand dunes are mangroves, monsoon vine thickets and paperbark forests and an abundance of wildlife. The Reserve also boasts World War II artillery observation posts, which provide a reminder of the area's wartime involvement. The Reserve can be entered via Rapid Creek Foot Bridge, Trower Road (Brinkin) or at the end of Lee Point Road. Barbecues, tables and plenty of shade surround the area and make the Reserve a popular picnic spot.
Out the back of Darwin's northern suburbs, Holmes Jungle protects one of the few remaining areas of monsoon forest in the Darwin region. Large numbers of wildlife inhabit the park and live in the monsoon forest, with the dense vegetation offering protection from the heat and predators. The Park covers 250 hectares and has a creek running through the centre. From the main picnic area there are panoramic views of the wetlands to the north, monsoon forest to the east and undulating ridges and savanna woodlands to the south. The lower picnic area provides easy access to Palm Creek. There is a walking track throughout the Park, the Jungle Walk winds along Palm Creek and through the monsoon forest. A further section of track connects the Jungle Walk with the main picnic area.
Berry Springs provides an attractive area close to Darwin for recreational activities, and also provides a refreshing swimming spot. The Park includes a large part of the Berry Creek catchment. Berry Creek starts from a number of springs, forms a small creek, then reaches Darwin Harbour through a mangrove lined estuary. Berry Springs has many shady pools for swimming and several areas along Berry Creek have steps for easy access. There are picnic areas, walking trails and wildlife in the Park and small native fish and other aquatic life that live in the area can be seen in the clear pools. There is a lovely loop walking track which takes you through two different Top End habitats, it starts from the picnic area and is good for bird watching. There is no swimming in the area, as esturine crocodiles inhabit these waters.
Howard Springs is located 37 km south of Darwin. The park is situated on 283 hectares of diverse habitats including monsoon forests, extensive swamps and riverine areas. Many wildlife habitats are also visable in the area. Howard Springs has lots of shady picnic areas with access to a beautiful spring-fed swimming pool, a monsoon forest also surrounds the Park. There are a couple of walking trails within the park, one of which will take you through dense rainforest to the springs which feed the main pool. There is also an array of wildlife on the lawns near the main pool and a variety of fish including Barramundi, can be seen from the weir wall.
Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve provides a haven for local wildlife amongst Outer Darwin. The Adelaide River catchment is one of several connected catchments which make up the Top End wetlands. These wetlands have international significance because of their beauty, natural systems and importance to Aboriginal people. The wetlands surrounded by rainforests and paperbark swamps, attract many water birds and bird watching early in the morning or at dusk is the main attraction of the Park. Fogg Dam has four separate walking trails each very different and unique. The Woodlands to Waterlily Walk leads you through forests that fringe the floodplains. A boardwalk then takes you onto the Dam. The Monsoon Rainforest Walk winds its way through a variety of habitats, including monsoon and paperbark forests, and then onto the floodplains. The Dam Wall Walk has shaded viewing platforms available along the way. And the Pandanus Lookout has wonderful views of the Dam, great for sunset or sunrise viewing. The Reserve is 52 km east of Darwin along the Arnhem Highway.
Manton Dam is a popular, safe, recreation area, it is a pleasant destination and is an easy day trip from Darwin. Picnic and barbecue facilities are situated amongst lawns and large shady trees, an area of the Dam is set aside for swimming, fishing is permitted in the Dam, power boats and water skiing is popular at the Dam and an Unrestricted Boating Zone is set aside for these activities. There is a separate zone for Low Speed Boating and Canoeing and Windsurfing are also catered for in the Low Speed Zone. All craft must carry required safety equipment.
The small town of Batchelor is the gateway to Litchfield National Park. Numerous permanent waterfalls cascade down an outstanding sandstone plateau called the Tabletop Range. There are many beautiful swimming spots, lookouts, walking trails, picnic and camping areas in the park. There are also a series of magnetic termite mounds to be found in the area. Litchfield National Park is situated 100 kilometres south - west of Darwin. The National Park has four main waterfalls which run along the edge of the Tabletop Range and its surrounding rainforests. The four falls are Florence Falls, Tolmer Falls, Wangi Falls and Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek). Wangi Falls are the most popular as there is a constant water flow all year round and good swimming in the area. Buley Rockhole is also a popular swimming spot. Swimming and camping is permitted at all falls except for Tolmer. The best time to see the falls and get around the park easily is in the dry season from May to October.
Leliyn is a picturesque waterhole and is a favoured stopping point for visitors travelling north from Katherine, south from Darwin or west from Jabiru / Kakadu. Edith Falls are accessed most easily by driving 40 kilometres north from Katherine and then following the sealed access road for 20 kilometres. Park Facilities at Leliyn (Edith Falls) include a fully serviced campground with toilet and shower facilities, unpowered sites only and a picnic ground with gas barbecues and tables.
