Batchelor is best known as the gateway to magnificent Litchfield National Park. Situated 98 kilometres south of Darwin, just off the Stuart Highway (Explorer’s Way) and with a population of 358, Batchelor is an excellent base from which to explore Litchfield. Tourism became Batchelor’s key industry when Litchfield was declared a national park in 1986. The modern town is also home to a unique TAFE catering specifically to Aboriginal students. While in Batchelor, drop into the Coomalie Cultural Centre and peruse its presentation of indigenous arts and crafts from the Top End and Central Australia.
The Batchelor Butterfly and Bird Farm is also well worth a visit. As well as showcasing a unique range of butterflies and birds in pleasant waterfall garden, the farm offers budget accommodation and has a licensed restaurant on site. Accommodation is also available at the Batchelor Caravillage and Banyan Caravan Park.
The town was named after the South Australian Labour politician Egerton Lee Batchelor (1865-1911) who became Minister for the Northern Territory in 1911. Batchelor grew slowly, with brief spurts of mining activity until World War II when it was turned into an Allied air force. In the 1950s a prospector named Jack White discovered uranium deposits at nearby Rum Jungle. Legend has it that Rum Jungle earned its name after a rather raucous incident in 1871. A bullock-wagon load of rum became bogged near jungle in the East Finniss River prompting the fearless bullockies to settle in for one of the most notorious binges in Northern Territory history.
Tabletop for waterfalls
Litchfield National Park, 100 kilometres south of Darwin, is an accessible and spectacular expanse that attracts families at weekends. Some 30 times smaller than the more famous Kakadu National Park to the east, Litchfield packs plenty into its 650 square kilometres.
The park encompasses most of the Tabletop Range, a sandstone plateau from which four waterfalls tumble into the lowlands. Each fall irrigates its own surrounding patch of rainforest, with scenically delightful effect. Wangi Falls, flowing year round, is Litchfield’s most popular. The waterfall empties into a large swimming hole (Litchfield is free of crocodiles) with a picnic area and kiosk located nearby and a three-kilometre walking trail through rainforest to the top of the falls.
Don’t miss the local “magnetic” termite mounds: thousands of red-earth termite colonies up to two metres high, their thin edges pointing north-south while their broad sides align east-west. The termites don’t use a compass, but their temperature-control plan ensures only the smallest area is exposed to the sun.
Other local attractions include Florence Falls, a spectacular double waterfall cascading into a crystal-clear pool where you can swim, and the Lost City, a natural sandstone complex evoking the ruins of a long-forgotten civilisation. You’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach Lost City. Buley Rockhole, Tjederba Falls and Batchelor Butterfly Farm at nearby Batchelor township are other pleasant local spots.
Activites and Experiences at Batchelor
- Off Road Driving
- Automatic Teller Machine
- Licensed Club
- Coach Stop
- Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale
- Public Bar
- National Park
- Post Office
- Public Telephone
- Takeaway Food
- Flora and Fauna
- National Park
- Nature based
Accommodation In Batchelor
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Tours In Batchelor
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