We arrived in Katherine early in the morning, and decided to head out to Nitmiluk National Park first thing, before it got too hot. The heat (and the HUMIDITY) was really starting to affect us, and we were now planning our days around where we would swim. Nitmiluk National Park is most famous for the Katherine Gorge, which is a series of gorges cutting through the rock. There are various walks you can do through the park, and we picked a pretty basic 1-2 hour one which took us up to a lookout above the gorge, and then back around through part of the park.
The view from the top was pretty breathtaking, it was quite incredible to see the vibrant river cutting through what is quite a harsh (yet beautiful) landscape.
The walk was not too strenuous, but the heat that was developing already at only about 10am was insane. We were dripping with sweat from just being out there. It was quite a phenomenal walk though, with some amazing rock layerings and formations as well as an entirely different landscape from where we had just been in Far North Queensland.
While there was a spot you could swim at the gorge, we had already decided that we would go back into town where there were more thermal springs, and cool off there. Quite a few backpackers had the same idea, and you could see why. It was a lovely peaceful little spot, where you could float around in the crystal clear water.
Unfortunately, my phone also decided it was a great spot for a dip, and somehow unbeknown to us jumped in. It sat on the bottom of the pools for probably about an hour, and amazingly, after pulling it apart and leaving it in rice overnight, it worked just fine! At first I thought it had become all warped, it was telling me I had messages that I couldn’t see and so on. Then I discovered that it simply had the Y2K bug, about 13 years too late. For some reason my phone went back in time to 1/1/2000 and so all my messages and photos and stuff were at of whack. Bizzareo!
After Katherine, we headed a bit further north to the Edith Falls (our next swim destination). Edith Falls is still within the Nitmiluk National Park, and we discovered upon arrival that you could camp there for something like $6.60 each a night, so we ended up doing that. It was such a lovely spot, right on our doorstep was one swimming area that was just the most perfect temperature.
We thought it was pretty amazing, and just splashed around there for the afternoon. The next morning when we got up we went on the 30-45 minute walk up to the top pools, which was where the main falls actually were. And oh. my. goodness was it worth it. It was SO out of this world beautiful.
We stayed up there for a couple of hours, splashing around and chatting with others as they came up there. Nearly all my fears of being eaten by crocodiles subsided just in the sheer beauty of the place. Plus we were above a waterfall, and I am pretty sure crocs are usually downstream of them.
It’s pretty crazy finding such lush places like this, and then walking back into dry bushland under the scorching sun.
After Edith Falls, we kept on our way north up to Litchfield National Park. We spent the afternoon wandering around these humungous termite mounds and finding more swimming spots (of course).
This was our first swim spot, a series of tiered pools called the Buley rockhole. We lazed around in this one a bit higher up which was quite shallow, but was away from all the people – there was quite a crowd down the bottom.
A little further along the tracks was a campground at the Florence Falls, which we set up at as it was getting dark. The night was a STINKER, we had the doors open and the mozzie net up and we just lay there sweating our butts off. It was crazy. All we had to comfort us was the thought of getting up and going straight down to the falls. The colours as the sun set were pretty awesome though.
Billy either caught a little bug or had a bit of heatstroke, and was not feeling too flash hot, so we had to get him into the water stat. Others had the same idea…all of us poor folks sleeping in stinking hot vans or cars were the first in the water.
Next up were the Tolmer Falls, which you could only view from a lookout, as down the bottom there are several rare species of bats that are being protected. While the amount of water was not that spectacular, the height of the Tolmer Falls was really something, and you can imagine in the wet season the water would just be streaming down.
The lack of being in cool water was not appreciated much by a withering Bear, who didn’t look like he was going to make it.
We went on to our last destination for our time at the park, the Wangi Falls.
What can I say? Another incredible swimming spot with beautiful waterfalls. That moment you step into the water and all the heat and sweat and lethargy just washes away…it’s indescribable.
Well that’s two big photo posts for you in one day, I’ll post again soon on our time in Darwin – where we headed straight after Litchfield, but that’s all from me for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us 🙂