Friday, November 8, 2013

Four and a half waterfalls, Buley Rockhole, and Katherine's Gorge

So I've wanted to visit the Northern Territory ever since seeing Crocodile Dundee, and I finally made it there this week! With the company of my friend Megan, we succeeded in seeing four and a half waterfalls, a rockhole, a gorge, a lagoon, fresh and salt water crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, a monitor lizard, and several giant termite mounds all in 72 hours. People who know me well, know that I love waterfalls, and I'm happy to say that Darwin and the surrounding area exceeded my expectations in that department.

Diving with "Chopper" a salt water croc in the Cage of Death

We arrived around midnight in the pouring rain at Chili's backpackers hostel to a street full of people partying. We also couldn't help but notice how much more fun Melaleuca, the hostel across the street looked. Luckily we spent our third night there. After tracking down the late check in staff we snuck into our dorm room and crashed for the night. The next morning we headed to Crocosaurus Cove to see some of the indigenous fish and reptiles up close and personal. We dove with an 80 year old, 5.5 meter long salt water crocodile while in the safety of the glass cage of death! Then we got to feed all the baby crocodiles! In the afternoon we headed over to the lagoon for a refreshing swim and an escape from the extreme heat and humidity of Darwin. Along the way we passed the Parliament house and a memorial for the 1942 bombing of Darwin. Overall, there's not much to do in Darwin city, but the surrounding National Parks were well worth the trip!

Waterfalls at Litchfield National Park

Day two we took a day tour to Litchfield National Park (100 km South West of Darwin), which included stops at Florence Falls, Tolmer Falls, Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole and the ever exciting termite mounds. Other then the educational pit stop at the termite mounds where we learned a great deal about the complex lifestyle of termites, we spent the day viewing, swimming in and climbing waterfalls. At Florence Falls we floated in the natural pool at the bottom of the twin falls while taking in the surreal and breathtaking view. At Wangi Falls we climbed about half way up one of the waterfalls and discovered a hidden plunge pool. Unfortunately, we couldn't swim in Tolmer Falls because it's home to several salt water crocodiles. We ended the day at Buley Rockhole, which is basically the Australian version of Slide Rock (Sedona, Arizona), we swam in the pools alongside monitor lizards in between the mini falls, and did some "cliff  jumping" off of the rocks.

Katherine River in Nitmiluk National Park

Day three we did a tour of Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge about 300 km South of Darwin. Edith Falls  was a nice swimming spot although the waterfall was much less impressive then those at Litchfield. We spent the afternoon on a boat ride through the stunningly beautiful Katherine Gorge where we spotted fresh water crocodiles and 8000 year old aboriginal rock art.

Edith Falls 

Overall Darwin was spectacular and even though there was plenty more to see, I think three days was a sufficient amount of time to get a good feel for what the Northern Territory has to offer. Along the way we saw several wallabies, crocodiles and other wildlife, met some interesting people, and experienced some beautiful waterfalls!

Feeding baby crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove

Jumping into one of the natural pools at Buley Rockhole

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