Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Litchfield NP: Part 3

I don't have the resources with me to identify most of the plants growing in Litchfield NP but here are a few of those that I found as we walked in to rock pools and lookouts.



Blue Argus butterfly



Kapok bush

Cathedral Termite mound 
Magnetic Termite mounds

Litchfield NP: Part 2

Drive 10 km down a certain bush track in Litchfield NP and you come the Lost City. It's an awesome place, as in it fills you with awe. The area had been burnt not long before we visited so there was no grass around the rocks and the ash-covered soil matched the rocks. There is a path that weaves its way in a circle between the formations and each step you take opens up new vistas that take your breath away. We were there in mid-afternoon so the colours were subdued in the bright sunlight  - it would be a great to see it at sunrise or sunset.

The sandstone in these rock towers once covered the whole of the Litchfield plateau. In other places it has eroded and washed away but in this spot the stone has been more resistant. The angular shapes are the result of water eroding the natural cracks in the rocks. We saw sandstone, siltstone and conglomerates of river stones in the layers. And I imagine tree roots like the one below could open up cracks in the rock as well.

Swift streams in the Litchfield tabletop have created a landscape of narrow deep gorges and rugged cliff tops, waterfalls, deep pools and fallen rocks and boulders at the bottom of escarpments.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Litchfield NP: Part 1

It was a surprise to me that the reason Litchfield National Park has waterfalls and rock pools (that thousands of tourists each year find so attractive) is that it's a sandstone plateau and water falls. I just hadn't thought it through but it makes sense. The waterfalls continue to run throughout the dry season because the sandstone gradually releases water that it has absorbed during the wet season.

There are many hectares of dry woodland on the plateau but the vegetation along the numerous watercourses is lush and beautiful. In my next blog I'll post some photos of the vegetation but in this blogpost I'm highlighting the waterfalls and rockpools.

Buley Rockhole
Buley Rockhole
Lower Cascade Falls
Florence Falls
Florence Falls
Tolmer Falls
Sign at one of the numerous creek crossings.
Human visitors only swim in designated areas that have been monitored for crocs.
Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls at sunset, after all the swimmers have left.
Be Crocwise

Hayes Creek

No, it's not the Stuart Highway. This is one of the old World War 2 airstrips between Katherine and Darwin. The surface was in great condition and as we were the only vehicle there we were tempted to drive along it as fast as we could (with a van in tow) but Mr Boobook is more sensible than me so we refrained.

The same very law-abiding driver had no trouble parking in this spot at Daly Waters.

We found a great spot to camp further up the highway, at Hayes Creek, under trees near a creek that is still running. There is a delightful walking track along the creek, with a rocky hillside as a backdrop. A sign informed us that the hillside was home to a species of Rock Wallaby, a Rock Rat and a Rock Ringtail Possum. All are nocturnal so we didn't see them.

Swimming hole, Hayes Creek

Hayes Creek
It was a very peaceful evening and night ... but about seven in the morning the whole camp was abruptly wakened by a noisy helicopter taking off from the paddock next door. It had everyone talking because it had some large geo survey equipment dangling below, and we were all intrigued an hour later to see the same helicopter maneuvering to land the equipment on the ground before itself landing beside it. And we're intrigued about what they could have been surveying for.

7.00 am
8.00 am