Litchfield National Park
Wangi Falls is for many the best and easiest waterfall to access and enjoy. Found on the western edge of the Tabletop Range only an 80 minute drive via the back road from Darwin.
Wangi Falls features:
- A modern café (for the essential latte)
- Wifi (for the internet addicts)
- Toilet block and change rooms
- FREE gas BBQ’s and picnic areas
- Hardened path to the waters edge
- Stairs and railings into the water
- A MASSIVE CLIFF FACE WITH TWIN WATERFALLS !!!!
- A HUGE SWIMMING (about 120 metres across) AND WALLOWING AREA
- A moderate hiking option which goes around and over the waterfall area in a loop track
- A pocket of monsoonal rain forest with abundant wildlife in the canopy
- Abundant wallabies and woodland bird species
- Clear water with varies species of fish as well as the occasional freshwater crocodile
Water Temperature at Wangi Falls
Like all of the swimming locations in Litchfield Park the water temperature at Wangi Falls is conducive to a long stay. At it’s coldest the rubber ducky (baby’s bath toy with temperature gauge which I borrowed a few times for scientific purposes from by baby) has only ever plummeted to around 23.5 degrees C !
Water Currents at Wangi Falls
The only issue you might face is after the rains start coming (Nov/Dec) and the water level rises. There is a small red disk found to the right of the main stairway leading into the swimming area. This is the marker that tells us if it is safe for swimming in terms of currents. If you can see the top edge … the pool should be open. When the red disk is submerged then the pool should be fenced of. It is the Park Rangers role to oversea this.
Flooding at Wangi Falls
Fortunately with small catchments and quick response times any flooding due to big storms is short lived. As such, unexpected prolonged vacation in the park are uncommon however check the BOM for weather forecasts in the wet season.
Keep in mind also that there are a few creeks which cross over the main road just near Wangi which do get water over them during a heavy storm. This is something to consider if you are on a time limit such as a Cruise Ship.
Crocodiles at Wangi Falls
There is also the small matter of the possibility of estuarine crocodiles visiting during the wet when water levels are high and the world turns into their playground.
Take notice of ALL warning signs 😊
For saltwater crocodile safety rangers undertake an extended, comprehensive monitoring program before opening up access to swimmers for the season. This involves things like night spotting, setting traps and indicators and looking for sign on banks of the presence of salties for the most part.
Historically, the typically harmless freshwater crocodile was a regular feature in the swim area, however due to increased human interference with these animals they now must be relocated to avoid adverse interactions. For those who do not realise it … patting a freshwater crocodile, hitting them with sticks, chasing them around the pool or posing for a photo close to them is NOT a great thing to do.
Scary factor aside … Wangi Falls is definitely a bucket list item, particularly after a serious rainfall event. Being in front of Wangi Falls in the wet season to watch the waterfall go berserk after a heavy storm or low pressure system is always a special time. For those that can’t or don’t make it in the ‘wet season’ (too bad) check out the evidence of the massive change in personality the area goes through as written in the scarring of trees on the creek bed and the debris line found up near the café itself !
Where does the name Wangi Falls come from ?
The falls have apparently had a few changes over the years dating back to the 1880’s however the most recent and current name has been in effect since around 1953.
Wangi is the name of a period in the seasonal calendar of the Nauiyu Nambiyu on the Daly River to the south of Litchfield and also the name of a local indigenous group (although the author has not verified the later).