Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Litchfield National Park

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 15, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the delay but we’ve been busy enjoying ourselves:)) and just returned from a 2 weeks hiatus in Phuket so now it’s back into it!

When I last wrote we had just arrived at Litchfield Tourist and Van Park.  The caravan park was very nice, the people were very informative about different parts of the park and meals there were great.  The first day we decided to do see the southern end of the park, which is mostly 4WD area.

Blyth Homestead

We headed for the Blyth Homestead Ruins and crossed a fairly deep water crossing, then we read about the Sargent Family who raised 14 children in this small homestead.  The outpost station, next to the tin mine, has been set up with old photos and mementos from 1928 onwards and makes for very interesting reading.  We would have stayed longer here but we also found the biggest, meanest march flies I have ever seen.  They were biting us non-stop, even Joel, who normally isn’t bothered by march flies or even mozzies and the like, so we headed off towards Sandy Creek/Tjaynera Falls.

Sandy Creek Falls

Good 4WDriving tacks with numerous water crossings, some a bit deeper and darker than others=Joel was enjoying himself!  The walk is about 3.4km return, walking alongside the creek.  The pool below the falls was the quite cold but very refreshing after the good walk.  Wade had bought himself a dragon necklace in Broome and had it on when swimming but found he had lost it in the water.  Joel and I searched around where we had been swimming, and even though it was over our heads, the water was crystal clear (and still cold), with lots of   big rocks so we managed to find the steel dragon but not the black leather string. I was amazed we found the dragon but he must have been meant to keep it. We finished the walk and headed off to Surprise Creek Falls and passed a zillion, grey-coloured termite mounds.

Magnetic Termite Mounds

The termite mounds here are called magnetic termite mounds and they look decidedly different from the ones around Coral Bay and Exmouth.  The stand up to 2m tall and are in a north-south orientation which acts like a temperature control mechanism, allowing the least possible surface area to be heated up.  Amazing – who would’ve thought termites could be so smart! Sometime later we arrived at Surprise Creek Falls.  It was a fairly short walk compared to what we have done before and we spent the whole afternoon here.  There is a series of falls that cascade down into very deep plunge pools.  The boys took great delight in finding some more places to jump off from great heights and into pools.  Access to the higher pools is basically by climbing around the rocks lining the pools and up to the next level-I felt like I was in a computer game, jumping rocks to get to the next level! Access to these falls is only by 4WD so it is not as busy as some of the other falls we would visit, but we didn’t mind as it gave us more time to play and bask in the sun.  It was a beautiful spot and our favourite of all the falls we visited here in this park. One of the tracks along here is called Reynolds Road and it has a few interesting water crossings along it, where you can’t see the other side before you cross and one which was a lot deeper than it looked. Luckily we didn’t get stuck in any of them. At the bottom pool the boys decided it would be great fun to jump all over Joel in the water, eventually stacking up on top of him.  It’s great to see his back has improved so much that he can still be doing this with the boys!  Oh and Daniel’s gonna kill me but we’ve been teasing him about his voice – it’s changing already, with pitches up and down – hee hee. We stopped in at Tolmer Falls on the way home as you are not allowed to walk to these falls because of the rare bats that live there but they were quite spectacular none-the-less.  Back to camp for dinner at the caravan park and back out to see more of the park tomorrow.

Surprise Creek Falls

Wade's jump

Dan's jump

Human totem pole

Tolmer Falls

Next day we headed to Greenant Creek and walked to Tjaetaba Falls.  It’s about a 3 km walk and most of it is uphill on the way to the falls, which luckily meant it would be downhill on the way back – which is how we sell it to the kids:) The falls are very nice and there is a plunge pool at the top which wasn’t very big, but….you guessed it, it was deep enough to jump off the edge into.  We met another family and another couple and we were there for hours.  We had been told that not a lot of people go there as the walk is so uphill and rocky, but it was beautiful.

Greenant Pool-Falls

The pool was soooo close to the edge of the falls though and just had to make sure Wade didn’t “just want to check it out”.  We had lunch in the car park then off to see Wangi Falls.  It had been closed the for the previous few days as there was a salt water croc they had to get rid of, but it was open the day we decided to visit it as the croc had been caught.

Wangi Falls

It is apparently a VERY popular place and from the amount of people we saw there, is a well known tourist attraction.  We didn’t realise how “commercial” it was until we got out of the car in our hiking boots to walk through the car park, then a ‘huge’ walk to the falls of about 200m on a fully paved road.  We thought it would be like the other walks, through the bush but you can just wear thongs and bathers and leave the rest of your gear in the car. There were hundreds of people there, such a stark contrast to where we had been yesterday and this morning.  The falls are just beautiful though and we still swam out across the pool/lake to the falls, where, yep you guessed it, the boys (and I mean Joel as well) all climbed up and jumped in off the falls.  There was a big sand bar in the middle of the pool/lake and it was amazing to see how many people were struggling to swim out to the bar, as the water was not very deep – makes you realise how much swimming (and swimming lessons) are such a big part of being Australian.  We headed off to Florence Falls pretty much straight away and so glad we did.  The Falls are magnificent.  The water is cooler than where we had been but it is sooooo clear and was full of fish and I mean fish about a foot long, heaps of them.   When we got there, people were dipping in the water but the boys swam over to the falls and did their thing.  Before you know it some german girls and some english guys headed over as well and joined in, climbing up onto the falls and jumping off.  We stayed here for the rest of the day as it was so beautiful and the kids were having so much fun.

Florence Falls

We stopped in to look at Buley Rock Holes which was exactly like it sounded – heaps of rock pools formed along the river, but we decided to save it for another time.  We had passed a hitchhiker when we left Greenant and seemed to see him after we had stopped to see some falls and get back on the road again twice more.  We thought we must be meant to give him a lift, so we pulled over and picked him up. Nice bloke, been living up near one of the old tin mines in the park and on his way to see a mate. We took him as far as the caravan park and said our farewells.  After a very long day we all had showers, dinner and start pack up as we head off to Berry Springs tomorrow.  We have seen heaps of cane toads on our travels and unfortunately got up-close-and-personal with one.  I went to put on my hiking boots this morning, which we leave outside, and was having trouble getting my foot all the way in and it did feel a little squishy.  Ooohhh nooooo, i pulled my foot out and shook the shit out of the boot and sure enough there was a disgusting cane toad who’d been using my boot to sleep in.  Yuk!  After all that shaking he was damn near dead, but finished him off and put him in the bin. EEEwwwwww.

Till next time,

Ciao`.

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