Wangi Falls, Litchfield Park, Northern Territory, Australia
1 day - September 2017
In October we took advantage of having a Public Holiday to head north and finally discover Darwin and its surroundings.
Australians know this city through stories about crocodiles, WWII attack, mines and Aboriginal Art but the main reason we’ve decided to travel there is to discover Kakadu and Litchfield (not the jail for the Orange is the New Black fans, the National park!)
Freshly arrived at 1am (and after realising that there was a 30minutes difference with Sydney, who knew we could have half hour time zone?!) we’ve decided to join a tour to avoid the many kilometres and having to rent a 4X4.
On board of our 4X4 truck, we’ve found out how isolated Darwin was: there is only one road in and out of Darwin- The Stuart Highway named after Stuart who was the first crossing Australia from North to South- and everything needs to be imported with road trains (some being up to 50m long!)
First stop Litchfield, 2 hours south-East from Darwin!
This part of Australia was discovered in 1864 by Europeans colons who took the land from Aboriginals and decided to develop cattles and agriculture. They quickly discovered copper, tin and later uranium. Some mines became commercial but many floods destroyed them over the years and led them to bankruptcy (for once extreme weather has its benefits !).
More recently two families protected Litchfield lands from the mining companies by turning down their dollars and struck a deal with the Australian government to make Litchfield a National Park in 1986. (Thanks guys!)
We’ve started the day with Wangi falls and a bushwalk despite the 39 degrees and 80% humidity! The walked is a bit repetitive but we still walked up to the top of the waterfall and realised how green the landscapes were whereas we were expecting dry and dirt roads being at the end of the Dry Season. The waterfall and the rock pool/natural jacuzzi were tempting but the crocs signs everywhere freak us out (even if apparently the crocs are not here during the dry season but where do they go then?).
Second stop of the day, Florence Falls. Apparently the Aboriginals used to pilgrim here hoping to get pregnant thanks to the “fertility waters” . While we haven’t been able to confirm that we definitely enjoyed the few hours we spent there.
Two cascades fall into a waterhole and are surrounded by green “Jungle”. This time the natural pool was apparently free from crocs all year long so we dived into it to cool down and relax (and get “knocked out” by the water falling from 30metres!). A bit packed with tourists but worth-it!
Last stop of the day: the termites structures! We’ve learnt a lot on their habits and social casts which are structured a bit like the bees or the ants with soldiers, workers, King, Queen etc. The termites build the mounds 10cms a year and the mounds usually outlive the termites who live by millions in it. They are resistant to fires and floods and some can reach up to 8 metres in the Northern Territory (around 80 years then if you followed me :) )
We’ve then headed back to our camp where we glamp for the night (really happy with this as we thought we booked the trip where we had to sleep in swags under the stars!). On our way to the camp, we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunset I ever seen that only the outback can offer.
# You can easily spend 2 days in the National Park
# While we’ve done it with a tour combining Litchfield and Kakadu, this part can be easily done with your own vehicle as the roads are sealed and the distance not that big
# It’s so hot! Bring at least 5 Litres of water per person if you want to avoid dehydration (last year they were more people dying because of this than killed by crocodiles!)
Marc & Elise
Nov 21, 2017 - 12:00 AM
I️ really enjoyed reading your article as you share a bit of history and give us good advices. I️ would definitely love to explore this area it looks stunning ! Thanks for sharing your experience and beautiful pictures!
Christelle & Cedric
Nov 21, 2017 - 01:50 PM
Hope you can go one day, one of our best weekend away in Australia :)