Litchfield National Park

Magnetic termite mounds like a cemetery
(Click on the image above to see images of the Litchfield National Park)

Had the great pleasure to of enjoying a day tour with Offroad Dreaming to Litchfield National Park. Of course we could of done much of the Litchfield National Park ourselves except we would have to find something to do with our dog. Going on a tour makes it all that much easier. The company had been recommended by our daughter, a Darwin local, so she would know who was good and who was mediocre.  We certainly weren't disappointed with the quality of the tour.

 We were picked up locally in Palmerston and Offroad Dreaming went out of their way to find a pickup spot that had access to free all day parking for us. This was the first indicator of a company that provided excellent service.  It was surprising to find that our tour guide was an American, which at first appeared quite incongruous.  After thinking about it I realised the tour operator could just as well have come from Hobart and therefore not been a local and we wouldn't of known because of the Aussie accent. Adam's of course gave him away immediately as American.  That said, he knew his stuff as he consistently demonstrated throughout the day. Like many tourists who have fallen in love with Australia, he knew more about the country than a lot of locals would.

Litchfield National Park is well within reach for a day tour from Darwin. The first stop for a bit of a break and some coffee is at Batchelor, about 100km from Darwin and just outside the park boundary. From there it was off to Wangi (pronounced Wongee) Falls which is about a 70km drive. On the way we stopped to have a look at the huge termite mounds in the park. Adam explained the differences between the cathedral mounds, the really large and grand structures, and the magnetic mounds (click for Wikipedia link) for the benefit of those who hadn't seen these before. I must say that I don't think I have seen so many large mounds in one place before.

Wangi Falls was a great place to start swimming for the day. It is the best known and most popular site for visitors to Litchfield Park but we were there by 11am or so and it wasn't too crowded. The falls themselves cascade down from a great height into a magnificent and crystal clear swimming hole below.  You will get an better idea from the photos. The road in is all sealed and there are lovely picnic areas available which is where we had our lunch after a dip in the pool.

After a fantastic lunch, we headed back along the track to Florence Falls, another well known attraction in Litchfield. There is a great walk you can do down to the falls of about 1km through magnificent monsoonal rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birds that inhabit the region.  Not as high as Wangi Falls, but just as spectacular in their own way, the falls pour over the rock escarpment into a huge plunge pool of crystal clear water at the bottom. The swimmers are gathering in numbers by this time of day and things were getting a bit crowded. A bit like visiting the local baths which did detract from the place.  However, I guess that you are going to have hordes of people at tourist attractions in the peak season.

Once again Adam had the job of making sure everyone was back on the bus to keep to schedule. Apart from having immense knowledge of the area, Adam also proved that he was very good at herding cats as that is what it must be like making sure everyone is on the bus to keep schedules.

From Florence Falls, we headed the very short distance up the road to the Buley Rock Holes. Another different lot of scenery where instead of waterfalls there were a series of rockholes that cascaded one into the other. This created several lovely clear and deep pools where you could swim. The one we chose at the bottom was so deep you couldn't touch the bottom in much of the water. You could see it though.  It had gotten to that time of the day where a dip was almost compulsory in order to cool down, so the swim in the Buley Rockholes was very refreshing.

From the Buley Rockholes we headed back towards Darwin to take a cruise on the Adelaide River with a crocodile expert.  I think this post is already long enough, so I will do another on our cruise as there is much to tell and some great pictures to see as well.

I would hightly recommend this tour if you are in Darwin, so call Offroad Dreaming to book your seat. They do several other tours as well.