Funny, but what we’re now thinking of as possibly the best three days of our trip so far, almost didn’t happen.
We visited Litchfield NP 6 years ago, and as we planned this trip at home, thought we really didn’t need to visit the park a second time. A last minute change of plans (made over a bottle of wine in Katherine) and we were on our way there once again. It seemed silly not to go somewhere we’d enjoyed so much when we were so close.
We decided to stay at the same park as we did 6 years ago. It claimed then to be the cheapest, and at now, $29 a night and 7 nights for the price of 6, still seems to be pretty good value. It was the Sunday of the Queens’ Birthday long weekend when we arrived, but no worries about getting a large shaded site. After we’d settled in, we headed to the bar for a drink-something we really enjoyed on the last visit. A can of beer and glass of CASK wine cost us $12 so that was the first and only time we did that. It used to be a really reasonable, fun place to sit and have a drink with other park guests, but not anymore!
Like I said, we’ve been to Litchfield before, so we had a few places we definitely wanted to go to again, one or two we were happy to miss, and on the lookout for something new to do.
Day one we drove into the park stopping at the termite mounds. It’s much more organised now than our first visit ever was,
with lots of information, boardwalks and car parking-used by many many cars. I’m not so sure you can’t get better pictures by the side of the road when you spot a mound you like! The information on the various types of mounds etc. makes the stop worth it though. We stopped not long after the mounds at a place called the Tabletop Swamp. I got some pretty photos of water plants and paper bark trees, but there wasn’t much bird life due to the dry wet season they had this year. I wanted to visit Blyth homestead and Sandy Creek again, but all those roads were closed.
Next we decided to visit The Cascades for the first time. It was a 1.3k walk in to the falls so we headed off on a great track. After kilometre, it dissolved into a slippery scramble over wet and dry rough rocks. I’m not particularly sure footed, so I found it difficult, but the reward for all the hardships was a gorgeous pool we had mostly to ourselves for well over an hour. Eventually some other people turned up, but we can share! The temperature of the water was perfect, it had a lovely sandy bottom and it was deep enough to swim.
The last 300 metres scramble had been so hard, we decided to walk 1.7ks to the car park via the Upper Cascades, hoping it would be easier. It was hot with no shade, up and down over loose rock, we weren’t carrying enough water for it, my dress was synthetic and it all made me miserable. It was bad decision. We had to go to Wangi Falls 5 ks down the road and swim to recover! Wangi was busy as usual, but just what we needed after the walk out of the Cascades.
Tuesday we went into Palmerston for some shopping and lunch. After two visits to Darwin in other years, that was as close as we felt we needed to go.
Wednesday 12th, we went back out into the park for some more swimming and sight seeing . We visited the Bamboo Creek Tin Mine ruins, then lunched at Walker Creek (could have had a swim). After lunch, we walked the 1.3 ks back into The Cascades. Once again we had it mostly to ourselves for an hour or so. We met lots of people who almost got there then turned around and went back, but this second time, I was much more confident clambering over the rocks and wading through the water. We swam and relaxed then walked out the way we’d come in which was so much easier than the round trip we did on the Monday. On our way home, we drove into Florence Falls and walked down the 135 steps to the plunge pool below the falls. It was lovely, but the sooty grunter fish(about 30-40cm) nipping at mossie bites on my calves were a bit unnerving . Last time we visited, these falls were closed due to burning off so they were good to see and would be on my list of must visits next time!
Thursday we drove back to Katherine stopping at Edith Falls for another swim. We’ve had the best time!