Thursday, September 29, 2011

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park

Whilst the tyre was being sorted out, we went to the shopping centre to replenish the consumables in the camper.

Soon we were heading off to Litchfield National Park. This is an easy day trip for people living in Darwin. The drive in to Litchfield took us through hectares and hectares of burnt bush.  Some of it was due to recent hot fire which has left parts of the park looking very desolate.

The park has many hidden pools, swamps and creeks.  We drove to Wangi Falls (pronounced Wonn Guy!) where we found a campsite for the night.  500 meters from the camping ground is the falls with a very deep and wide swimming hole. Crystal clear water with easy access allowed us to have a long and relaxing swim.

After a leisurely breakfast, pack up and then another swim, we went to Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek).  Here we chose a campsite before setting off on the 1.7klms track to the falls.  The walk was very hot and over rocky boulder masses. So it was wonderful to find a pristine water hole with very tall waterfall at the end of the walk. Only two other people were there, an off-duty parks ranger and her boyfriend who had chosen to spend their day off in a favourite place.

After several swims and a picnic lunch, we noticed that there was an enormous column of very black smoke coming up on the ridge behind us. By this stage the park ranger and her friend has started walking back.  We decided that the fire was now getting a little too close for comfort, so started quickly back to the car.  By now the fire was starting to move over the edge of the ridge. Between us and it was a small stream that we could jump into if it got too close.

Our walk back, was, needless to say, much faster that the one to the falls.  On the track leading back, we met an on-duty park ranger who asked us to hurry out of the area as the path was now "in danger"!  Camping was also not allowed, so we headed back to Wangi Falls.

A much better campsite this time, away from most other campers and in particular, away from a family with four very noisy young children, who constantly screamed for either "mummy" or "daddy".

On the return to the Stuart Highway, we called in to the small town of Bachelor. At the local general store we were able to buy freshly baked rolls, which we enjoyed for breakfast.  This is a beautiful little town, with the best kept gardens, parks and recreational grounds imaginable.  There are magnificent plantings of tropical and indigenous shrubs and trees everywhere. Everything is lush and green, having been watered every day. It feels and looks like a tropical paradise, based in far north Queensland.

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