We left Darwin around 9.00 and headed along the Stuart Highway until we reached the turnoff to Litchfield National Park. The first town along this road was Batchelor. This was quite a pretty and well set out little town. We did not stop to do any of the tourist sites there because we had a big day in front of us.
Our first stop was to see the Magnetic Termite mounds. So called because there is a large number of them all facing north/south. They looked like a small city. Next to this site were some large ‘cathedral’ mounds. These are built by and inhabited by grass eating termites.
We then visited the first of many picturesque water falls – Florence Falls.
There was a short walk of just over 1 km. to a viewing platform. The falls were lovely. We saw a young chap climb to the top and then jump back into the swimming area – we thought he probably not supposed to do this and we were right. Next time we saw him he was being escorted out of the area (with his friends) by a Ranger. At this viewing platform, there was a further walk which took in 135 steps down to the swimming area. Ian did this. He said the walk down was easier than the walk up.
Next stop was Tolmer Falls. There was short walk to a viewing platform. These falls are not accessible for swimming. They were truly lovely. There is supposed to be a lot of birdlife etc. but I guess the crowds keep them away. On the way into this platform we both saw a little wallaby, but it blended so well with the rocks and vegetation I was unable to get a photo. There are rock wallabies in that area so it may have been one of them. It was quite a long walk to the viewing area but worth it.
We then drove on to the Park we had chosen for the night – Wangi FallsPark – unfortunately not as close to the Falls as we had hoped but it is okay. There are lots of shady spots and it is quite spacious. There was also a caravan park at Wangi Falls, but not using that name!
After lunch we then drove to a place called ‘Cascades’. We had to do a 1.5km walk to see the first – ‘Small Cascade’. Part of this lovely flowing stream and cascade was open for swimming whereas the other portion was not because of the chance of crocodiles. It was a dirt/stony/rocky path and I stopped at the small cascade and Ian went further for a few hundred metres to a larger area for swimming. There were a few people around, but not many swimming.
Next stop was called Walker Creek. This is a very small water hole which is the most suitable for children. It was lovely – very cool, very clear and very quiet. There was no-one swimming there though. We chose not to take our bathers as we had so many other sights to visit.
Next stop was the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine – abandoned in the early 50’s. It was amazing. The ground all around was shining and we thought it looked like hundred and thousands of small pieces of alfoil when we realised it was tin. There was a good information board explaining how tin was mined and the reason for this mines closure. Some of the ruins of the machinery used were good to see. We really had no idea how tin was mined so it was very interesting. Right next to this mine there was a ‘control’ burn looking a little out of control, but there was a Park Ranger there with a water tank, hose and pump and he was dealing with the situation.
We then drove back, past our caravan park, and about 20kms further on took the dirt road (4WD only) to ‘The Lost City’. The track was dust, dirt and sand – all red. The reason for the need of a 4WD was not traction, but ground clearance – big bumps/holes/corrugations. The 10kms in took 30 minutes. The structures certainly were different. We were surprised just how many people were there considering the difficult road in.
We arrived back at our Van a little after 6.00pm. It was a really long day today, but we wanted to see as much of Litchfield as we could fit in. To be honest I thought it was not as good as Kakadu – less tourist information, poorer road signage, and the tracks and paths to each venue were quite rough. There is quite a difference in both parks of course – Kakadu was certainly a much wetter area,with large swamps, wetlands and rivers whereas Litchfield was more forests and flowing streams and that does make a difference. The roads in and out are just as good though. Again, we cannot fault the roads we have been on.
Love to all, Janese and Ian