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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Northern Territory - Litchfield National Park

The next stop was Litchfield National Park.

We immediately noticed that even though we needed to drive some long distances, they were going to go by a lot faster than expected.

The first tourist stop along the way were the giant magnetic termite mounts. These little clear ants are clever enough to build their mounds in a north-south direction to regulate the temperature and keep them cool.

I couldn't help but think about all the little ant hills at home that I take great pleasure in kicking over.  I hope this isn't karma...

After the termites and another 100km, it was time for lunch. We stopped at Florence Falls, the first of many rock pool and waterfalls we would be swimming in over the next couple of weeks. 

We walked in along a creek through the trees all the while hoping the "very low" crocodile risk was accurate. 

 At the end were the falls. Amazing. At the bottom of the falls is a beautiful clear plunge pool.

Just a few more kilometres down the road is the beautiful Buley Rockhole. It's a cascading series of waterfalls and rock-holes, where despite the other tourists it's easy to find your own spot to swim and relax.

After a great day in the sun and water we rocked up to our holiday park we would be calling home for   the next couple of days. It definitely had heaps of character. It was a safari tent, we knew that it would be on the rustic side and that was fine. It was a huge canvas tent with a queen bed, bunk beds and a small fridge. It even came with it's very own mosquito coil. And yes those are rope lights. At night it was the "party tent"!

The description said the tent included an ensuite. Technically I guess that was true as there was an extra room attached to the outside of our tent. And it was incredibly efficient as there was a kitchen sink in there too. I could totally do the dishes and shower at the same time.  

The next day was action packed. First up a visit to the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine. Until the early 1950s, there were several tin and copper mines in the park. The relics of this one were there for us to check out. 

Eager to find some tourist free spots we packed up the hydration packs and set off on a hike up Walker Creek. The great thing about this track is that along it there are 8 campsites and private rock holes to swim in at each one. All the campers had packed up and left by the time we got out there, so we had the whole creek  and all the swimming to ourselves! It wasn't until we were leaving that another group caught up with us at the 8th site after we had been there for a couple of hours. 

 We were again assured that the risk of crocodiles was "very low". Well ok then.

Wangi Falls was the next stop. A very accessible and popular spot in Litchfield. There were heaps of cars in the car park and we were pleasantly surprised by how uncrowded the pool was. There were 2 waterfalls to swim under and plenty of rocks for the kids to climb and jump off of into the deep water making it instantly one of their favourite places so far. 

We were leaving Litchfield the next day even though it was pretty late in the afternoon we didn't want to miss Cascade Falls before leaving.

When we first arrived there were several people leaving and they were all wearing flip flops. We've been pushing the kids to wear socks and shoes everywhere we go because Aussie hiking tracks are often unpredictable as far as terrain. However as it didn't seem necessary we set off in our somewhat unpractical footwear on what should have been a short 1 km walk.

Hahahahaha! Right. The first 300 meters was flat and sandy and then it took a turn. Straight up. Just your standard Aussie hiking track.

When we close to the end we found a beautiful pool. Honestly we were so tired after a long hot day and plenty of swimming we would have been happy to stay right here.  

But just a few more meters around the bend, just a few more meters barefoot across the rocks, we found this. And it was empty. Not another person to be found, it was absolute heaven.

We spent as long as we could here until the sun started to set, and then we had to start making our way back out if we wanted to do so in daylight.

There were a couple of places we didn't get to. Sandy Creek was closed due to construction, and Surprise Creek which was at the top of our list was closed due to a saltwater crocodile in the area that hadn't yet been caught. So seeing as we didn't at that moment want to feed either of our children to a wild animal, we missed out.

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