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If you love “chasing waterfalls” then Darwin, Australia is the perfect place to do so! Here are 7 amazing Darwin waterfalls including some important information for visiting them!
One of the best things about the city of Darwin is its close proximity to amazing national parks and waterfalls! In the dry season, waterfalls make some of the best places to spend an afternoon as you can actually swim in most of them!
But, where are the best waterfalls in Darwin? Well, after years of living in the top end, I found 7 I absolutely love. These waterfalls are not only great to swim in, but also breathtaking to see and enjoy.
These are the most impressive Darwin waterfalls that you should definitely go check out:
7 Amazing Waterfalls near Darwin, Australia
1. Wangi Falls
- Distance from Darwin: 132 km (82 mi), approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes driving.
- Is camping available? Yes, only across the road from the parking lot there is a full-facility campground run by Litchfield National Park.
- Swimming allowed? Only when signed. Closed for swimming during the wet season.
Wangi Falls is located in Litchfield National Park which is one of the most famous landmarks in Australia. It is actually the biggest waterfall in Litchfield National Park with a huge area for swimming at the bottom.
Unfortunately, Wangi Falls is closed for swimming during the wet season, but it is still open for viewing and there is a hike to the top with some great views.
My favorite part about Wangi Falls is the small little natural pool formed from the waterfall. About 1/3 of the way up the waterfall’s cliff, there is a small natural pool. This tiny pool is perfect for relaxing with a beer in hand. Be careful getting there though, the rocks are slippery!
It is pretty easy to get from Darwin to Litchfield National Park. You can either drive yourself (get a rental car if you need one) or you can book yourself a guided full-day tour from Darwin that stops at Wangi Falls along with a few other spots in the area. A delicious lunch buffet is included!
Related Read: Can’t afford to travel? Think about going on a working holiday!
2. Florence Falls
- Distance from Darwin: 144 km (89 mi), 1 hour and 45 minutes driving
- Is camping available? Yes. It is near the parking lot, up the stairs from Florence Falls. Operated by Litchfield National Park
- Swimming allowed? Yes, all year round (except for odd times during the wet season where there is severe flooding).
Florence Falls is actually two waterfalls with a swimming area and river at the bottom.
There is a beautiful nature walk you must do in order to reach the falls with the opportunity to spot some wildlife. If you don’t see any wildlife on the walk don’t worry, you’ll be guaranteed to be swimming with the fish while taking a dip in Florence Falls!
Florence Falls are only accessible by several stairs so be prepared for the climb!
Florence Falls is my favorite out of all of the waterfalls near Darwin to camp at during the summer! Florence Falls are generally less busy than Wangi and have great camping facilities with little fire pits and hot plates for cooking at each campsite.
If you’ve rented a car or have your own you can easily drive to Florence Falls! If not, an organized day tour to Litchfield National Park is your other option! This specific tour also stops at the Buley Rockhole and gives you the option to add on a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River.
3. Buley Rockhole Pools
- Distance from Darwin: 142 km (88 mi),1 hour and 45 minutes driving.
- Is camping available? Yes. A new facility has been built and is managed by Litchfield National Park
- Swimming allowed? Buley Rockhold Pools are open all year round except in extreme circumstances where there has been an unusual amount of rain.
Buley Rockhole Pools aren’t actually big waterfalls, but several small ones creating some multi-level swimming pools.
While Buley Rockhole Pools aren’t the most impressive to look at, they are definitely the most fun to swim in! The many different pools, natural waterfalls, and small cliffs to jump from will keep you busy all afternoon!
If cliff jumping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of clam shallow pools too. You are actually allowed to drink here too so brink your esky of beer (cans only, no bottles allowed) and relax in a natural jet pool!
4. Edith Falls
- Distance from Darwin: 293 km (182 mi), 3 hours and 10 minutes driving
- Is camping available? Yes! There is a huge grassy campground at the base of Edith Falls
- Swimming allowed? In some areas. Look for signs to ensure swimming is recommended in any one particular pool.
Edith Falls is actually closer to Katherine rather than Darwin but it’s well worth the drive! Edith Falls is unique because there are a few different waterfalls all in a row with different pools to swim in.
Edith Falls is just outside of the town of Katherine and quite close to the Katherine Gorge making it the perfect place to check out during any road trip to Katherine from Darwin!
It is a bit of a hike to get to the top swimming pool but it totally worth it for the refreshing swim and the view from the top!
You can drive yourself and spend a night at the campground or in Katherine town. Or if you’re looking for convenience, take this day tour to Katherine from Darwin that will bring you to Edith Falls and also includes a 2-hour cruise through Katherine Gorge where you’ll spot crocodiles sunning themselves. There are several pick-up locations you can choose from the drop-down menu.
5. Jim Jim Falls
- Distance from Darwin: 348 km (216 mi) in Kakadu National Park, 5 hours and 30 minutes driving
- Is camping available? The closest campground is called Garnamarr Campground and it is located on the Jim Jim Falls access road.
- Swimming allowed? Only in the main plunge pool. Don’t venture elsewhere in the area and go for a swim or you may become a crocodile’s lunch!
In terms of huge waterfalls, it doesn’t get much better than Jim Jim Falls. This amazingly tall waterfall hangs in a circular cave-like setting only accessible by a long and challenging walk.
You must hike along a trail, over boulders and rocks, and then (depending on the water levels) wade through a pool before you will get to see this majestic waterfall.
