We spent all Friday (22/8) morning at Berry Springs, so it wasn’t till mid/late arvo that we arrived in Litchfield National Park. This N.P. is very different to Kakadu – whereas wetlands and wildlife are the standout attractions of Kakadu – creeks, waterfalls, and swimming are Litchfields attractions. As you might guess, this was rather appealing to active boys (even if they do like wildlife too!)…
However, the first attraction driving into the park (from the Batchelor entry route) are the termite mounds. Now, the stars of this attraction are made by a different termite to those that make the more widely found mounds, such as those seen in Kakadu and elsewhere. No, this is not a grave yard, but a termite yard… Check out the aspect ratio of these mounds!
Then it was on to Buley Rockhole. This is a section of Florence Creek where the water runs down a series of little waterfalls and waterholes. The boys really liked this place, exploring up and down the creek and checking out the waterfalls and the size and depth of the rockholes. Being late we stayed the night at the nearby campground.
We actually ended up coming back to Buley Rockhole on the way out after we’d done everything else. Nicole and the boys voted it as there favourite feature of Litchfield. Of course being able to jump into the deep holes is a major attraction (though could do similar at some other places)! That hole they are jumping into is only around 2.5 x 4m in size. I tried several times to check the depth of it, but I could not get to/touch the bottom! Here are some photos from Sunday evening (we camped there Sun night too).
Saturday morning, it was a short drive to Florence Falls, on the same creek as Buley Rockhole just a little further downstream. Before we went and refreshed ourselves in the cool waters, I took Nicole on a 3km run on some bush tracks. Then we were able to appreciate the cool waters of this pretty waterfall, and the pool at the base of it.
We took the snorkels in here too, and saw plenty of the black bream, some silver ones but not as many species as we saw at Berry Springs.
From Florence Falls we drove to Tableland Swamp, and had lunch there. Not a lot to look at (spoiled after Kakadu perhaps), but we were hungry…
We did the loop walk at Tolmer Falls, that includes the lookout. Can’t get in real close to these falls due to restrictions, but pretty nonetheless.
On the loop back to the carpark, there are a couple of hillsides covered with cycads. Imagine the cost of planting these out in your garden!!! They were brown due to dryness and a fire, but nonetheless they were still a good sight to see!
Then it was onto Wangi Falls, where we stayed the night. Wangi Falls would probably be the major tourist attraction of Litchfield (perhaps along with Florence Falls), as they are tall waterfalls with a large plunge pool at the base (reaches 14m deep according to the sign!). Quite a pretty place!
The campground here was almost full when we arrived – only one spot left (campsite 3) – and it was a pretty large one with a long parking area at the front and a fenced off area for tents behind it. We parked with the motorhome directly in front of the entry to the tent area. When we came back to the campsite following a swim, we found a couple of campervans had decided to join us (one in front, one behind)…. then soon after another couple cars decided they too thought it looked like a good spot to park the car, climb through the fence and pitch a tent! I would have told them all to go away if it weren’t for the fact that we hadn’t paid for the site – there were no camping fee envelopes/tags left! Turns out there were people camped all over the place that night – in the carparks, picnic areas and other places that are clearly signed no camping. Overseas tourists….. We did the walk around the top of the falls Sunday morning, then headed over to the Cascades.
The best thing about the cascades was the walk getting to them! Real rainforest, and some rock hopping along the creek! The Cascades themselves were nice too, but nothing outstanding (the type of thing I’d find at Maleny or elsewhere in SE QLD). We explored a bit further up the creek, had lunch and then moved onto Walker Creek.
On arrival at Walker Creek we realised there was not a lot do, as they are hike in campsites, and the swimming hole was a 3.5km return walk. Well, there was supposedly a swimming spot at the parking area, but I think it may have reached my knees and perhaps fitted the 4 of us! So whilst the walk was less than the Cascades we’d just done, the creek was quite small and we suspected that the swimming hole would be a nice reward for someone carrying camping equipment for a couple km’s, but perhaps not the standard we’d become accustomed to at Litchfield!
Having reached as far as we wanted to go, it was time to return and head back towards Batchelor. We stopped in at Greenant Creek which we had missed earlier. It has a walk to Tjaetaba Falls, some of it in nice rainforest, some in very hot, exposed and dry ground! The walk takes you to the top of Tjaetaba Falls, which is nice though you don’t get a real good view or go to the base.
Finally, as already mentioned, we spent Sunday night back at Buley Waterhole again (no crowds of campervans here!). I met a family of Koreans in a hire motorhome similar to ours; parents and two late teen daughters who pulled into the campsite fairly late at night. That is a bit unusual – it is uncommon to see Asian families doing a self drive tour of Australia. It seems the Mum and Dad didn’t speak English, so it must have been one of the daughters (who lived at the Sunshine Coast for a year) who convinced them to do it. Well, they’d flown to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth then Darwin, but were driving to Uluru/Alice Springs for a couple of weeks.
So we had a very enjoyable time in Litchfield. Being able to swim and enjoy the water makes a big difference, especially for the boys.