A little bit of luck in Litchfield

Litchfield was our next destination and we were super excited to be finally heading there.  We got a fairly late start from Darwin after dropping off my laptop to Humpty Doo for diagnosis after discovering it had stopped working, we knew that we would be pushing it to find a National Park campground for the night but we decided to continue to push through to Wangi Falls campground and keep our fingers crossed. If we couldn’t find one, we’d stay at the safari camp a few kms down the road.

Corey, ever mindful of those around him on the road told me that he was going to pull over and let a few vans behind us pass. Of course, I’m not so altruistic and told him that under no circumstances was he to show consideration as they’d be first into camp and into our spot otherwise.  Thankfully common sense prevailed and we held out position on the windy road!  Until it came time to turn into the park when two vans coming from the opposite direction got the jump on us and beat us into camp. As we headed into the campground, we’d just about resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d missed out, after all, there were two vans in front of us, but when the road split into two separate loops, I instructed Corey to take the loop that the previous two vans hadn’t taken and there, tucked away from the road, was a little vacant spot – just for us! It was a challenging spot for a big van, probably the reason it was still vacant as you had to back in from the ‘off’ side and screw it around quite tight to get in there, but for a truck driving hubby it was a piece of cake.  We nabbed what was the last spot at the Wangi Falls campground!

As we were backing in, the two vans that had gone before us had finished their loop, obviously unsuccesfully, and had entered the loop we were in.  Having to wait for us, the first van for some reason started to reverse and ended up backing into the van behind him – so not only had these people missed out on a spot, they were having to exchange details for an insurance claim as well!

Unhooking the van and getting set up, we decided to head straight down to Wangi Falls for a swim.  We, and the several hundred others, clearly had the same idea.  As Corey and the girls jumped in, I bumped into a couple of other families that we’d seen along the way and caught up on all the news.

Afterwards, I decided to stop being so chicken when it came to these waterholes and actually get in.  It took a good five minutes of psyching myself up, but I eventually got in.  It was bloody cold, but refreshing.

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The next day we explored Tolmer Falls.

And the Lost City, a patch of rock formations that resemble an ancient city.

We continued on to the termite mounds where we learnt about the difference between Cathedral mounds and Magnetic mounds.  The Magnetic termites are native to the Litchfield area and are built by the termites along the North South axis to minimise the heat that goes into the mound.  Because the Magnetic termites don’t dig below the surface like the various species of termites that create the Cathedral mounds, they have to regulate the temperature of the mound in a different way. The spinifex termites that create the cathedral mounds go tall and deep to regulate their heat and some of these mounts are huge!

This is a cathedral termite mound:

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And these are magnetic termite mounds:

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Google it, it’s fascinating!

But let’s leave Nard’s History Lesson and get back to our day where we spent the afternoon back at Wangi Falls.  I had gotten up early to go for a walk and was able to get a sense of the pools without the hordes of people.

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The next day it was off to Blythe Homestead, an outpost of XX Station.  The old homestead and tin min have been preserved as a showcase of the way of pioneering life back in the day.

We headed spent the next few hours at the Buley Rockholes where the girls found their inner daredevil and jumped from the sides for ages.

After lunch, we moved along to Florence Falls and spend the afternoon with the crowds until it was time to mosey home. After 135 stairs down to the falls, we took the creek walk back to the carpark.

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And that was Litchfield done.  We loved that we were able to get a campsite so close to Wangi Falls and had a great time exploring the various falls and 4WD tracks. Definitely everything that we’d hoped it would be!

We were up bright and early the next day and got an early start back to Darwin. As we got back into phone range, I made contact with my laptop tech who advised me that she was working in the city and had forgotten to bring my laptop with her. This meant we couldn’t continue to Kakadu until we picked it up from her at 3pm. A few text messages later and I was able to learn that the issue with my laptop was the motherboard and so I needed to make the decision.

After a flurry of googling and phone calls later, we were headed into Darwin to buy a new laptop.  On the way, we stopped in at Reidy’s lures, a place Corey had wanted to visit whilst we were there but we didn’t get around to it.  They do a tour and we managed to make it in time to head out the back and see how lures are made.  These lures were all made by hand (with the exception of one style) so from the moulding of the plastics, to the airbrushing, insertion of bibs and hooks and testing to ensure they swim straight, everything is done by hand and with a team of three.  It was quite fascinating.

After our little detour, we were off to JB HiFi to give the credit card a workout – thankfully, they had a 10% off MacBook sale so saving $170 was better than a kick in the head! Setting the speed record for buying a computer (2 minutes), we grabbed our purchases and then headed to a playground for lunch and then a few hours later we had picked up my old laptop and were on our way to Kakadu.

An overnight stop at the Corroboree Roadhouse, with its resident salt and freshwater crocs, a few pics and an albino water buffalo, I spent the evening uploading my saved data and set up my laptop. I was lucky to retrieve 99% of my files but sadly, given my new Macbook was identical to my old MacBook, there wasn’t even any joy in my new expensive purchase – it was exactly like using my old one.  Oh well, I’m lucky that I was able to replace it without too much discussion.

Is Litchfield on your bucket list? Do you venture into the cold waters of waterfalls and plunge pools?

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