Saturday, 5 May 2012

Darwin - Part 2, Litchfield National Park

02.05.12 – Litchfield National Park

Today I went on my tour to Litchfield National Park with APT. The guide was a very nice and smiley, and also very knowledgeable. She said that she only does the Litchfield tour and so that’s why she knows so much about that area. There were only 7 of us on the tour, which was nice as it gave us an opportunity to get to know each other. One girl was around the same age as me, and then there were two couples in their 50’s or 60’s and one lady in her 50’s or 60’s, it was a nice little group and we all got along.

Our first stop was in Batchelor, where a Polish gardener had built a castle.
 We then stopped at a café outside Batchelor to pick up our lunch; we had to pay for it ourselves, and we would be eating it later on the tour. Some people also got a drink at the café, which we also had to pay for ourselves. After we picked our food up we went to see the termite mounds. There are two kinds: Magnetic termite mounds and Cathedral ones. It was really amazing to see both kinds, but especially the cathedral ones, which was over 5meters tall!
Magnetic termite mounds
Cathedral termite mounds
 After the termite mounds we went to Tolmer Falls. Because of a rare bat that lives in a cave at the bottom of the falls you’re not allowed to go down or swim there, which is just as well, since it would take you a dangerous 2 hours to get down. It was beautiful just to see from the lookout, but I have to admit the water at the bottom looked quite tempting because it was so clear.
Tolmer Falls
 After Tolmer Falls we went to another waterfall where we couldn’t swim, Wangi Falls. You can normally swim in Wangi, but there was still too much water, and a risk of saltwater crocodiles, to swim there yet.
Wangi Falls
 We had a few choices of what we wanted to do at Wangi. We could stay at the base of the waterfall and just chill out there, or we could walk up to the top and around it. The guide, myself and two other ladies (all the lone travellers) chose to go around. When we had just gotten started there was a giant spider just above the boardwalk! I think it was a golden orb spider. I’m not good with spiders… I was tempted to turn around and walk back and wait at the base with the others. I probably spent a whole minute debating with myself whether or not I should keep going, the other 3 were talking about the spider and taking pictures in the meantime. In the end I decided to keep going. I out my head down, walked as far away from the spider as I could, mumbling to myself “it’s not there, it’s not there, it’s not there…”. I clutched my water bottle close to me like a security blanket, nervously glancing from side to side, until we got to the top. Luckily I didn’t see anymore. I was thinking that if I did I would go back, but then I realized I would still have to get past the first one, so I’m very glad I didn’t see anymore.
Top of Wangi Falls
 I think the walk around the waterfall took us about 40 minutes. It is quite steep and we all got sweaty and out of breath, it would have been nice if the waterfall was open so that we could have jumped straight in when we got back down. It was a nice walk, but I didn’t think it was super impressive, keep in mind that I might not have enjoyed it so much because of the spiders.

When the group met up again after our walk we got our sandwiches from the café and sat down for lunch. I had a cheese and salad sandwich and it was absolutely gorgeous! I wanted another one as soon as I finished it!

After lunch we headed to Florence Falls, where we could swim. There was an option again about what we wanted to do. The guide and the couples went to the creek at the top of the waterfall while the 3 single ladies, myself included, went down the steps to the bottom. It was an absolutely beautiful waterfall, but it was so busy that I didn’t feel like swimming. Some people made their way up a cliff and dived in, I was really nervous watching them as I could see that it was deep where they dived, but right next to it there were some rocks under water… Just a little bit wrong and… Luckily nobody got hurt while I was there though. I don’t know what I would have done if they were, I had no signal on my phone and I doubt anybody else did except for the guides with their satellite phones.
Florence Falls
 The last stop was Buley Rockhole. It’s actually not just one Rockhole, but 7. It was quite cool, it was like loads of little pools. Us 3 single ladies went down to the bottom one; there was nobody else there when we got there. The water was slightly cold to get into, but really nice and refreshing after a few seconds. Unfortunately, after we’d been in the water for about 5 minutes a group of about 20 kids came along and were jumping off a rock so water was splashing everywhere. Apparently there is a camp nearby where they were staying. Of course I don’t mind kids swimming and stuff, but I didn’t like that water was splashing everywhere, and I got out of the water soon after they got in.
Buley Rockhole
 The girl that was about the same age as me is from Australia. After the tour we went back to our hostels to shower and change and then we met up for dinner. I think the place we went to is called Kitty’s, the food was really nice, but the portions are so big I didn’t manage to finish my pasta, which might have something to do with the fact that I ordered garlic bread on the side as well. I didn’t manage to finish either.

When I was going back to my hostel it suddenly started raining! And I mean suddenly! It wasn’t a drizzle that gradually got heavier, but heavy rain straight away, as well as lightning! Although I love that kind of weather I ran the rest of the way back to the hostel since I didn’t feel like getting drenched, it only took me one minute to run there, and I still got drenched! Once I got inside it was really lovely though, listening to the rain and thunder while reading a book and later going to sleep, it was great.

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