Litchfield National Park. A world of waterfalls

It’s not an easy task summing up The Top End, as the top bit of Australia is affectionately known.

It is spectacular. Beautiful. Awe inspiring. Tranquil yet wild. Peaceful yet deadly. Hot. Humid. Dusty.

I’ve struggled quite a bit over the last year trying not to overwork the superlatives and adjectives.

And yet, yet … unfortunately there are only so many superlatives and adjectives to work with.

How to define the holistic-full-body-senses-experience which vastly transcends simple eye-candy photographs without delving into mediocre capitulation to the same superlatives and adjectives?

No idea, so I’ll over work them. What else can I do?

Scott H Murray, photographer, Emergency Response Team guy, nature-fundy, and All Round Good Guy, lives in Jabiru which lies in far east Kakadu. I recommend you give his facebook page and website a look: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=scott%20h%20murray%20photography

And http://scotthmurray.com/

I met Scott back in December/January in Glen Helen. He offered to show me around should I make it Kakadu way. Kakadu is little of an hour’s drive from Darwin, although Jabiru is a good two hours or so. That means two or more days’ cycle. I thought to ride halfway and Scott pick me. Only he works one week on one week off at the Energy Resource Australia’s Jabiru uranium mine. He’s at work for the following week.

Katherine lies 315 km south of Darwin. There are convenient overnights along the way at Alligator Creek and Pine Creek considering I have no camping/cooking gear. Almost exactly 30 years ago I worked at Pine Creek. It’d be worth a look to see if I recognize anything. And so I plan. Scott can pick me up in Pine Creek at the start of his week free.

But 12 hours before I’m due to leave Darwin Scott tells me of a Large 4WD of his which is languishing in Darwin. Would I care to drive it around for a week and deliver it to Jabiru? Errr … now let me think about this …

Twenty Four hours later I’m staring at a huge Nissan Patrol with tires at least a metre high and a 1.5 metre climb to get in the cab.

The Beast. Scott Murray's huge Nissan Patrol
The Beast. Scott Murray’s huge Nissan Patrol

 

The Beast. In profile. Bed in the back.
The Beast. In profile. Bed in the back.

It costs me less than 100$ to kit out with a tent, sleeping bag, two sheets, inflatable sleeping mat, pump, inflatable pillow (I kid you not) and a couple of other items.

Load the bike on the roof rack, lay down the back seats stick in the mattress (inflated), store my meagre bags in the gap between mattress and side of vehicle, ensure I’ve enough tunes and head south.

Litchfield National Park lies but an hour or so south along the Stuart Highway plus 50 km west. With The Beast and camping stuff I can now tour it with ease.

The northern access to Litchfield is a gravel road from Berry Springs. The Dude at the local gas station tells me “Head back to the highway, drive south for an hour and take the asphalt” in my response to “How’s the road into Litchfield”. I don’t trust him, so I drive on.

At a camp ground just before the turn-off the Dude whips out a simple map and divides the gravel road into sections. “The first 20 km are asphalt. Then next thirty or so they are currently grading. The last ten to twenty is fine. You won’t have a problem” in answer to the same question. I trust him so I drive on.

Litchfield Map. I came in from the north and simply followed the route in a loop to Batchelor, ticking off the sites as I went along. Reynolds Road, which heads due south to the bottom of the map was unfortunately closed to traffic, http://www.litchfieldnationalpark.com/
Litchfield Map. I came in from the north and simply followed the route in a loop to Batchelor, ticking off the sites as I went along. Reynolds Road, which heads due south to the bottom of the map was unfortunately closed to traffic,
http://www.litchfieldnationalpark.com/
A Billabong. Not the name of a sports' clothing brand. A place where large-man-eating beasts can lurk. An Australian at the scene said "I won't be swimming here" in response to my question of "What's the crocodile index here?"
A Billabong. Not the name of a sports’ clothing brand. A place where large-man-eating beasts can lurk. An Australian at the scene said “I won’t be swimming here” in response to my question of “What’s the crocodile index here?”
Discovered in 1906 some poor buggars had to slog out arguably innovative techniques to make tin mining profitable in what would have been a true middle of nowhere experience
Discovered in 1906 some poor buggars had to slog out arguably innovative techniques to make tin mining profitable in what would have been a true middle of nowhere experience

The road (track) is fine. A bit rough in places but totally doable in a 2WD let alone a Beast. The only drama being to slalom between a large truck, a grader and a heavy-roller fixing the road.

