Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Berry Springs and Territory Park

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 16, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Tumbling Waters Holiday Park

We were trying to decide which park to stay in at Berry Springs and stopped in at the Lakes Resort Caravan Park as it had advertised on its website, a 30m water slide in the park but when we pulled up, the slide looked in need of some major TLC and when I asked if it was going, they said they are fixing it up…..so….we went on to Tumbling Waters Holiday Park and so glad we did.

Colourful Peacocks

It is a beautiful park, literally nestled in a tropical garden on a huge property and the owners are the loveliest of people too.  There is a billabong in the middle of the park which houses about 8 or 9 fresh water crocs and some bird life as well.  You can walk along the boardwalk which goes over the billabong but it is well fenced so no dramas about getting too close.  They have an aviary which houses guinea pigs, chooks and an assortment of birds, an outdoor movie screens twice weekly and a great pool.  We only stayed for 2 nights but we’ll be sure to stay longer next year when we return this way.  There were some peacocks and peahens roaming around the park and they came right up to us, then off to see some other campers.  We heard the rustling noises of the “Orange-Footed Scrub Fowl” and found them under some bushes near the caravan as well.  What an amazingly beautiful place!

So close to us

We got into Berry Springs before lunch and after setting up we headed into the Berry Springs Nature Reserve to swim in the natural springs.

Berry Springs

It is a beautiful spot and the springs feed into a couple of pools which were great for having a swim in.

Boys in the river at Berry Springs

The water runs like a bit of a river between the three pools so the kids and I got our snorkels and masks out and investigated the fish and other water life along the “river”.  On our way back home we stopped to get some local produce and some home-made ice-cream from a farm.  Some of the local farmers have gotten together and they all bring produce to the one place to sell to the public – we got eggs, vegies and fruit and all were very yummy and tasty.  We decided on an early night as we wanted to go to the Territory Wildlife Park the next day and had heard it would take all day to see most of the park-they weren’t wrong!

Territory Wildlife Park

We got to the park at 9am and read the maps and timetables for different events that were on for the day.  There is a shuttle bus/train service that runs around the park and we made good use of it.  We did walk a fair bit of it but if we hadn’t used the shuttle we wouldn’t have seen all that we did.  It is HUGE!  Wade was in heaven, I mean a wildlife park, come on!

Dan kissing croc

First stop was the walk-through aquarium.  The building is set up so you walk through a series of tanks with first fresh water then salt water marine life, then you actually walk through and under the aquarium.  It’s soooo cool!  There is a salt water croc here who is HUGE! The boys took photos pretending to get very close to him, but luckily always with some glass in between them.

Swordfish in aquarium

The aquarium is fresh water and has heaps of barramundi, whip rays and all sorts of fish in it.  We moved onto the area called “The Sandbar” where I got to feed the fresh water whip rays.  They felt so weird, like a sponge on the outside and underneath was so soft.  There was a colourful Jabiru that kept trying to steal the show, which we found out was raised in the park, left 18 months ago and has now returned.

Michelle feeding whiprays

The archer fish are a silver coloured fish with black stripes on their bodies and when you hold a piece of bread or a stick or anything just above the water, they will survey the area, then spit out water to see how far you are away from them, then they jump up and out of the water and take the food or insects.  There were 4 whip rays, one was about 5m from head to toe and the others were a bit smaller.  To feed them you need to bury your feet in the sand so that when they take the fish from your hand, they don’t accidentally take a toe with them! Okay…..all was going well till I put some fish in the water and the big one came over, had a sniff and then lunged onto my feet – I just jumped back and said “Shit!” much to the amusement of my loving family and other onlookers! I got back into the water with the others and fed them some more.  It was an amazing experience.  Kids had to be over 15 to do it so the boys couldn’t do it. We had just enough time to dry off and catch the shuttle bus/train to the next part which was the “Birds of Prey” at the “flight deck”.

Black Buzzard

The lady keeper brought out a Black Buzzard and we watched it throw rocks at an emu egg to open it, then watched it soar! They are amazingly, powerful creatures and most beautiful too.

Dan with Wedge-Tailed Eagle Mascot

We sat and watched the rest of the show and afterwards we could have a chat and some photos with an owl and a big, wedge-tailed eagle.

Wade with owl

The keeper had an owl out and for a gold coin donation, you could put on the protective leather glove and have a hold and photo with it.  Wade was in absolute heaven!  There was also an army private who was at the show and we later learned that the very large, wedge-tailed eagle was the platoon mascot.  It was his job (and he shares it with 3 others) to train the bird to go out on parade with them, and to attend any functions that the army puts in an appearance at, ie-V8 supercars, etc.  What a job!  But in saying that the bird is HUGE and I wouldn’t like to have to hold him on my arm for the length of any parade! Kids enjoyed getting close to him, but he apparently doesn’t like children, women and especially blonde women…go figure.

Wade feeding a joey

Next stop was the cafe for lunch as we were getting pretty hungry by now.  There were kangaroos with joeys outside the cafe and they love fruit, so the keepers had some bowls of fruit pieces to feed them.  They were so cute.

Northern Quoll

We stopped in to see the Nocturnal House and saw an albino python.  The Nocturnal House has had the lighting switched to reverse so that they are in night-time during our day so we can see them at their busiest.  A lot of the animal were still very quiet and some asleep so I don’t know how well that’s working out:) We listened to an interesting talk about the fruit bats then headed back to the aquarium to see it again before heading off to go to a “Behind the Scenes” excursion.  We bused down to an area in the research houses, where we were shown the Northern Quoll.  The keeper/ranger discussed how the it was nearly extinct and how the breeding and behavioural program of one lady had brought them back from extinction.  I won’t bore you with the details….I say that only because I wasn’t bored but Joel and the boys were constantly yawning and asking “Can we go yet?”

We bused back to the main part of the park and continued on to see the billabong, which has crocs, fish and big pelicans in it.  There is a very big boardwalk around and through the billabong so you get to see all sorts of different wildlife.

Colourful Jabiru

We headed off to the Monsoon forest Walk and the walk through aviaries.

Monsoon thunder and lightning storm

When you first walk up the path, it triggers a lightning, thunder and rain storm show as you walk into the first hut.  It was so loud but absolutely fabulous.  We went back a couple of times to re-trigger the rain and thunder and lightning storm ‘cos it was so much fun:).  Then we walked through the aviaries, (all 12 of them) and found all of the birds that had placards in the viewing areas.  Wade was on fire by this stage and Daniel was joining in too.  We saw so many beautiful birds and the last aviary is “one of the largest domed walk-through aviaries in the Southern Hemisphere”.  It was awesome, to coin a phrase that Daniel thinks he invented!!  The dome is in several levels and has turtles and magpie geese on the ground level to crimson finches, kingfishers, doves and too many to remember.  I should have got Wade to write this part of the blog!  You could spend hours in here just walking through and still not see all the birds, it was amazing.

Fruit bat

Beautiful blue kookaburra (Kingfisher)

Turtles in the aviary

Shuttle bus back home

By this time it was 5:45 and we were waiting for the last bus shuttle to take us back to the entrance of the park.  It was a long day but we all agreed it was one of the best places we’ve been to and I would recommend to anyone visiting NT to make it a MUST SEE place.

We headed back to the caravan but decided to stop at the Litchfield Tavern for dinner and a drink ‘cos we were absolutely buggered.  It was a beautiful pub/tavern and the meals were delicious and good-sized servings too.  We headed back to camp and packed a few things up as we head off to Darwin tomorrow.

Till next time,

Ciao`.

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