[ Litchfield National Park ] [ Kakadu National Park ] [ Darwin ]
Litchfield NP Kakadu NP Darwin
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Batchelor Katherine

Litchfield National Park

Wet and wild - escape the tropical heat in the plunge pools of Litchfield National Park!

If you love waterfalls and lush surroundings, then prepare for heaven. Litchfield National Park is one of the hidden secrets of the Top End. Open eucalyptus woodland, dense tropical rainforest and gigantic termite mounds are found in Litchfield National Park, which is just 130 km south west of Darwin. In just one relatively small area you can find a little bit of everything that makes the Top End of Australia one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country - wetlands and lily-covered billabongs, thundering waterfalls, prolific birdlife, weird and fantastic sandstone formations, rough and ready four-wheel-driving and an abundance of that Top End rarity, crocodile-free swimming holes. In the dry season you can easily get to most of the waterfalls that plunge from the rocky escarpment of the Table Top Range that plunge into refreshing pools.

Litchfield National Park was originally the home of the Wagait people. The Finniss exploration was the first European connection within the area and a member of that expedition, Frederick Henry Litchfield, has been remembered in the National Park's name. For almost 75 years until 1955, the area was subject to tin and copper mining and then fell under pastoral leases until the Park became a reality. This 143 square kilometre area was scarcely known until it was proclaimed a national park in 1986.

The first attraction in the park is also its most popular:
Wangi Falls. Here, two waterfalls cascade into a very large plunge pool set amidst rainforest. It is the most accessible of the swimming holes, and includes wheelchair access into the water, although the swimming is sometimes closed during and after heavy rain due to powerful currents in the plunge pool. An interpretive nature trail leads from the camping and shady barbecue area to the top of the falls and back down to the car park. There is a kiosk here as well, although the best place to eat is at Monsoon Café, just before you hit the park boundary, where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee, light snacks, lunch and dinner on the verandah or in the shady garden.
If you can tear yourself away from the pool at Wangi, continue on the loop through the park, stopping at Tolmer Falls, where a short walk leads to a viewing platform looking out over the very steep waterfall.

The Tolmer Falls, one of the most dramatic of Litchfield's falls, this long narrow waterfall puts on a spectacular display in the wet season. There are good walking tracks and viewing platforms. The caves at the base of the falls house several colonies of rare Ghost Bats and Orange Horseshoe Bats, so this area is out of bounds.

Florence Falls & Buley Rockhole: This double waterfall cascades into a swimming hole surrounded by monsoon forest. Check out the panoramic views from the edge of the escarpment, just a short walk from the main carpark. A steep trail with staircases leads down to the pool at the base of the falls. The pool, open year round, is perfect for swimming. Nearby Buley Rockhole, a series of waterfalls and rock holes, is also a good spot to swim and relax.

If you have a four-wheel-drive take the turn-off to the Lost City, a group of fantastically-shaped sandstone pillars, formed by thousands of years of wind and rain erosion, suggesting the ruins of a long forgotten civilisation. The 10km track into this section is extremely rocky and rough. Only people experienced in handling four wheel drive vehicles should attempt the journey to the Lost City.

Watch for the distinctive termite mounds, standing up to two metres high, at this small boardwalk, 17 km from the eastern boundary of the Park. The mounds' thin edges point north-south while their broad backs and fronts face east-west. It's really a built-in temperature control mechanism, allowing only the smallest possible area to ever be exposed to the sun.


Kakadu National Park

This huge park of exceptional beauty extends from the wild, sandstone escarpments of Arnhem Land in the east, to the mangrove-rich, tidal fiats of Van Dieman Gulf in the north, and south almost to Katherine Gorge. Three major rivers flow through Kakadu, encompassing almost the entire drainage basin of the huge South Alligator River.

Visitors are drawn by the park's incredibly rich assortment of flora and fauna - 900 plant species, 300 kinds of birds, 75 reptiles (including the giant, dangerous saltwater crocodile), 50 native mammals, 30 amphibians, a quarter of all Australian freshwater fish, and countless insect species.

But Kakadu is not only home to the wildlife. The area boasts the longest continuous surviving human culture in the world. Aborigines have lived in Kakadu for at least 25,000 years (perhaps as long as 50,000 years), making the park one of the few World Heritage sites to be listed for both natural and cultural reasons. Today, Aboriginal people work in partnership with the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service in determining park policy and young Aborigines are trained as rangers and guides. Learning about Aboriginal legends and sacred sites enhances visitors appreciation of Kakadu.