I had a good week until Scott is free to tour a place most do in a day. It took me like four days to do my tour. The Go Slow approach. Watching the guided tours come and go made me realise just how fortunate I am to have the opportunity for the Go Slow approach.

I made camp at Walker Creek, Greenant Creek and Rum Jungle Lake. The latter two I was not really meant to camp at but I thought I’d make an exception. I did pull into the Wangi camp ground and found it a bit to suburban for my liking, and so justified my exceptionalism. Aside of the mozzies I had my camping areas all to myself.

The pools were really shallow at Walker Creek, my first campsite. I lie in a small pool lounging against the sandy bottom and just chill out. Very shortly a swarm of small fish surround me and begin to nibble on … well I’m not really sure what they are nibbling on. Interesting, indeed somewhat disquieting sensation to have a swarm of small fishing noticeably nibbling away at me. Despite my concerns, they did not draw blood.

Walkers Creek includes a number of delightful water holes along a 1500 m stretch of track. Not one of Lichfield's iconic spots I had the place to myself. And them spiders
Walkers Creek includes a number of delightful water holes along a 1500 m stretch of track. Not one of Litchfield’s iconic spots I had the place to myself. And them spiders
HUGE (Golden) Orb Web Spiders abound. From extended leg tip to leg tip they would cover your face.
HUGE (Golden) Orb Web Spiders abound. From extended leg tip to leg tip they would cover your face.
Notice the lady taking a shower in the falls?
Notice the lady taking a shower in the falls?
I enjoyed walking along the creek sampling the various pools and mastering waterfall photography. Again
I enjoyed walking along the creek sampling the various pools and mastering waterfall photography. Again
Fortunately no crocodile risk. Or so I believe ...
Fortunately no crocodile risk. Or so I believe …

Litchfield is pretty warm and sweaty which makes sleeping in the back of a Beast with all the windows wound up somewhat uncomfortable. Fortunately I have my Sea to Summit camp-mozzy net. Wind down the front and rear windows then trap the mozzy net in the doors and I sleep comfortable and mozzy free.

160517 Bamboo &160518 Cascades Wangi Greenant 1
Something to keep in mind. Always
The Cascades are, as the name suggests, a series of, well, cascades. The track in only allows the trekker to see a section of the cascades. However you can walk upstream for kilometres, all for yourself
The Cascades are, as the name suggests, a series of, well, cascades. The track in only allows the trekker to see a section of the cascades. However you can walk upstream for kilometres, all for yourself
No crocodiles, not too deep, warm. Great!
No crocodiles, not too deep, warm. Great!
Selfie waist deep
Selfie waist deep
Curtain Falls, where I (finally) encounter what had until then been a rather rare animal: humans
Curtain Falls, where I (finally) encounter what had until then been a rather rare animal: humans
Downstream from Curtain Falls to the Lower Cascades
Downstream from Curtain Falls to the Lower Cascades
Aside of the iconic pools there are plenty of other places just as fascinating
Aside of the iconic pools there are plenty of other places just as fascinating
The intrepid pool and creek trekkers shares the water with them Orb Web Spiders
The intrepid pool and creek trekkers shares the water with them Orb Web Spiders

Since I have no cooking gear. At all. Nor eating utensils, except for a simple kitchen knife I eat lunch three times a day. Wraps, water biscuits, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, canned salmon, chorizo, various cheese and so on. Mind you, after a day or so everything is warm which does make the cheese a bit gooey. Minor detail.

