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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Monday, 21 October 2019

Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory - half lap of Australia, Part 5

Hi everyone, this week we continue north from Katherine and Adelaide River which we visited on my last blog post about the Northern Territory leg of our 13,329 kilometre half lap of Australia.  

Our next stop was town of Batchelor and the Litchfield National Park in the top end of the Northern Territory.  It was only a relatively short drive from Katherine, 287 kilometres, and even with our stop at Adelaide River, we arrived around 1pm. 


The town of Batchelor is about 97 kilometres from Darwin and about 20 kilometres from the edge of the Litchfield National Park. We booked into the Litchfield Tourist Park which is located 14 kilometres from Batchelor and only about 4 kilometres from the entrance to the National Park. You can also camp at one of the bush camp sites in Litchfield, however these don't have power and only limited facilities.  We were more than happy to pay a little extra for power, shade, facilities and swimming pool. They also have a restaurant.




We were told we could "pick a spot" and were able to get a position with afternoon shade - always a bonus in hot weather. May to August is the dry season and the most popular time to visit the Northern Territory. Later on in the day the park started filling up. They also have an unpowered section under trees at the far side of the park, however no ablutions in this section.  We took advantage of their swimming pool a couple of times during our stay.

 After a late lunch we put on our bathers and headed out to the National Park for a swim. Litchfield is free to enter and has the advantage of crystal clear spring fed waterholes and waterfalls all year round, making it very popular with visitors and NT locals. It is usually crocodile free, though they did close Wangi Falls pool a week or so after our visit due to a freshwater-crocodile sighting. The signage says it all! So be aware this is the Northern Territory so crocs may be there!


We decided to go to the closest waterhole, Buley Rockhole, 30 kilometres from our caravan park. Here there is a cascading series of pools but watch out for slippery rocks, it can be difficult to get in and out. As luck would have it, it was a public holiday in the Northern Territory, and it seemed that half of Darwin was a Buley.  There were people everywhere, sitting in the pools, and on the rocks.



After a dip at Buley we went to nearby Florence Falls, which is accessed by a steep 135 steps down to the bottom pool. You can also walk, 1.6 km from Buely Rockhole to Florence Falls along the Florence Creek Walk.  Here are a couple of pics of the steps down and the creek along the walk in.

 Make sure you wear walking boots, as I recently talked to someone who slipped in their thongs (flip-flops) on the top step severely injuring his shoulder. We also saw a girl who had twisted her ankle. There are plenty of warning signs about slippery rocks, no jumping, flash floods, etc etc. You might feel silly wearing hiking boots to go for a swim, but it is not worth risking your holiday either with an injury.


There are steps down into the pool. Can you see the people swimming with "noodles" in this pic? Everyone seems to use them up here. As the water in these rockholes is fresh the noodles help you keep buoyant. Great for a relaxing float.
The water was cold but you soon became used to it after a few minutes. You can swim over to the waterfall. 



Next day we visited the Wangi Falls - 52km from the caravan park. This is a favourite waterhole for visitors. The swimming hole is only a short distance from the carpark. There is a grassed shady picnic area, ablution block, and a cafe where we bought an icecream (open 11am-2pm). There is a camping area nearby. 



There is a 1.6km return walk to the top of the falls and a shorter 800 metre shady easy walk through a monsoon forest to the treetop deck (some stairs). We chose the shorter option and due to the heat of the day, it was lovely to walk in the shade. In the bottom right hand photo you can see some black flying foxes - fruit bats - hanging in the trees.  And above that you can see the red fruit on the Carpentaria Palm - Carpentaria acuminata

In the afternoon we went to the Tolmer Falls viewing platform, the Tabletop swamp (which is a good place for birdwatching, though we didn't see much in the middle of the day when we were there) and the magnetic termite mounds. 

 I don't have a birding lens, so I've had to zoom in on this water bird... an egret or heron I think. There is a huge list of birds to be seen in Litchfield if you are a birder. Here is a link - Bird species information sheet



 The amazing two metre high flat termite mound colonies built by the Amitermes meridionalis termite (magnetic termites), have their thin edge perfectly aligned north-south like a compass needle. They are found nowhere else on earth and are estimated to be 100 years old.


Most of the roads in the Litchfield National Park are bitumen, but some places require 4WD only. The Lost City rock formations is one of these. 10.5km of rough gravel single lane track. Take it easy. You might have to engage 4WD in the sandy sections. There are pull-over bays if you meet a vehicle coming the other way. We took 40 minutes for the drive in.

The easy circuit walk around the Lost City takes around 20 minutes. But it is a hot exposed walk, so go early. Make sure you wear boots and a hat. The Lost City is a collection of interesting rock formations that have left behind as the softer sandstone cap of the table top range eroded away. The last couple of kilometres of the current road follow the old wagon road that joined the homestead of Stapleton Station near Adelaide River to the outstation at Blyth Homestead. 

 After our visit to the Lost City we had another swim and our picnic lunch at Wangi Falls. 