The huge pool at the bottom is guaranteed to make you feel small and a little hesitant about swimming. But, go for it anyway! And if you dare, swim out to the far side of the pool and hang out on the rock edges nearest the waterfall.
Note: Jim Jim Falls is only open in the dry season by 4wd only. Check out Parks Australia or go to the visitor center in Kakadu National Park for the latest road conditions. If you don’t have a 4wd then you should consider booking one of the 4wd Kakadu tours from Darwin.
To get to Kakadu National Park you can rent a 4wd (or take your own if you have one) and take a couple of days exploring Kakadu! Alternatively, if you book this 4WD Small-Group Litchfield and Kakadu Camping Adventure it visits Jim Jim Falls on day 2. Two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners are included.
6. Gunlom Falls
- Distance from Darwin: 330km (4 hours and 45 minutes driving) in Kakadu National Park.
- Is camping available? There is a campground at the base of the falls, only a few meters from the bottom plunge pool.
- Swimming allowed? Yes, both in the bottom plunge pool and at the top of the falls in the natural infinity pool!
I love Gunlom Falls because of how much there is to do there! At the base of the waterfall, you can swim in a peaceful pool from a sandy beach that is easily accessible.
If you are a hiker, then you can hike to the top of the falls for an incredible view! And, if you need to cool off after that hike then the natural infinity pool at the top is the perfect reward.
I recommend spending a night or two in the campground at the base of Gunlom Falls to really enjoy what the area had to offer.
Like most places in Kakadu National Park, Gunlom Falls are only open in the dry season.
You can join this 1-day 4wd drive tour that visits Gunlom Falls if you don’t want to drive yourself. You’ll also get to visit Ikoymarrwa Rock Pools and enjoy lunch at a private swimming hole. Although only 1-day, the tor departs from the Kakadu Visitor Center, so this is perfect for anybody staying in Jabiru that doesn’t have a 4wd to access places like Gunlom Falls. Note, be sure to check with the tour operator that they will Gunlom Falls on your desired date, sometimes weather can impact the itinerary.
7. Maguk (Barramundi Gorge)
- Distance from Darwin: 357km (4 hours driving) in Kakadu National Park.
- Is camping available? Yes, at Maguk Campground. Accessible by 4wd only.
- Swimming allowed? Yes, during the dry season only when it is open. Be careful exploring the rivers and pools at the top of the gorge, because of currents and hidden rocks it is recommended only to do so with a guide.
And last, but certainly not least, is Barramundi Gorge! This place is truly a treat, but to be honest, it is best explored with a guide or someone who is very familiar with the area. Why? Because there is so much to explore that you will never find safely on your own! This 3 day Kakadu camping, safari, and 4×4 tour will cover all the best areas including Maguk Gorge.
However, you can drive yourself and explore Kakadu over a couple of days. Only attempt to visit the Maguk Campground if you have a 4WD.
When we were there, our guide first took us hiking up to the top of the gorge. Besides beautiful views, we were greeted with natural small swimming pools that were ideal for relaxing.
Our guide then showed us around the top of the gorge and had us jumping off cliffs, swimming through tunnels, and swimming in between rocks. It was quite an adventure activity and we loved every minute!
If climbing and swimming aren’t your things, then the bottom pool at Barramundi Gorge is just as beautiful! Here, you can go for a refreshing swim in the calm waters at the base of the waterfall.
Related Read: See crocodiles up close on the Adelaide River Jumping Crocs in Dawin Tour.
Where to Stay in Darwin
If you’re visiting Darwin to explore all of the best things to do, then you’re going to need somewhere to stay. There are tons of amazing places to stay in Darwin. In fact, there are so many that you might have a hard time choosing!
For that reason, I’ve hand-selected the best hostel, hotels, and Airbnbs for you in Darwin. These choices are based on my own personal experience and the experiences of friends and family who always came to visit us in Darwin!
Best Hostel – Youth Shack
This backpackers hostel is located right on Mitchell Street in the most central location. They have dorm beds, budget private rooms, and all rooms have air conditioning. Their rooftop pool and bar is always busy ad the perfect place to party and meet other travelers. You can book the Youth Shack on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Best Budget Hotel – The Cavenagh
This centrally located hotel is super cheap but also comfortable with a pool and clean rooms. They have standard double rooms but also have a few dorms available. The onsite restaurant is a favorite among Darwin locals for its delicious steak and cold beer!
Best Moderately Priced Hotel – Travelodge Resort Darwin
I love the Travelodge Resort Darwin for its amazing outdoor area complete with tropical gardens and multiple pools. Located a short walk from Mitchell Street, this hotel is in a quiet area but still central. Their rooms are great value and are perfect for couples or families.
Best Luxury Stay – Mindil Beach Casino and Resort
It doesn’t get more luxurious in Darwin than the Mindil Beach Resort. Located right on Mindil Beach, this hotel is known for its oceanfront pools, tons of delicious onsite bars and restaurants, and just pure luxury! If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Darwin – then this is it!
Best Holiday Home/Airbnb – Darwin Buena Vista Executive Apartment
This holiday home is located right near the Darwin Waterfront and includes everything you’d expect from a fully self-constrained apartment. Fitted with a full kitchen, laundry, and onsite pool it has everything. The apartment has a queens bed and a single bed and therefore sleeps up to 3 people.
Thanks for reading!
All of the waterfalls near Darwin are unique in their own way. If you love nature, swimming, and adventure then checking out all of these waterfalls near Darwin should be on your list of things to do!
Which is your favorite out of all of the waterfalls near Darwin? Tell us in the comments!