Wangi Falls is one of the main icons of Litchfield. Due to concerns about marauding saltwater crocodiles the pool is closed. It is a massive pool and could easily home several huge crocodiles. It must be one hell of a job for the Rangers towards the end of each wet season when the saltwater crocodiles migrate up waterways looking for new territories. All the iconic and not-so-iconic tourist sites need de-crocodiling. Imagining what would happen if they were not 100% sure of it being salty-free doesn’t bear thinking about. Already this season some guy’s been dragged out his tent by a crocodile (survived, leg injuries). A woman got taken walking knee deep at a beach at Daintree north of Cairns (did not survive). A crabber drowned and his mate fought tooth and claw – and spanners actually – fending off a crocodile which up-ended their dingy near Daly Waters. And so it goes on.

Don’t. Fuck. With. Crocodiles. Got it? Got it!

Wangi, one of THE icon falls/pools was 'closed' when I was there. Team NT Parks and Wildlife were hunting a saltwater crocodile. They tend to wander upstream during the wet and have to be cleared out before we touro-swimmers are allowed in
Wangi, one of THE icon falls/pools was ‘closed’ when I was there. Team NT Parks and Wildlife were hunting a saltwater crocodile. They tend to wander upstream during the wet and have to be cleared out before we touro-swimmers are allowed in
It was hot and sweaty ... but ... water water everywhere and not a drop for a dip
It was hot and sweaty … but … water water everywhere and not a drop for a dip
The End of the World
The End of the World
Unless you hike above the falls. There I found a pool, or two, to swim. Tho not quite as dramatic as the main pool
Unless you hike above the falls. There I found a pool, or two, to swim. Tho not quite as dramatic as the main pool
Streeetched photo of the top of Wangi Falls
Streeetched photo of the top of Wangi Falls
It was near 2 metres deep yet not much wider. Beautiful
It was near 2 metres deep yet not much wider. Beautiful
Coming down from the top I came across this stream emerging directly from the rocks. Plenty of mosquitoes mind you
Coming down from the top I came across this stream emerging directly from the rocks. Plenty of mosquitoes mind you

Visually it’s all very spectacular and photogenic. It’s also really accessible with no ‘hike’ more than five kilometres return with easy grades. The only ‘climbs’ are from the bottom of waterfalls to the top. It’s little surprise that Litchfield is so popular, certainly with the backpacker-foreign tourist set. It’s very easy to hire a small car, drive an hour or so down the Stuart Highway, right at Batchelor and into the park. There’s no park fee and camping fees are tiny. Democratisation of adventure.

Greenant Creek. Another underrated creek, so I had the campsite to myself. Only, in truth, I wasn't meant to camp there ;-)
Greenant Creek. Another underrated creek, so I had the campsite to myself. Only, in truth, I wasn’t meant to camp there 😉
The water was clear and perhaps a metre deep. Eternally in shade it was quite cool.
The water was clear and perhaps a metre deep. Eternally in shade it was quite cool.

Deep in the gloom, strung out across the streams and creeks, some at knee level and others way above head height are lots and lots and L O T S of Orb Web spiders. Some are Golden, others a grey-white. One large fat grey-white one pulled a nasty on me whilst I was snapping away. It very deliberately arched its back and pointed its ass in my direction and squirted some slime. Fortunately its aim wasn’t crash hot otherwise I’d have been well slimmed. Neat little trick. Other times I’d be distracted by one monster Orb Web and web only to find out that another one, most often behind me, is but a centimetre or so from some part of my body. Strung out from leg tip to leg tip they would cover my face. Very impressive.

Unsurprisingly both the Golden Orb Web spider and its web are, well. golden. Very beautiful but I’m still not game enough to get one to walk over my hand despite knowing they are for all intents and purposes ‘harmless’. Err, yeah, right …

A Golden Orb Web. Not only is the spider kinda 'golden', so too is its web
A Golden Orb Web. Not only is the spider kinda ‘golden’, so too is its web
This one seems to be on a bit of a diet
This one seems to be on a bit of a diet
This one, however, seems to have a good number of decent meals
This one, however, seems to have a good number of decent meals
Another type? Not sure, but it's not 'golden'. More a creamy white and it's body is more round. I love the detail on it head
Another type? Not sure, but it’s not ‘golden’. More a creamy white and it’s body is more round. I love the detail on it head

Sure, there’s tons of people at the key sites like Wangi, Buley and Florence Falls. Even then all you have to do is walk upstream or downstream for a bit and you’ll find your own bit of paradise.

