Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Litchfield National Park and camping at Florence Falls

Aaaah Litchfield National Park. It's like going to your neighbour's place when they've just put in a new pool - everyone's there with a towel.

We drove down the Stuart Highway and into the winding hills before we hit the park and our camp spot at Florence Falls. Even though we'd arrived pretty early at 2pm and the campsite was virtually empty, it still took us half an hour to decide on a spot, 10 minutes to move to another, 35 minutes to realise we couldn't fit in that spot and Fiela to drive off in a huff to the previous spot, then another two hours to set up after we tried to fix a few things on the camper. Not a super wonderful start.

Our  eventual campsite at Florence Falls.

Luckily the Florence Falls campsite is really good, with toilets and showers  and only a quick five minute walk to the top of the falls. We found this out the next day when we dragged ailing children and our city living arses over there. It was gorgeous.

Florence Falls and some whingey sick kids.

We met some great people here, but as is the way sometimes,  the majority were... How shall I put this? Not our kind of people? They ranged from the Can't String Two Words Together,  to the Won't Shut Up kinds. There were big drinkers, teetotallers, tired Germans, weird French people and shy Australians. One notable invited himself to sit at our fire, conceded he was in the middle of a midlife crisis, had left his wife and wasn't sure she'd be 'there' when he got back, drank himself steadily stupid and when Fiela said he was going to bed later that night (I'd exited very soon after the mid life  crisis comment), he had a sook and said "well fine I suppose I'll have to sit here by myself!" Yes, you will.

Beautiful Florence Falls.

 We don't have animals, but the kids hold the same kind of social magnetism as a dog at the park,  and we were forced to interact with people we'd normally choose not to. But that is the great lottery you play in campgrounds: most of the time you lose, sometimes you make your money back, but every now and then you hit the jackpot.

And as Fiela is really one of the luckiest people I know, it follows that at the next camping spot of Daly River, a pure fishing stop with literally nothing for me and the children to do, where he had sold it on the proviso of " We'll stay two nights max. I promise... " we all hit the jackpot and stayed happily for five.

Anyway. Here are the photos of Litchfield NP.

The Buley Rockpools. This was about a 1.5km walk from our campsite and was gorgeous. The water was pretty chilly in comparison to the usual caravan pool stew we were used to, but it was fresh and lovely.

Loving Buley Rockholes- apparently it gets so busy there's no space in the carpark, and less in the pools.

Some of the rock holes from the top.

Warming up on the rocks: their father's children.

Buley Rock Pools with Fiela in the middle.

A deep pool for a deep man. "I wonder how long I can hold my breath down there..."

The creek down from Florence Falls. Just a rocks and water shot really. Sorry.

Florence Falls from the swimming hole at the bottom.

Tolmer Falls. Small endangered bats live in caves at the bottom so this is as close as you can get. (I lie, you can walk around the top of the falls and get a good view of viewing platform I took this photo from.)

Litchfield Savannah.

Wangi Falls. This is the main attraction in Litchfield. It was pretty amazing, but there are better places if you've got a 4WD and don't mind a quick walk (Wangi is only a hundred metres or so from the carpark).

Female globe spider and her male counterpart. That's him, Tiny on the right.

Forest Fairy.

Wangi... A crowded melting pot of Euro Trash, Grey Nomads and Feral Kids (aka The Uys Huis).

To the right of the smaller fall, a little deep pool had been carved out of the cliff. You just had to climb a few metres up and had your own warm pool. Fiela and I conjectured that the noticeably higher temperature was possible from the water being warmed up over the cliff face as it fell in the pool... Or maybe the more agile backpackers and Grey Nomads had simply added their own special heat to the pool. Not sure, but it was pleasantly warmer than the bit swimming hole!

Wangi, warm pee pool and Marguerite's head just visible.

A magnetic termite mound- they are always built on the North/South axis give or take a few centimetres!

Magnetic termite mound with a large cathedral one in the background. Apparently the termite queen pushes out 30,000 little termites a year, and lives for 80 years. I felt tired just listening to that.

One of the termite mounds.

Amazing, gorgeous, peaceful and uncrowded Tjanyera Falls at  Sandy Creek. If you have a 4WD, go here. It's incredible; even the walk in (1.7km one way) is beautiful, and you will be rewarded with clear, cool water and the most wonderful experience. I felt like our travelling mojo was starting to come back a bit here..

At the falls, managed to climb a few metres up and jump into the deep pool below.
Such fun and so daring for a frumpy mummy type such as oneself!

More globe spiders.

Purple mermaid catching some warming sun rays on a rock far right.

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