jeudi 5 juillet 2012

Litchfield National Park

A day trip to Litchfield National Park.
Entrance to this fascinating 143sq km area is just 129km south from Darwin.
The area was designated as a National Park in 1986. 

The Park is historically home to the Aboriginal Wagait people. The Finniss Exploration was the first European connection within the area and the park was named after Frederick Henry Litchfield, a member of the expedition. For 75 years until the mid 20th Century, the area was the centre for tin and cooper mining.
Magnetic Termite Mounds
Driving though the park you see many gigantic termite mounds.
The mounds, standing up to 2m in height, are in a north-south orientation.
This configuration acts as a built-in temperature control mechanism, allowing only the least possible surface to be exposed to the heat of the sun.

Florence Falls
A spectacular double waterfall set amidst monsoon rainforest. 

While on my visit, I came across a group of tourists with a guide. I heard him say something interesting about termites and didgeridoos. He was explaining how this certain type of termite, that only lives in the north of australia, hollows out eucalyptus trees. Aborigines would knock on the trees to see if they were hollow or not. The hollow ones were perfect for making didgeridoos (half the work of hollowing the wood had been done by the termites). As these termites only live up north, didgeridoos were only made in this part of australia.

Tolmer Falls
Tolmer Falls is one of the most spectacular falls, cascading over 2 high escarpments into a distant, deep plunge pool.
Cristal clear water at the foot of the falls.
At the top of the Tolmer Falls.

The Wangi Falls

A walk nearby the Wangi Falls
Yet again, mosquito heaven, only this time i wasn't wearing repellent! Whenever i would stop walking i would be stormed by those horrible pests! And i really didn't want to get bitten, not after having learnt that there are still outbursts of the dengue disease in the Northern Territory!
After a while you get used to big spiders!

Time to head back to Darwin.
I decided to take the 'other' road, instead of heading back on my tracks.
A sign did warn that there was going to be 40km of gravel road. I thought that the place being a popular tourist area, the gravel road would be in good condition...
...I was wrong...
The road was really bad. My car was bumping and skidding everywhere! 
Plus during all those km i did not meet one car...
I really prayed hard not to break down out here!
After what seemed like ages of hellish driving, I saw tarmac! I was so relieved!

But it didn't last long!
I have no idea why in Australia, in the middle of their gravel roads they put 1 or 2km of tarmac road. Is it just to get your hopes up high?
'hmmm, I hope i don't end up like that car!'
Nah! All went well, I and my car got out in one piece!


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