Now, technically, I'm not meant to be in this photo. Tjaetabe Falls lies upstream Greenant Creek. It's a Sacred Site and the Elders prefer you not to swim there. I did not swim, but I did make the effort to climb down (there's no path) and get a photo or two
Now, technically, I’m not meant to be in this photo. Tjaetabe Falls lies upstream Greenant Creek. It’s a Sacred Site and the Elders prefer you not to swim there. I did not swim, but I did make the effort to climb down (there’s no path) and get a photo or two
Tjaetable Falls
Tjaetable Falls
Tjaetable Falls, again
Tjaetable Falls, again
What the business end of Tjaetabe Falles looks like.
What the business end of Tjaetabe Falls looks like.
Upstream Greenant Creek upstream of Tjaetabe Falls is a delightful world of shaded pools and short waterfalls
Upstream Greenant Creek upstream of Tjaetabe Falls is a delightful world of shaded pools and short waterfalls
And spectacular spaghetti root sculptures
And spectacular spaghetti root sculptures
Back near the carpark, another of Greenant's little hidden gems
Back near the carpark, another of Greenant’s little hidden gems
They are called Cathedral Termite Mounds and can reach 5 metres high. Which is quite a structure for an animal barely more than a few millimetres
They are called Cathedral Termite Mounds and can reach 5 metres high. Which is quite a structure for an animal barely more than a few millimetres
Impressed!
Impressed!
Folmer Falls starts as a mild languid creek which runs along some suspiciously straight paths, suggesting its following a fault or joint in the rocks
Tolmer Falls starts as a mild languid creek which runs along some suspiciously straight paths, suggesting its following a fault or joint in the rocks
Then things start to get hairy as it reaches its End of The World
Then things start to get hairy as it reaches its End of The World
Gently heading for the End of The World
Gently heading for the End of The World
The End of The Wold at Folmers starts by pouring 3 metres into a washing machine with a couple of outlets in the rock
The End of The Wold at Tolmers starts by pouring 3 metres into a washing machine with a couple of outlets in the rock
Then it plummets a good 20 or more metres into a real canyonb
Then it plummets a good 20 or more metres into a real canyon
Very spectacular. By now I am well off The Path Parks and Wildlife like to herd humans along. So I had it all too myself
Very spectacular. By now I am well off The Path Parks and Wildlife like to herd humans along. So I had it all to myself
Pretty kool arch. Definitely walkable, though I decided I try my luck a bit too often to temp the fates. This I but photo'ed
Pretty kool arch. Definitely walkable, though I decided I try my luck a bit too often to temp the fates. Thus I but photo’ed it
Looks really powerful eh?
Looks really powerful eh?
Having exited the Washing Machine, the creek ends up in the canyon
Having exited the Washing Machine, the creek ends up in the canyon
By now I'm as deep as I can get in the canyon.
By now I’m as deep as I can get in the canyon.
It would be perfectly doable to take a swim. Although you'd better make sure you can get out of the water. Them rocks are pretty much straight
It would be perfectly doable to take a swim. Although you’d better make sure you can get out of the water. Them rocks are pretty much straight
The End of The World, as I emerge from the canyon
The End of The World, as I emerge from the canyon
A 100 or so metres from where I was in The Canyon, the Real End of the World begins ... Folmer Falls!
A 100 or so metres from where I was in The Canyon, the Real End of the World begins … Tolmer Falls!
Monsson Swamp: Tabletop Swamp. Haven for bird life. No warning signs about crocodiles but to me it does look a bit crocodiferous
Monsson Swamp: Tabletop Swamp. Haven for bird life. No warning signs about crocodiles but to me it does look a bit crocodiferous
So I was a bit nervous wading through the paper-barks near the swamp's edge
So I was a bit nervous wading through the paper-barks near the swamp’s edge
A Nankeen Night Heron, checking me out, at Rum Jungle Lake
A Nankeen Night Heron, checking me out, at Rum Jungle Lake

