Lower Cascades Walk

Litchfield National Park

DirectionsEntering Litchfield from the Batchelor end, drive along Litchfield Park Road all the way past Wangi Falls and the Litchfield Safari Park. The Cascades car park is well signed and there is a small area to park near the trail head, otherwise the edge of the access road can be used as overflow parking during peak times.   

The Hike - With a brief flythrough of Litchfield National Park on the agenda today as we travelled from Darwin to Katherine, the Cascades area was the second stop I had planned. Having missed out on visiting the northern day hikes of Litchfield on our previous visit in 2019, I had returned to experience the Walker Creek Walk and hopefully the Cascades Circuit. Time was against us and asking Caris to do the exposed Upper Cascades Walk in the heat of the day would be a bridge too far so in the end I decided that the Lower Cascades Walk would be the best option. 

Arriving at the car park, it was a little full so we parked on the edge of the access road before gathering our gear for the walk. Having a squizz at the information board, the Lower Cascades Walk seemed like the best option but the Upper and Lower walks can be combined into a big loop if you have the time/inclination. Setting off, the first highlight is a series of side trails leading to wooden platforms overlooking the nearby swampy area. We found the last one empty of people so wandered over and looked out over the grassy plain, towards where the Upper Cascades Walk is located. Looking out for birds, insects or something bigger, we weren't lucky on this visit so continued along the trail to where it separates into the Upper and Lower paths. Passing one of the two storey toilet blocks that is the style out here, I noticed a yellow butterfly on the edge of the trail but it didn't want to open its wings for me. Taking a left turn and heading towards the Lower Cascades, the start of the trail through savanna woodland isn't the most interesting part of the walk. 

 

Arriving at a metal bridge over Cascades Creek, the scenery through here greatly improved as you switch from the dry savanna woodlands to the monsoon forest lining the creek. Swimming downstream of the bridge is banned as part of croc safety and to be honest, it didn't look very appealing anyway. Leading up to the collection of stumps over a muddy section, the trail felt a little ramshackle but once you hit the sandy trail and follow the edge of the creek, the scenery changes to a more natural and pleasant looking affair. Looking upstream, there was a magical shot of the creek with some fallen palms making a criss-cross pattern, leaving a lovely reflection in the water. Walking along a sandy path on the edge of the creek, this is the start of some pretty hiking that leads all the way to Curtain Falls. The gentle waters of the creek combined with the increased number of palm trees and thicker vegetation creates a tropical looking scene that was a delight to photograph.