Berry Springs Nature Reserve
A little hidden treasure on the outskirts of Darwin is Berry Springs Nature Reserve.
Around 40 or so minutes drive south from the CBD along the Stuart Highway is Berry Springs Nature Reserve. Right up to the Berry Springs turn-off, It's a sealed road all the way, with dual carriage way and double lanes.
Follow the signs towards the Territory Wildlife Park, where it indicates to turn off the Stuart Highway on to Cox Peninsula Road. Berry Springs Nature Reserve is on the right hand side, before you get to the Wildlife Park.
What I used to do when my kids were little was to go early to the Wildlife Park and spend a few hours there. After the Wildlife Park, we'd stop at Berry Springs for a swim on the way back to Darwin. I'd pack an esky with drinks and sandwiches, along with our bathers, and towels. You can be back in Darwin mid afternoon in time for a nap before dinner.
Berry Springs is a very popular spot for the locals. It's not as widely advertised in the tourist brochures. Tourists tend to be more focused on the big national parks of Kakadu and Litchfield, leaving Berry Springs to the locals.
It's a quieter swimming spot with picnic tables and chairs spread out on the shady grassed area between the car park and the river. There's some public toilets, and a small kiosk. To be honest, in all the times I've been there, I've never seen the kiosk open, so don't count on it... make sure you pack your own snacks and drinks.
The water quality is monitored and from time to time it will be closed so check to see if it's open before heading out. It does close for a few weeks or months during the Wet Season as the water becomes very fast flowing and dangerous for swimmers during this time.
It's a small walk from the carpark to the swimming holes, and you'll pass through the public BBQ's and seating along the way. These are nicely spaced out but it's always good to bring your own chairs if you have them.
There are 3 pool areas - the top water fall, the Main pool and the Lower pool. You can swim from one pool to the next via the pandanus lined creek.
The waterfall area is access by a staircase. The main pool has 2 separate entry points, and the lower pool has one entry point, which is easily accessed.
You can stand in the Waterfall pool and the Lower Pool but the Main Pool is deep. Make sure you bring your pool noodle with you.
There's shaded areas around each of the entry points to the pools.
It's free entry to the Nature Reserve and there are recycling and general waste bins on site - so please use them. If the car park is full then the waterholes will be crowded. I last went on a weekday around lunchtime at the start of the Dry Season in 2021. The water was still warm, but I was surprised how many people were enjoying the pools at the time. It wasn't over crowded, just unexpected.
Berry Springs is also a great place for either breakfast, or a lazy late afternoon swim and sunbathe, but make sure you pack the insect spray if you plan on going at either end of the day.
Berry Springs Nature Reserve - Image Gallery
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