Today, we visited Litchfield National Park, southwest of Darwin down the Stuart Highway, which in totality runs from Darwin in the north down to Port Augusta in the south. This was a pre-booked tour, run by the biggest operator in Australia, AAT Kings.
Didn\’t get off to the best start. Having taken the trouble to get up for a 7.20 a.m. departure, we weren\’t best pleased to be kept waiting for over half an hour for the coach to turn up. Anyway, got settled in to the coach, only to find that the driver (who was also our guide), was jabbering away in the front of the coach under the totally mistaken impression that we could all hear her over the intercom on the coach. This took quite a while to sort out, and in truth never really worked properly. We kept hearing snippets which were drowned out by coach noise. Frustrating. Also, her guidance instructions were less than clear on far too many occasions, but she did know her stuff and coach driving was exemplary.
Moan over. This was quite an interesting day, if somewhat regimented. A drive to the small town of Batchelor, founded by a politician named Egerton Lee Batchelor with the aim of educating (in a good way) the local Aborigine population. Details at http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/batchelor-nt if interested.
Stopped for coffee at a rather grotty cafe ($5 for a mug of crap coffee, forsooth!), but it gave us a break and provided a map on the wall:
Next stop was the termite mounds. No time to go into detailed discussion here, but two types of termites – magnetic and cathedral. Yes, really. It is actually fascinating on many levels. Details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amitermes_meridionalis and https://northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/see-and-do/magnetic-termite-mounds.
Picture of the \”graveyard\” of magnetic termite mounds:
And a picture of a touchable cathedral termite mound:
Next stop, Florence Falls:
Spectacular gorges everywhere.
Plunge pool at the bottom of the falls. I declined the opportunity to take a dip, even though the temperature was around 33 degrees. Many others of our party did so, though.
Up next, Tolmer Falls. Again, impressive gorges, but the dry season had turned this into a bit of a trickle:
Stopped for lunch (included) at the Litchfield Cafe. Very indifferent buffet food, but at least the chance to grab a beer!
Wangi Falls next on the itinerary. Another plunge pool and a rather more spectacular setting:
We took a rather interesting walk through the local rainforest accompanied by the most extraordinary squawking of fruit bats. They were everywhere. Picture does not do it justice:
Last port of call was Howard Springs, where one could feed the fish. Doesn\’t sound riveting, but there were some quite impressive specimens of fish like tarpon and barramundi in the artificial lake. Temperature had climbed to 37 degrees by now.
Back to Darwin and in the hotel by 5.50 p.m. to prepare for an even longer day tomorrow in the better known Kakadu National Park. 6.20 a.m. departure (groan….)
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