Our final must see destination in Australia’s Top End was Litchfield National Park. Litchfield is only a short drive to the south of Darwin and very popular with the locals. There is a saying in Darwin of “Kaku-don’t and Litchfield-do” because of the huge crowds that swamp Kakadu National Park compared to Litchfield. Like the locals claim, I found Litchfield to be a really beautiful park and I wish I had a different vehicle to see it all because most of the roads in the park are dirt roads and according to my rental agreement I can’t take a campervan on to any dirt roads. However, the areas that are paved did allow us to see some of the parks best attractions. Here is one of the first things we saw when we entered the park, the magnetic termite mounds:
I would never have thought termite mounds would be so interesting but these ones were really quite impressive. They literally looked like a large graveyard stretched across the horizon:
What is so amazing about these termites is that they create these mounds to point towards the sun at the narrowest point. This keeps the mounds cooler compared to having the wide portion of the mound being in direct sunlight. If these termites do not build their mounds properly they will die due to, too much heat hitting the mound. The termites also play a key part in the environment by picking up foliage on the forest floors thus reducing the threat of the ever present bushfires.
The termites aren’t the only ones who construct massive mounds in the Top End. All over the Top End we saw the largest ant hills we have ever seen. This one below is about 10 feet tall:
What brings most people to Litchfield however is not the termites or ants if you can believe it, but people come here for the swimming holes. The park is filled with waterfalls and some of the best swimming holes in the entire Top End. The falls you see below are Florence Falls:
What makes the waterholes in Litchfield so popular with the locals is the fact that there are no crocodiles in the vast majority of these waterholes. Most of the park is located on the top of a large mountainous plateau which means the crocs can’t climb up there to get into the waterholes. Heck our campervan had a hard time getting up the plateau much less a crocodile.
There are numerous hiking trails in the park as well and the easiest trail worth checking out is the loop trail that begins near Florence Falls. The trail travels steeply down to the valley floor where it follows the stream that runs from the base of the waterfall:
The trail follows the stream straight to the falls and the adjacent swimming hole:
From the waterfall the trail begins to ascend up the valley through thick rain forest:
Along the way there is an old cave used by Aboriginals long ago to check out:
After reaching the top of the valley the trail exits the thick forest and enters the semi-arid scrub land that can be found in areas in the Top End away from rivers:
The trail and the waterfall is a great way to spend a day at the park and is an interesting look at the various environments that make the Top End a great place visit. So if you are up in the Darwin area definitely give Litchfield National Park a look if you have the time. You won’t be disappointed.
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