Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

11-Jun-2005
   
We packed up at Darwin and travelled about 120kms south to the Litchfield National Park to stop for a few nights at Wangi Falls. It's a nice 'Parks' bush camp complete with flushing loos and (cold) showers and the falls are just a short walk away and the pool at the bottom of the falls is a safe for swimming in. It's a bank holiday weekend in the Northern Territory so it's a bit busy; the campsite was full by late afternoon. On the way in we passed some enormous termite mounds. Some were quite tall but very thin and they were all aligned in the same direction. The so-called magnetic termites built them and the alignment was more to do with temperature control than magnetism though. The other mounds were quite different being tall structures up to 6mtrs high. Cathedral Termite Mound And it's all made of termite poo and spit and its thought to be about 50 years old - almost as old as the navigator who knows a whopper when she sees one! Termite Mound
Wangi Falls

On the way here we saw something we hadn't seen for at least a month. It took us by surprise at first but while driving on the highway out of Darwin, it went dark for a few moments - it was a cloud! It didn't last long and the temperature didn't drop much below 30deg until the sun set and then it stayed in the high 20's for most of the night.

Wangi Falls are on the edge of the Tabletop Range and the water flows from the swimming hole into the Reynolds River where it winds its way out to the Timor Sea. The water is crystal clear and not too cold to swim in.

Wangi Falls

We spent a day on a 4x4 track that led south towards the Daly River. It wasn't a bad track but there were a few creeks to cross. Now before crossing creeks you are supposed to walk them to check for holes.

Walking the creek before driving across.

Checking the creek before driving across
Using the depth guage We should be able to get through this OK! Up to the top of the wheel, no problem! Now don't you think that this should be the job of the navigator - especially as there are crocs in the area? As long as her hat doesn't float away we should be able to get through.

There were thousands of enormous termite mounds along the track. These are the ones made by the Magnetic Termites; all the mounds are aligned in the same direction.

Magnetic Termite mounds

Magnetic termite mounds
Tjaynera Falls

The first place we stopped at was Tjaynera Falls (otherwise knows as Sandy Creek Falls). This was a lovely 1.7km walk down a picturesque valley and we had the place to ourselves. The swimming hole had a nice sandy bottom and the water was just the right temperature.

Tjaynera Falls

Just as we got out, a goanna swam across in front of us. Swimming Goanna Swimming Goanna
Crossing the Reynolds River

We then headed further down the track to Surprise Creek Falls. There were several more creeks to cross including the Reynolds River. As there were crocs here the navigator refused to 'walk the crossing' to we had to take our chance.

Crossing the Reynolds River

We got across OK and about 15kms further on arrived at Surprise Creek Falls. It was quite a surprise because there were about 9 vehicles parked there and we had only seen one other vehicle on the track. The falls are a cascade of 3 deep crystal clear rock pools, just the place to cool off in the heat of the day.

Surprise Creek Falls

Surprise Creek Falls
The old Blythe Homestead

On the way back up the track we turned off to visit the Blythe Homestead. It was abandoned many years ago but is still in relatively good condition considering the weather and regular fires it has to put up with. This is typical of what the early settlers lived in.

The old Blythe Homestead

The following day we took another (very corrugated) 4x4 track to 'The Lost City'. This is an area on top of a hill where there are some amazing rock formations that look as if they are manmade. It was all caused by erosion over thousands of years.

The Lost City

The Lost City
All in all, we quite enjoyed Litchfield National Park. Everything is easily accessible and there is plenty to see even without a four-wheel drive. It got a bit busy at some of the swimming holes but the bank holiday weekend might have had something to do with that. If you are in Darwin and don't have time to visit both Kakadu and Litchfield then Litchfield is definitely your best choice.