June to September is the main tourist season. Visiting during the"wet" season (December to March), is difficult because although the park is green and bountiful with wildflowers and birds, many of the tracks are flooded and inaccessible.

At first glance the walls of the Ubirr Rock Galleries in Australia's Kakadu National Park seem covered in a chaotic mass of shapes and colours. Perhaps a few images stand out: a human figure here, a barramundi there. After a while you begin to adapt to the layers of designs and recognise hundreds of animals, tracks and figures - catfish, goanna, turtles, kangaroos, even an image of the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger. And then you feel the presence of the people who painted these walls thousands of years ago; the presence of the Aboriginal elders who gathered round these sacred rocks to perform solemn rituals.
Nourlangie Rock is part of the area known as the Mt. Brockman Massif. There are over 100 sacred sites in this area and some of them are designated sacred-dangerous (and therefore not open to the public). The area has a number of cave sites and there is evidence of quarries where the local Aborigines made their stone implements. Interestingly some of the caves include drawings of thylacines, Tasmanian tigers, which presumably lived in the area at the time the paintings were done.
For all their beauty Twin Falls are the ultimate obstacle course, not only does the visitor have to travel the 60 km dirt road to the Jim Jim Falls but when there they have to swim or sail around to the Twin Falls. There is no land access to the falls. The effort, for the enthusiastic, is rewarded by the sight of a double cascading waterfall with a small beach at the bottom.

Darwin

First things first. If you need general information about Darwin, visit the excellent website of The Darwin City Council .
For general information about traveling to Australia, check out the Site of The Darwin International Airport .

With a harbour twice the size of Sydney's and more than 50 nationalities making up the approx. 70,000 people living in this modern tropical city Darwin is the place for recreation, sports and leisure life.

The influence of all these cultures makes Darwin a food-lovers paradise. Is it, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern or modern Australian cuisines, you can get it right here.

Not to forget the area's traditional owners, the Larrakia Aboriginal people!
If you are interested to get more information check out
June Mills' homepage
, where you'll find tons of
links to various Aboriginal Sites
.

Other places to go are the markets held year-round at Parap on Saturdays, Nightcliff and Rapid Creek on Sundays and at Mindil Beach on Thursday and Sunday nights from April to October. For more Information see
The Mindil Crew's Web Site
.

Fishing, boating, sunset picnics on cliff tops by the sea and riding the city's extensive bike tracks are popular activities. Darwin is developing a network of cycle tracks and it is now pos sib le to cycle from the city of Darwin , along side the Explorer's Way
(Stuart Highway) through to Palmerston.

Not to forget the incredible Dive Sites right in and around the Darwin Harbour.
Take a look at Dive Worldwide!

Last but not least we'd like to mention the world famous
Darwin Beer Can Regatta

and another very well made websites called Our Darwin and Australien Explorer


Batchelor

Our beloved "CITY" Batchelor - with a population of 358, 98 kilometres south of Darwin, just off the Stuart Highway (Explorer's Way).

Batchelor is the town where you can find the Darwin Parachute Club, with it's friendly Instructors and the possibility to do Tandem Jumps.
The Darwin Parachute Club is affiliated with the Australian Parachute Federation.

Everything you can't find in our store, you might get at the Batchelor General Store, where Judy and Malcolm McGinn will be glad to help you.

Problems with your car? A flat tire? Whatever problems you got, they'll fix it at the Batchelor Service Center.

While in Batchelor, drop into the Coomalie Cultural Centre and peruse its presentation of indigenous arts and crafts from the Top End and Central Australia.

More interesting Information about Batchelor you will find at the Coomalie Community Government Council .

History of Batchelor, courtesy of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission The Nortern Territory Tourist Commission

The town was named after the South Australian Labour politician Egerton Lee Batchelor (1865-1911) who became Minister for the Northern Territory in 1911. Batchelor grew slowly, with brief spurts of mining activity until World War II when it was turned into an Allied airforce. In the 1950s a prospector named Jack White discovered uranium deposits at nearby Rum Jungle. Legend has it that Rum Jungle earned its name after a rather raucous incident in 1871. A bullock-wagon load of rum became bogged near jungle in the East Finniss River prompting the fearless bullockies to settle in for one of the most notorious binges in Northern Territory history.


Katherine

Katherine is located 340 km south of Darwin on the Stuart Highway. It's a modern town with a population of around 6,000. Katherine has all the facilities for the traveller and boasts numerous natural attractions and a diverse history.