And of course there are always wildflowers....
below, clockwise, from top left hand corner....
 Turkey bush - Calytrix exstipulata (also known as Kimberley Heath and aboriginal bardi name Gidigid) , Turkey bush along the roadside; Kapok - Cochlospermum fraseri; Red flowering kurrajong - Brachychiton paradoxus; one of the native palms; not sure what the pale creamy flower is - looked like a wattle flower but with leaves like a Casuarina; fruit of the Screw Pine - Pandanas spiralis; Woollybutt - Eucalyptus miniata; and in the middle the Hoya Australis - which only grows natural in sandstone areas of the top end of Australia. 



I would really love to know what this is. I've looked it up, and am yet to identify it. It had a weeping habit, with wattle - acacia - type flowers with a casuarina - sheoak - type leaf.


Another look at the Screw pine .... We were first introduced to this plant which has a spiral trunk by friends north of Broome on our previous Kimberley trip. The red nuts can be eaten and the leaves are used for weaving bags, etc after the prickly edge of the leaves has been stripped off.



And the beautiful Fern Leaf Grevillea - Grevillea pteridifolia. Such a glorious splash of tree colour. 



If you see one of these don't touch it! It is the high-rise nest of the Green Tree Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina).  Masters of engineering, these aggressive tree ants will swarm over you if you brush by, biting you with a ferocious sting! To add to the pain, they squirt acid from their abdomen into the bite. Ouch! My husband was unfortunately stung by these ants on our very first trip to the Kimberley, and yes they do hurt! We also had a heap fall onto our camp on our last trip. Anyone watching would have seen the famed "green tree ant dance". 



We had 2 and a half days exploring Litchfield National Park, and didn't see everything we could have, but the next stage of our journey was beckoning.  Next week - Darwin - capital of the Northern Territory. 

If you are looking for a dump point for your caravan waste water, there is one in the town of Batchelor. 

More information:  
Litchfield National Park
Bluey travel - litchfield-national-park-northern-territory 
 Litchfield Tourist Park
 Tourism Top End - for a handy map
Top End Native Plant Society


Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the next leg of our Half Lap of Australia. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

20 comments:

  1. ...Jill, you are surrounded by beauty! Your part of the world is so much different than than mine and the sights are great to see. Thanks for taking me along on the tour, let's do it again.

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  2. Oh my, what lovely waterfalls. Thank you for sharing this leg of your journey. It’s been most enjoyable!!

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  3. Hello, Jill! I enjoy traveling virtually with you, this park looks amazing. I love the waterfalls and the beautiful flowers. I would not want to swim with the crocodiles. Wonderful post and photos. Enjoy your day, have a happy new week!

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  4. Jill - I can imagine why the swimming holes are so popular, given the heat. We also have a Florence Falls in Glacier National Park, but it does not have a swimming hole! I know some people find bats creepy, but I really like them. The magnetic termites are new to me - how fascinating! Florida has red ants that are similar to the green tree ants - I have done my own "red ant dance" having stepped on one of their nests! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

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  5. Looks like you had a lovely vacation. Have a great week.

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  6. Love the wildness of these landscape, Jill! You've captured it well. Love the waterfall and the different landscapes. My goodness, the flowers are such a treat. You are right, a swim in these areas are not worth it! Envious of how diverse your trip was, it seems like a life time! Many thanks for sharing your impressions with us at All Seasons! Hope you are adjusting to normal life, after this plethora of changes everyday! Have a beautiful week!

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    1. certainly worth a swim if you have had a long hot walk. They check for croc activity constantly and set traps and close the water ways if necessary.

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  7. Not sure I would want to swim anywhere crocodiles might linger. The termite mounds are very interesting to hear about and see. - Margy

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    1. the freshwater crocs might give you a nip if you stand on once, it is the salt water crocs you have to be careful of.

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  8. I'm never one to be first on the dance floor but I'm guessing the green tree ant dance might just do it. Good advice re shoes and walking to and from waterfalls, I'm always amazed what people do attempt with their flip flops on! Loved this post, thank you for giving me my Aussie fix Jill!
    Wren x

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    1. I know, I've seen it so many times people walking into gorges in their flip-flops because there is a swim at the end. You really wonder.

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  9. What gorgeous scenery! I love the termite mounds, they are so unique. Those pine nuts are so interesting, too.

    Your post on 'My Corner of the World' is much appreciated!

    My Corner of the World

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  10. I've learned something new today from you - magnetic termite mounds. Wow! How interesting. Love all your photos and traveling along with you

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  11. Wonderful scenery! Those pools and that waterfall look so inviting. The termite mound colonies are incredible. I have never seen anything like them before! #MCoW

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  12. Replies
    1. they were fabulous, and so refreshing to go for a swim.

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  13. Wow! These photos - and the things photographed - are amazing. The termite mounds sound incredible!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/10/toothless-carnivores.html

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  14. We visited Litchfield National Park around 12 years ago and were blown away by its beauty. The waterfalls and rockpools are wonderful and so refreshing for a swim after hiking around the park. We're hoping to spend some time up that way again. It was going to be this year but our granddaughter came along and that was more important. Maybe next year.

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.