Rum Jungle is (in)famous. Australia’s original uranium mine, supplying both British and US nuclear weapons with lethality. So much for a peace loving nation. It closed a while back and I ended up camping there. There’s a delightful touch of irony to the well-rehabilitated site that’s exposed to the public. It was rehabilitated by, you guessed it, the taxpayer. Rio Tinto, the parent of the mining company which operated the mine, did not. Little wonder the mining industry has a poor reputation. Mininglegacies.org show other areas of the mine site which are not so well rehabilitated, plagued by that eternal problem of acid mine drainage. Check out http://www.mininglegacies.org/mines/northern-territory/rum-jungle/

Rum Jungle is/was Australia’s first large scale uranium mine – producing uranium for the American and British nuclear weapons from 1954 to 1971 (mininglegacies.org). Funnily enough I saw more wildlife at this site than I did inside Litchfield National Park. The interesting thing is that, Rio Tinto (parent mining company) did not rehabilitate the site. We taxpayers did. Again. As usual
Rum Jungle is/was Australia’s first large scale uranium mine – producing uranium for the American and British nuclear weapons from 1954 to 1971 (mininglegacies.org). Funnily enough I saw more wildlife at this site than I did inside Litchfield National Park.
The interesting thing is that, Rio Tinto (parent mining company) did not rehabilitate the site. We taxpayers did. Again. As usual

It’s a picnic area. Invitingly swimmable. There are no croc-warning signs. There are no ‘it’s safe for swimming’ signs either. I struggle to understand how a crocodile would find an old mine pit lake. So I go for a swim.

Later that evening I go for a wander. I only have my Petzl headlamp, somewhat limiting in its night-penetration abilities. Even so I am shocked to see small orange glowing lights in the shallows around the edge of the lake.

 

Rum Jungle Lake is a picnic site. You are not meant to camp there. I did. I also swam there. How would a saltwater crocodile makes its way into an mine pit lake? Well ... that night I counted at least ten individual orange glowing eyes! Crocodiles. Not sure if were freshies (harmless) or salties (maneaters). I did not swim again ;-)
Rum Jungle Lake is a picnic site. You are not meant to camp here. I did. I also swam here. How would a saltwater crocodile makes its way into an mine pit lake? Well … that night I counted at least ten individual orange glowing eyes! Crocodiles. Not sure if were freshies (harmless) or salties (maneaters). I did not swim again 😉

You know, I try really hard to come up with some other justification for them little orange lights floating around. And moving. Around. As in … it is an animal. And I can’t. The only animal I can think of which would have such glowing orange eyes are, you guessed it, crocodiles. At least ten, given the number of orange lamps I counted.

The dudes in Batchelor and the dude at the local caravan park don’t really know which type nor how many crocodiles could be living in the lake. Rumour talks of two – yes they actually defined a number – of freshwater crocodiles. Other rumours mention none. Their rumours I realised need some serious updating. I don’t swim in the lake again.

Interestingly I saw more wildlife at the Rum Jungle lake than in Litchfield National Park. Agile wallabies, tons of waterbirds, HUGE fish splashing about. That kind of thing. The dude from the nearby store reckons its coz not many people visit it.