The first people of the area were the Jawoyn and Dagomen Aboriginal people. For thousands of years the Katherine River has been of major significance to the people in the region fulfilling food, recreation and spiritual needs. The first European to pass through this country was Ludwig Leichardt in 1844 but it was John McDouall Stuart who on 4th July 1862 named the Katherine River after the second daughter of his patron James Chambers, a South Australian pastoralist who helped sponsor the epic expedition.

Katherine today is a rapidly expanding township and the centre of a vast beef industry which ensures its future prosperity. The town did not go ahead until the early 1940's when a bitumen road was constructed between Alice Springs and Darwin. As a result of this increased accessibility the natural attractions of the town were frequented and the town began to prosper. The modern shopping facilities and tidy streets we see today are symbolic of the confidence of territorians in the town.

Like other Territory centres, Katherine also boasts its own zany festival. Held in June, the culture of the city is festive. Regional festivals thus become an essential element. The Katherine Karnical is a crazy raft race from the new bridge to the low level in which every ploy is planned to sink the opposition craft. It is a hilarious and fun-filled competition followed by musical street-parade. Locales take extra pride to make this event a success.

The majestic Katherine River flows through the centre of the town and is accessible at a number of different locations. These include the Low Level Nature reserve, Katherine Hot Springs, under the high level bridge and at Knott's Crossing. A cycle path runs
9 kilometres between Low Level Nature Reserve and Knotts Crossing. This provides an ideal way to sightsee and exercise at the same time. The river provides an ideal opportunity for other pursuits including fishing, bird watching, swimming and canoeing.
A boat ramp is located underneath the High-level Bridge.

The Ghan train derives its name from the early Afghan pioneers who opened up Australia's arid interior by the use of camels. Today you can make the journey on the Ghan train from Adelaide to Dawin via Alice Springs and Katherine. It is one of the best train journeys of the world.
The transcontinental journey travels through the spectacular outback and there are off-train touring options at Alice Springs and Katherine. Travel North is the booking agent for the Ghan in Katherine and their fleet of new air-conditioned buses will take visitors to the stunning local sights.
Photo: photocase.com@cardenal.mendoza

Knotts Crossing is located 5km from town along the gorge road behind the Katherine Hospital. This part of the Katherine River has a weir with a shallow crossing that was once the main river crossing before they built the Low Level Bridge, it is also the site of the original settlement of Katherine.

The Low Level is located 5km from town. The Low Level has proved a most popular swimming, picnic and fishing area with locals and visitors alike. The Katherine River flows over rock bars just below the weir and the Low Level bridge making pleasant little rapids and shallow swimming areas.

Katherine Hot Springs
These natural thermal springs (with wheelchair access),
3 km from Katherine along the Victoria Highway, consist of a number of clear pools among trees near the Katherine River. A constant 32 degrees, their therapeutic benefits are best enjoyed during the cooler months. The picnic ground is pleasant and there are walking trails and a campground nearby.

The Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge is located 30km from Katherine on an all sealed road. It consists of a series of remarkably beautiful gorges through which the Katherine river winds it's way framed by the sheer 60metre sandstone walls. Rocks and boulders separate each gorge.

The Nitmiluk National Park is probably the most beautiful of all the National Parks in the region because of the delicate rainforest which grows in the gorges. This 292,800 hectare National Park is owned by the Jawoyn Aboriginal people and jointly managed with the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. Some of the Park's features include spectacular dissected sandstone country, broad valleys and numerous, significant cultural sites. The deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River is the central attraction of the Park. The Park offers swimming, bushwalking and boating as its main activities.

Edith Falls (Leilyn), 61km north of Katherine, is situated in Nitmiluk National Park's north-western corner. A natural pool at the base of the falls, fringed by paperbarks and pandanus, is safe for swimming most of the year and camping is allowed around the pool.

Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is located 27km south of Katherine. The park covers 1, 499 hectares of limestone (Karst) landscape. The main feature of the park is Cutta Cutta Caves. This limestone cave features beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites and is home to the rare ghost and orange horseshoe bat. Guided tours are available into the cave. Next to the car park a short 'Tropical Woodland' walk has been constructed for visitors to experience.

Banyan Tree Caravan Park
Litchfield Park Road, Rum Jungle PO Box 30
Batchelor NT 0845 Australia

Tel. : (0061) 8 89760330
Fax.: (0061) 8 89760218





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