Yesterday evening smoke was billowing into the atmosphere darkening the sky. It was a few kilometres form here but if I’d been at home I would have left the area because for a while we could even see the red glow of the fire. Before we went to bed though it had died down. This morning everything was covered in burn debris but nothing showed any sign of damage.
After hosing off the car we set off for Darwin. I needed to buy a new pair of sandals because my other ones broke and it’s definitely too hot for me to wear sneakers. We also wanted to have lunch on Stokes Hill Wharf, for old times sake. Along the way we passed several of the WWII landing strips, it’s difficult to imagine planes landing on them. City driving is stressful after so much time out on country roads but we quickly found a 2 hr park near the Law Courts and the cathedral.
St Catherine’s Cathedral – only the brick part remained after a cyclone
Lovely lady painting in the Mall
If I’d wanted thongs I could have bought some from any of half a dozen places but the only place to have practical sandals as opposed to fashionable ones was a camping/ adventure shop. The store didn’t seem to have changed much since we were there about 16 years ago.
We went to the wharf after that where we had a nice lunch and I was able to upload a post using the free WiFi.
Old style cutter
Linch on Stokes Hill Wharf
The Fisherman’s Wharf was our last stop before heading back to Litchfield. The boats moored there look all business, tough and purposeful.
These boats mean business
Back at camp I went looking for birds while Alex read the paper. It seems to us that every paper has some story about a crocodile …… possibly only during tourist season……. and today’s front page was about people being rescued at Cahill’s Crossing. The incident happened in May so they must have kept it on ice until there were no other croc stories.
Last night when we were walking about we saw several Cane Toads and it makes me wonder if they’re the reason for us not seeing any small lizards or even bugs. There are plenty of dragonflies and butterflies but I’ve only seen one other little Shieldbug around here.
Cane Toad in the shower block
This morning we drove back into the National Park as far as Wangi Falls, they are tremendous and the lush Monsoon Forest was good to see. We heard bats arguing in some treetops. Alex fancied a nice big breakfast at the cafe but their power had been cut off somehow so the place wasn’t operating until that was restored.
Orange Eared Bats
Fruit on Palm
Wangi Falls treetop walk
Several roads are still closed so places like The Lost City, Surprise Creek Falls and Blyth Homestead aren’t accessible. Tolmer Falls were open though and we enjoyed the river walk. You don’t get close to the river because the area is undergoing rehabilitation but there are excellent viewing places.
The track we walked
Tolmer Creek Walk
The “path” down from the Tolmer Falls lookout
Tolmer Falls lookout – grand rock formations
After Tolmer Falls we were ready for a swim and cool down so we continued on to the Florence Creek where we were lucky enough to get the first rock pool to ourselves. The water is crystal clear so you could see leaves on the bottom and also the shapes and sizes of the rocks. It appeared to be an infinity pool with the water disappearing over a rocky ledge.
Rock Pool, Florence Creek
When we left the Florence Creek we headed into Batchelor for some lunch at the Rum Jungle Tavern. There were some interesting characters in the bar, I think the town must be a comfortable place for people who don’t fit in the mainstream. Bernie Havlik was a Czechoslovakian who left his mark at Batchelor. At first he worked underground at the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine then in the treatment plant when it changed to open cut mining until it closed in 1971. After that he worked as a town gardener and was frustrated by the rock pile in the garden so when he retired he started work on his castle. It took him 5 years to create and he was still adding finishing touches to it until he died in 1990.
Bernie Havlik’s castle
We came back to camp for a cup of tea but first we had to deal with the frog in the kettle!
Froggie in the kettle lid – it got into the kettle via the spout
Today we started on the Litchfield Loop and our first stop was at the Magnetic Termite Mounds. Unlike other ones these are slim and oriented north/south to keep the nests at a reasonable temperature. I don’t know how the ones with the bulbous mounds maintain temperature, maybe they move from “room to room”. Some termites nest underground but in this region they would drown during wet seasons.
Magnetic Termite mounds
Not a cemetery – Magnetic Termite Mounds
Alex practising the pose he learnt from “The People’s Friend”.
When we were at the Termite Mounds buses of different sizes started arriving. Some of the buses only hold about 10 people and they are usually catering for those willing to camp. The big buses hold about 40 people and those people generally stay in cabins or units. When one of the big buses arrives the sites quickly become crowded and we move on.
Our next stop was the Florence Creek. We took the creek walk to Buley Rockhole all along the way there are pools where you can swim. At the highest point on the walk there are big rock pools which were already busy with people who had driven straight there.
Grass seed head
Buley Rock Hole
We walked back along the creek path then went along another path to the Florence Falls Lookout. People were swimming at the base of the falls but we didn’t fancy the 135 steps to get down there or worse still having to walk back up them!
We drove into Batchelor and at a little cafe Alex enjoyed a coffee and chat with the “volunteer” barista ie the wife of the owner, while I accessed the net.
On the way back to camp we went into what we think was the site of the Rum Jungle mine, it’s now a nice billabong. Rainbow Bee-eaters tormented me, skimming across the surface and back up into trees. They looked beautiful with the sun shining through the colours of their wings.
Flycatcher maybe – Rum Jungle Mine site
This car is outside the Banyan Tree campground just before Litchfield Tourist Park is The Banyan Tree Campground.
Wet Season creation? You’ve got to do something to keep busy.
Wet Season amusement
Back at camp it was time for a refreshing drink followed by a long swim in the pool.