WATERFALLS, ROCKPOOLS, WATERHOLES!
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Darwin to Litchfield National Park- Wangi Falls
MILEAGE: 21413 KMS
WEATHER: humid and 30 degrees at 11am
OVERNIGHT: Wangi Falls Camp ground $13.20 pn
We were a little later than intended leaving Darwin but we were finalising our Gecko 3 day canoe trip and following up on information for tours into the Bungle Bungles and Kimberley areas. Because this is peak season it is important to book the popular tours early and as we don't have 4 wheel drive we have planned to see a lot of northern WA on tours.
Litchfield National Park has been at the top of our must do list so we were quite excited as we drove in, making a brief stop at the Florence Falls Campground but deciding on going further to Wangi Falls and finding a camp spot early afternoon because Litchfield is very popular and the camp sites fill quickly. We found a good one and set up camp; pulled out the awning and put up our new shade cloth along the other side of the van which kept the inside a lot cooler and aided the fridge motor. It was hot and still but we decided to make coffee and food before venturing down to the falls and pool.
There were lovely green areas of grass which enhanced the ambience of the place and the short walk to the falls revealed a gorgeous oasis with a huge waterhole and high tumbling waterfalls. The ranger explained that the pool is not open for swimming yet because the water levels are too high creating strong currents and the crocodiles have not yet been excluded. We hung around enjoying the cool shade, watching the screeching bats hanging from the trees and admiring the many birds. It is a really special place and we returned to rest and prepare a bbq lamb dinner under the night sky and were pleased that the air had cooled to a pleasant temperature after a very hot day.
We took the 2 km walking trail up over the falls early the next morning. You actually cross the two rivers on a boardwalk that make up the falls and walk through cool green monsoon forest- just gorgeous.
Water, water everywhere in creeks, rivers, pools, falls and it is wonderful to experience after encountering so much drought and dried up creeks etc. in other parts of Australia.
We discovered a magnificent Great Bowerbird's bower near the camp ground and kept returning and marvelling at the busy bird's huge task. He builds his bower and fills it with all the treasures he can find- mostly silver, white and grey with a few green bits here and there; the females inspect it while he dances an elaborate dance, if she is impressed, they mate and she lays her eggs in a nest elsewhere.
Surely he has the hardest task of all birds- some of the treasures are quite heavy and awkward in shape! Wow!
We explored Tolmer Falls crashing down huge sandstone cliffs from a distance and early before the crowds arrived.
We camped overnight at Buley Rockhole and spent a lot of time dipping in the cascading rock pools; we gasped at the beauty of this place shaded by palms and trees and the rocks glistening brown in the morning light.
The pools were very busy from 11am until 5pm but virtually deserted after those hours. Litchfield NP is a day trip for Darwinites which explains the crowds. We enjoyed the Shady Creek Track which led us through the lovely Monsoon Forest Garden and Savannah Woodland to the Florence Falls plunge pool. Both gardens were so different one dry and sparse, the other lush and cool.
The plunge pool was busy with squeeling visitors who were enjoying the water on this hot day.
We decided to return to Buley, and hang out in the rock pools- our favourite was the top one because Sheila said that noone had touched that water. This was another special place- so cool and refreshing in this weather and of course there was no need for showers in the camp ground with such plentiful clean water flowing through the rock pools.
The Magnetic Termite Mounds are a major attraction at Litchfield and they are impressive! The ants construct them in a north-south configuration for temperature control and some reach 2 metres high. We thought that the masses of mounds resembled a cemetry with tall tombstones.
We called in at Batchelor, a lovely green town built in 1954 to service the uranium mine at Rum Jungle- now closed- and the town seems to mostly service tourists to the national park.
We really loved this watery place and can understand why some people prefer it to Kakadu. We are not visiting Kakadu because we spent some time there 20 years ago and because you can't go everywhere.