“You’ll have to jump from the rocks” the blonde surfy looking guy says to me, “it’s ten metres high”. Hmm, that’s a good reason not to, I think. He obviously hadn’t read the sign.
Whilst I’ve been known to flaunt a few rules in my time, usually in the name of adventure, common sense generally prevails. I’m happy to swim in calm waters rather than jumping off haphazard cliff ledges.
Maybe I’m just a chicken!
We’re in Litchfield National Park, our next stop from Darwin, just 1.5 hours away. It’s a spectacular part of the Northern Territory, a waterfall wonderland, and we’re keen to explore it, in our own sedate way.
As usual, we stayed longer than intended, five nights. Here are some of the highlights and the reasons we loved Litchfield.
It’s true, Litchfield is all about the jaw dropping waterfalls. They flow into crystal clear waters all year round and the two most popular ones, Wangi Falls and the double tiered Florence Falls are simply stunning.
It’s an easy walk to Wangi Falls for a refreshing swim with the added bonus of a cafe on site and lush picnic grounds. At Florence Falls 135 steps lead you down to the bottom of the waterfall where it was super busy. Granted it was nearly midday. I’m sure that if you camped there and got to the falls early it would be less crowded and more peaceful. Still, both waterfalls are beautiful.
Short and long Walks
There’s a smorgasbord of walks in the park from easy trails to long treks. We’ve usually got our bathers on underneath our shorts as most walks culminate in a swim at the end of it. Every day was so bloody hot!
Many waterfalls are easily accessible but as we discovered the longer you walk the more chance you have of enjoying it minus the crowds.
If you’re looking for a real bushwalking challenge, the epic 39km wilderness Tabletop Track takes the cake but I’ll leave that one for the hiking enthusiasts.
Batchelor Holiday Park was our tropical haven with our bush site complete with power and water. We’re surrounded by palm trees, abundant bird life and feel cocooned in an oasis. Close by is the pub, a general store and museum and the entrance to the National Park is not far away.
For those who prefer to stay within the National Park itself there are plenty of campgrounds, with the major ones at Wangi and Florence Falls. There’s a minimal fee with toilet and shower facilities but the best bit is the close proximity to the falls.
Given there’s no generators allowed in the National Park and every day was at least 37C we were content with our powered site at Batchelor and doing day-trips.
Did I mention Swimming?
Litchfield has some of the wildest swimming holes and I think we swam in most of them. Not just Wangi Falls and Florence Falls but the Cascades, the plunge pools of Blueys Waterhole, Surprise Creek Falls … so many.
My favourite was probably the lower cascades as there was hardly anyone there and the walk through the rainforest was a gentle one. We even saw a goanna on the way.
“We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great waterfalls, and galleries of art. And yet the world’s wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth.” – Albert Pike
Four Wheel Driving
Head to The Lost City for a look at some incredible rock formations that look like an ancient forgotten city. It’s classified as 4WD only though the track was pretty easy. In the wet season it’s closed.
Another great drive is the Reynolds Track, just before the Wangi Falls turnoff. It’s 44kms and along the way you’ll visit ruins, ford river crossings and traverse extraordinary Magnetic termite mound country before arriving at Surprise Creek Falls.
It was there we saw some pretty acrobatic somersaulting off the rocks and into the deep pools.
A Day of Rest
So, what do you do when you suddenly come down with a bug? First Doug got it, then I caught it, inevitable I guess when we’re in such close quarters. I think it was caught back in the thermal waters of Berry Springs.
Answer: we extend our stay for another day. I did the laundry then whacked on the air con in the van and we had a restful day. The hammock outside helped too. A bit of quiet time and rest is always good.
That night we got the news that Greater Darwin and Katherine had been placed into a three day snap lockdown. Had we left yesterday, as originally planned, we would have ended up at Safeway Katherine (an apparent hotspot) and been forced to quarantine for 14 days. Seems the Gods are smiling on us again and that me getting sick and needing an extra day to rest here had served a greater purpose.
Everything happens for a reason and the saying that “we’re exactly where we need to be” at any moment in time is so very true. The Universe has our back.
Going with the Flow
Since writing the above we’ve moved on from the Northern Territory. We’ve gone through numerous police check points and got transit permits before passing through Katherine and staying at Victoria River overnight. Yesterday, after a 4.5 hour wait to travel one kilometre and get through security at the border, we finally crossed into Western Australia.
We’re currently in self isolation/ quarantine in Wyndham, awaiting test results before being able to travel again. Our journey may have slowed, but it’s all an experience, an amazing adventure and I’m forever grateful.
Update: We got a call with our negative covid test results tonight which means we’re FREE and can resume our travels.
Look at this magnificent Boab tree, reputedly 2000 years old, right in front of our camp site, reminding us of the strength we all have.
See you next time as we continue our adventure and road trip around Australia.
Sending love and light.