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Wednesday 17 Sep 2003
Katherine, Australia

Litchfield National Park

Mon 15th Sept 2003

Left Darwin this morning, heading south towards Litchfield National Park which hugs the western section of the Darwin peninsula.

Took a brief detour at the popular swimming hole of Berry Springs. It was quite pretty and I quickly got the impression that it is popular with the locals moreso than tourists. The water had that opal-blue colour similar to the thermal pools at Mataranka, south of Katherine.

After precariously negotiating a pretty rough gravel road (no Haydn it was NOT as easy as you said!) I soon arrived in LNP and drove down to Wangi Falls - "the most popular waterfall" according to Lonely Planet.

Indeed it was quite pretty... the lake I mean, the waterfall was but a mere trickle in this Dry Season (apparently its quite awesome in the Wet Season). I met up with some German lads and we drank a few beers while trying to wade in the cool, green waters... not as easy as it sounds! The lake had a load of fish such as Barrammundi (measuring up to 3 metres long) and even a few monitor lizards were walking about the place. It was deep too... some parts of the lake appeared black since the bottom was 20 metres below.

I stayed there for about 3 hours.. then I noticed the time.. saw it was late so I camped in the nearby campground.. had to pay 6.60, but it was worth it for the convenience and the nice waterhole.

Tues 16th Sept 2003

Next on my trip I found the stunning waterholes of Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole. Both of these are close to each other and completely different, but both share the much-acclaimed title of: "Petes best waterholes in the Northern Territory".

Lets start with Florence Falls.. again we have an opal-blue lake, but quite petite, surrounded on all sides by a sheer rock wall. The waterfalls (for there are two in this waterhole) are also sheer pieces of beauty to swim under... about 20 metres high and gushing like the Wet Season: it was possible to stand behind the main one, on a ledge under the water, and rest there quite comfortably as the gentle droplets landed on your head. Then as you move out into the main water flow the water gets heavier, so much so that it feels like stones pushing you under the water. A great massage I can tell you!

The other waterhole, Buley Rockhole, is a series of interconnected waterholes, joined by a single stream so that it is possible to swim from one waterhole into the next, lower one, without ever having to leave the water. This means that between each waterhole you have mini-rapids which are a joy to slide down... the cool, clean water flowing down your back is a joy in the high heat and humidity. At one point I lay down in the downhill rapids stream, water flowing over my head and only my mouth sticking above the water and felt so relaxed I almost fell asleep.

No wonder Ozzies look so young eh?? Ive met several people in their 60s that look no older than 40!

After this amazing day I left the national park and headed south toward Katherine. Along the way I decided to camp at Edith Falls, and, seeing no ranger in sight.. thought I might get away with camping there for free...

Today...

Woke up early hoping to get out of the caravan park before the ranger arrived to charge for the previous nights camping fees. Alas no sooner had I packed the car, I turned around and there he was, writing a receipt. 7.80 dollars it cost me!! Flipping hell!

Took a quick look around Edith Falls, expecting it to be well worth the hefty price tag. Sure enough the lake was big enough, but the waterfall wasnt particularly breath-taking: nothing like the beauty of Florence Falls, and nowhere near as high (this was only about 2 metres high.. more like a fast stream really). I was disappointed to say the least.

Kununarra in Western Australia is where Im off to now... Farewell Northern Territory: a bit of my heart remains here with you (also several pints of my blood too.. damn mozzies)

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