Discovering Litchfield National Park

Our Litchfield National Park adventure concludes today and tomorrow morning we make our way into Darwin – the finish line to our journey up the centre of Australia. It has taken us five weeks and we have travelled a total of 3400km. We have had ‘tons’ of fun, met some life long friends and seen some stunning scenery on the way.

Another ‘bucket list’ item ticked off.

The Litchfield National Park is a 1,500 square kilometre park and features a myriad of diverse environments. While three days is probably not enough time, we have managed to take in stunning rugged sandstone escarpments, spring fed streams, monsoon rain forests, magnetic termite mounds, waterfalls and historic ruins.

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park

The Florence Falls in the Litchfield National Park

If there was a standout for us it was the numerous crystal clear waterholes (crocodile free) and the pleasant bushwalking trails. We followed a bit of a path in the days we were here and visited the magnetic termite mounds (the mounds are about 2 metres tall, have thin edges and point north and south to minimize exposure to the sun), the Buley Rockhole, Florence Falls, Tolmer Falls and Wangi Falls. With the temperature around 35C, the falls and pools were a welcome cooling off opportunity as we travelled around the park.

We even managed to get in a few kilometres of 4WD adventure – the little jeep performed superbly.

We discovered an area just north of Batchelor (our home base in the Litchfield National Park), called the Rum Jungle, a lush green area of jungle type growth. Rod was intrigued by the name so sought its history. Apparently, in 1873/74 the teamsters who were given the responsibility to transport goods from Darwin to Pine Creek to support the gold rush, took it upon themselves to tap the 40 gallon kegs of rum they were carrying to alleviate the arduous conditions of their journey south.

Steve, Dearne and Rod at the Magnetic Termite Mounds, Litchfield National Park

Steve, Dearne and Rod at the Magnetic Termite Mounds in the Litchfield National Park

Unfortunately the ‘party’ got out of control and the teamsters had to be relieved of their responsibilities. The owners of the teams and the mining equipment rode to the site and took over the journey. Rod gave some thought to the story and commented ‘that while not involving horses, and on a personal note, the story had a familiar ring to it’.  Our conclusion – nothing really changes in life.

We have a few technical issues to sort out in Darwin. Our deep cell batteries (they provide power to the motorhome when we are not connected to a 240 volt supply) are not performing to their usual high standard. We think they may be at the end of their life. We have arranged to have them load tested tomorrow and if they need replacing, that is what we will do.

Our digital satellite TV antenna is struggling to find a satellite. While the ‘operator’ is prepared to accept some responsibility for its performance, we think it may be a cabling or LNB fault. We plan to be in the Darwin area for about two weeks so we have heaps of time to get things sorted.

Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

Swimming in the Wangi Falls in the Litchfield National Park

As an aside, we are just a few days short of being on the road in Australia for 12 months. While it may seem a long time if you are following our blog, the time for us has just flown by. We cannot believe it has nearly been a year. We now have to think of timeframes for shipping back home next year. Shipping schedules are promulgated quarterly and we have to book well in advance to ensure we arrive back in New Zealand before our Carnet arrangement expires in early May 2015. We are looking at the latter part of the 1st quarter to be absolutely safe. The tax penalties should we arrive after the date are quite punitive (whether our fault or the shippers).

We will keep you posted.


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