Rainbow Skink. The are everywhere, but somewhat hard to photo. This one allowed me the privilage
Rainbow Skink. The are everywhere, but somewhat hard to photo. This one allowed me the privilege
Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink
These are Magnetic Termite Mounds. Thin and aligned directly north-south means there's always 50% of the mound in shade, keeping the castle cool. Clever eh?
These are Magnetic Termite Mounds. Thin and aligned directly north-south means there’s always 50% of the mound in shade, keeping the castle cool. Clever eh?
Pretty thin
Pretty thin
Yet pretty broad
Yet pretty broad
Buley Falls (& Florence Falls) were THE most busy of all Litchfield's falls. The ease of access combined with their beauty make it an obvious crown + kid pleaser
Buley Falls (& Florence Falls) were THE most busy of all Litchfield’s falls. The ease of access combined with their beauty make it an obvious crown + kid pleaser
Buley looking downstream. 5 minutes after I took the photo a busload turned up and the pool was suddenly full
Buley looking downstream. 5 minutes after I took the photo a busload turned up and the pool was suddenly full
Looking upstream Buley. People lounging and enjoying the whole way up. And it got busier and busier as the day went on
Looking upstream Buley. People lounging and enjoying the whole way up. And it got busier and busier as the day went on
Easy to see why it's such a popular site. Beautiful pools (with no crocs)
Easy to see why it’s such a popular site. Beautiful pools (with no crocs)
There's an easy paved <1500 meter Shady Creek Walk between Buley and Florence Falls. Any wild spontaneous step off the path and a short 50 meter through the grass nets you your own pool. Or two. Or many. Here though I share it with some other intrepid pool-huntersd
There’s an easy paved <1500 meter Shady Creek Walk between Buley and Florence Falls. Any wild spontaneous step off the path and a short 50 meter through the grass nets you your own pool. Or two. Or many. Here though I share it with some other intrepid pool-hunters
My Pool. I spent most time here, both walking to Florence Falls, and when coming back
My Pool. I spent most time here, both walking to Florence Falls, and when coming back
My pool, halfway between Buley and Florence Falls
My pool, halfway between Buley and Florence Falls
It was a series of cascades and pools. Great
It was a series of cascades and pools. Great
Deep too
Deep too
Florence was full. On a quiet day. Easter sees up to 1000 people, so a tour guide told me
Florence was full. On a quiet day. Easter sees up to 1000 people, so a tour guide told me
Three maybe four meters deep in places, clear and wonderful
Three maybe four meters deep in places, clear and wonderful
Florence Fall's popularity is not surprising
Florence Fall’s popularity is not surprising
Another Florence foto
Another Florence foto
Errr, and (yet) another
Errr, and (yet) another
135 steps takes you to the carpark where you get a great view
135 steps takes you to the carpark where you get a great view
Great vew
Great view
A pano of the surrounds
A pano of the surrounds
And from where you can watch The Heroes jump from the top of them. Not recommended, certainly by Nanny State Australia
And from where you can watch The Heroes jump from the top of them. Not recommended, certainly by Nanny State Australia
Deep in the monsoon forest lurk things that can sting ... lovely though
Deep in the monsoon forest lurk things that can sting … lovely though

I leave Litchfield and make my way towards Pine Creek where 30 years ago I spent near six months working as a geologist. Back then Pine Creek was a serious has-been, with no operating mines and little interest. My job was to assess old Chinese mine workings. Great time. Lots of lizards like the frilled neck, goannas, blue-tongues, snakes like the black-headed python and olive python, huge water buffaloes (now recognised as a pest), even baby flying foxes. No tourists.

Nowadays it’s a tourist destination, complete with large caravan park with all the trimmings, a Goldfields Loop to drive along, lots of existing and recently closed mines to gawp at. And no wildlife. I haven’t seen a goanna, nor a frilled neck, nor any snake. All gone. Not sure why.