Douglas Hot Springs are situated on the Douglas River, where thermal pools create an oasis in the surrounding dry woodland. The waters attract a wide variety of birdlife and mammals. Swimming and relaxing in the warm waters where the Hot Springs join the Douglas River is very popular. There are walking trails which follow the creek bank around to the hot springs fence line or along the Douglas River where you can enjoy the riverine wildlife. The park has a large camping area with pit toilets, barbecues, firewood, picnic tables and water.
Umbrawarra is a beautiful isolated gorge with steep red cliffs. At certain times of the year there is a creek running through the Gorge. A walking track winds along the creek to a large pool with a small sandy beach. The rest of the gorge can only be reached by wading, swimming and / or rock hopping. On the Gorge walls some Aboriginal art can be seen and a short distance from the gorge entrance is a small campground with a pit-toilet. The rocky outcrops, pools and small sandy beaches provide beautiful swimming spots, there is also an easy 1 km walk which leads in to the gorge and there are magnificent views of the surrounding area from the cliff tops of the Gorge.
South East of Darwin, Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage listed area for both its significant natural and cultural importance. Kakadu is a cultural landscape that covers almost 20,000 square kilometres. The park is really diverse and contains several species of birds, reptiles, frogs and insects. More than a third of the Top End's plant life also inhabit the area. Kakadu’s pristine landscape incorporates vast flood plains, large billabongs, dense woodlands, lush wetlands, rivers, rocky escarpments and plummeting waterfalls. Kakadu is also rich in ancient Aboriginal rock art.
The 292,008 hectare National Park is located 30km north
east from the town of Katherine. The park features include spectacular
dissected sandstone country, broad valleys and numerous, significant cultural
sites. The Gorge has been carved through the ancient sandstone of the
Arnhem Land plateau by the Katherine River and is the main attraction
within the Park. Katherine Gorge is one of the Top End’s major National
Parks and is a very popular tourist attraction. A variety of boat cruises
and scenic flights allow you to experience the wonders of the magnificent
gorge system. There are also numerous walking trails throughout the park
which offer different experiences in the rugged surrounds. There are also
canoes available for hire, a picnic area with gas barbecues, tables and
toilets, a fully serviced campground with powered sites and the Nitmiluk
Centre which has, interpretive displays, a cafeteria, souvenir shop and
tour booking desk.
Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is 30 Kilometres South of Katherine and covers 1499 hectares of limestone (Karst) landscape. Spectacular features such as Karst formations and complex cave networks are an attraction of the park. In the park you can join guided tours of the cave system, walk the surrounds or view the wildlife. The 'Tropical woodland' walk begins near the carpark and enables visitors to experience the open tropical woodland at first hand. There is a small kiosk in the park which sells tour tickets, refreshments and souvenirs. Toilets and covered seating is also provided in the park. The cave environment is home to a variety of wildlife that inhabit the area. The harmless brown tree snake, cave-dwelling bats, ghost bats, the orange horseshoe-bat, shrimp and birds including the Hooded parrot and the endangered Gouldian finch can all be seen. The park is dominated by open woodland however at the entrance to the cave systems and covering some areas of limestone are unique clusters of tropical rainforest / vine thicket. These scattered thickets are the remains of rainforests which once covered the northern parts of Australia. The most striking feature of this habitat is the native fig, the caves provide an easy passageway for the figs long roots to reach the water table.
The scenic Roper River begins its life within the boundaries of the 13840 hectare Elsey National Park. Numerous springs within the park feed the Roper River, which flows gently through large waterholes and then tumbles over rocks and tufa dams. A major attraction to visitors is the Rainbow Spring and Thermal Pool sectors of the park. The spring water rises from underground at 30.5 million litres per day and is kept at a constant temperature of 34°c it is then contained in a relaxing swimming pool surrounded by a paperbark and palm forest. An established campground, suitable for tents and caravans is located in the park. The campground offers grassed areas, hot water and ablution facilities. The springs of the park provide excellent opportunities for swimming and facilities are provided at Bitter Springs and the Thermal Pool, swimming is also possible at various areas along the Roper River. A 1.5 kilometre Botanical walk is located in the park, there is also a 4 kilometre (one way) walk to Mataranka Falls. The park also includes a number of short riverside walks and a short loop walk is available at Bitter Springs. Picnic areas complete with tables, wood, barbecues and toilet facilities are provided at locations throughout the park.
Keep River is located 468 kilometres west of Katherine and runs alongside the NT / WA border. The National Park is noted for its striking landforms and provides excellent opportunities for bushwalking, photography and the chance to learn about geological events that have shaped the surrounding landscape. In the rocks and landforms of the region you can view past evidence of volcanic activity, massive marine deposits and glaciation. From several of the parks camping areas, visitors can explore the rugged and dissected terrain of sandstone formations and view the wildlife that inhabit the area. The park also contains many Aboriginal Art Sites which make interesting viewing and there are a number of long or short walks throughout the park. Two camping areas have been provided within the park: Gurrandalng, located 15 km from the park entrance and Jarrnarm, located 28km from the park entrance. Camping facilities include tables, barbecues and pit toilets.