We spent a very relaxing three days at Leliyn (Edith Falls). Located on the western boundaries of the Nitmulik National Park, the area lived up to its reputation of stunning waterfalls and fresh water pools along with numerous walking trails and extraordinary scenery.
The Falls are a series of waterfalls and pools on the Edith River in the Park that descend from about 170 metres above sea level and range in a height between 8 and 12 metres. The Falls then connect to the Katherine River in the Katherine Gorge. I am not sure what else we can say – you have to do the walk to appreciate the beauty.
Saturday morning we had one of those long journey days – 45km!!. As we headed north toward Darwin, we came across the township of Pine Creek. While it looked nothing on the surface, after a wee bit of ‘poking’ around we found it had quite a lot of history and was an excellent overnight stop opportunity.
Pine Creek was named in 1870 and is located at the junction of the Stuart and Kakado Highways. In 1871, posthole diggers laying the Overland Telegraph Line discovered traces of gold and this led to the goldrush of 1871. While there was not too much happening in the town the night we stayed, it is still famous for the annual gold panning championship held in June of each year.
We did our bit for the town and had a quiet ‘one or two’ at 5 o’clock at the local hotel. We even met a kiwi who hailed from Wanganui and had worked in the area for some thirty years. We asked the courageous question as to whether he gave any thought to returning home. His response was, ‘never – my fridge here never gets as cold as it gets in Wanganui’. Question well answered we thought.
Sunday morning we departed Pine Creek and made our way toward the Litchfield National Park. On the way we made a brief ‘coffee’ stop at the township of Adelaide River. One of the towns claim to fame is the Adelaide River Rail Museum. The museum was built in 1889 and was used as a railway, military centre and hotel before is finally became a museum a century later.
The Adelaide River War Cemetery is also a significant location that was built purely for service people who died in the area in defense of Australia during the 2nd World War. Adelaide River is a small outback town but is worthy of a stop if you are passing through.
Our home for the next three days is Batchelor, known as the ‘gateway to Litchfield’. Uranium was discovered in the area in 1949 and the township of Batchelor grew to service the mine. Although the mine is closed, Batchelor now services visitors travelling to and from the nearby Litchfield National Park.
For those interested in wartime history, we learned today that in 1941 an aviation area was established in Batchelor that enabled B-17’s to land here. The heavy-duty airstrip played an important role as a base for General McArthur’s bombing force from December 1941. Thousands of troops were stationed here during World War II.
Our plan over the next three days is to see as much of the Litchfield National Park as we can before making our way to Darwin on Wednesday. We are aware that we will be unable to get to some parts of the Park as a result of the recent rains but it is our aim to get to as many areas as we can. What could possibly go wrong!!