Robin Falls is well out of the mainstream foreign tourist loop. Instead it is locals, with kids, with dogs, for dogs are not allowed in the National Parks
Robin Falls is well out of the mainstream foreign tourist loop. Instead it is locals, with kids, with dogs, for dogs are not allowed in the National Parks
Me. It was quite chilly, being pretty early in the day'n'all
Me. It was quite chilly, being pretty early in the day’n’all
Robin Falls
Robin Falls
Than I toured around Pine Creek's Northern Goldfield's Loop. What was a sleepy nowhere 30 years ago is now a tourist destination! My how things change. Not sure, though, what this property owner wants people to keep out of ...
Then I toured around Pine Creek’s Northern Goldfield’s Loop. What was a sleepy nowhere 30 years ago is now a tourist destination! My how things change.
Not sure, though, what this property owner wants people to keep out of …
Pine Creek Goldfield's Loop Savannah views. I don't remember this much grass
Pine Creek Goldfield’s Loop Savannah views. I don’t remember this much grass

One possible source of ‘no wildlife’ is readily visible. Fire. Australia, certainly the North at the end of the wet season, is ablaze. Obsessed with avoiding the Tasmanian Fires (1967), Ash Wednesday Fires (1983), Black Saturday Fires (2009), New South Wales Fires (2013), and lots of other lesser fires, the Australian approach is to ape Aboriginal land management techniques which included burning-off large tracts of land. And so, as I drive around I am constantly surrounded by small fires simply burning along. Smoke is constantly visible somewhere or other. Successful it may be at reducing major wildfire risk I can’t help but wonder on the poor critters who have to get out of its way.

Australia is fanatically obsessed with reducing fire risk, so the country is permanently ablaze in a low-level grass-burn to reduce high intensity fire risk. Am sure it's lethal for biodiversity though.
Australia is fanatically obsessed with reducing fire risk, so the country is permanently ablaze in a low-level grass-burn to reduce high intensity fire risk. Am sure it’s lethal for biodiversity though.
Burnt lands
Burnt lands

Add the dreaded cane toad, a deliberately released invasive species which is simply destroying wildlife across its ever increasing range across the Top End. It’s a large predator (kid you not, it’s the size of house brick) and it’s poisonous to anything which tries to eat it. Like raptors, reptiles, mammals and anything else. And it breeds really fast. And, apparently, competition for territory (new) is selecting for ever faster and jumpier toads as it relentlessly seeks new territory.

Then the shear volume of people travelling around nowadays as 4WD technologies coupled with extensive road improvement programs has seriously democratised the tour-Australia experience. There are hundreds of vaners driving around and it’s still not main-peak season.

Perhaps I should not be surprised in the noticeable drop in biodiversity. It’s a tough call to survive all they are up against.

A bit of beauty in a muddy puddle
A bit of beauty in a muddy puddle
Pretty eh?
Pretty eh?
Personally I'm not sure if it is the constant burning, the arrival of the dreaded cane toad, or mass tourism, or all three, but there are a LOT LOT less lizards than I remember. This one scurried across the road before posing on a tree long enough for a snap
Personally I’m not sure if it is the constant burning, the arrival of the dreaded cane toad, or mass tourism, or all three, but there are a LOT LOT less lizards than I remember.
This one scurried across the road before posing on a tree long enough for a snap
How this can be 'good' for biodiversity is beyond me. The terrain was aflame from Pine Creek all 50 km to Hayes Creek, where I camped
How this can be ‘good’ for biodiversity is beyond me. The terrain was aflame from Pine Creek all 50 km to Hayes Creek, where I camped

It’s all very pleasant but quite sanitised. Something’s missing. As if Nanny State Australia has decided Australia itself needs taming. And so it feels tame. I miss the odd wild bit. That was what the Top End used to signify. Now? It’s a huge well organised sanitised ‘wild’ life ‘wilderness’ theme park rendered harmless.

I need something more. Something less sanitised, less cushy, less accessible, more authentic. Something … wild.

“Careful” whispered Little Voice in my ear, “for what you ask for, you may just get”

In Jabiru I inquire at the Northern Land Council  as I wait for Scott to wake up (he finished night shift at 0600), on “What do I need should I want to visit Arnhem Land?” for in Arnhem Land I believe I may get what I ask for.

Max

Jabiru, 24 May 2016

3 thoughts on “Litchfield National Park. A world of waterfalls

  1. The swarms of little nibbly fish in the water holes are legend. People come from other solar systems for the experience. It’s even more zen after a couple of beers.

    Liked by 1 person

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