3 days Litchfield and Kakadu National Park

Water! So much water! It is unbelievable unless you have seen it yourself.

I was picked up at 6.40 am and we drove straight to the ATA office. We checked in and met the rest of the group. Full house: 16 people.

To my surprise I met Gareth, who did the WesternXposure tour with me. Unfortunately there was at least half a dozen germans.

A little later we drove off with our guide, a kiwi. We left Darwin and the further out we got the more water we saw to both sides of the road. Eventually the road was partially covered and then we came to a strip of at least 500m that was completely flooded. Our guide spoke to some people who where hanging out there and decided to give it a try. It was more than exciting! The road was under at least 30cm of water, it felt like a boat ride!

The guide needed our assistance because he couldn’t see the side of the road anymore due to the glare of the sun. And to the sides of the road the water was about 1 meter deep and the bus might have fallen over. With great teamwork and a lot of photos we made it to the other side 🙂 a few 4wheeldrives came from the opposite direction and we had one following us. Normal cars had no chance in getting across. We also met another ATA 4wd coming back from Kakadu.

When we had made it across we stopped at a roadhouse for brekkie. When we continued the tour our guide told us that the road we crossed was closed now because a truck had been washed off the street and another one stalled in the middle.

At the next stop we heard that the one who stalled was the other ATA 4wd! All the passengers had to wade through knee-deep water carrying their bags on top and watching out for crocodiles! Now that must have been exciting!

We continued our tour to Kakadu and saw heaps of flooded land everywhere. It couldn’t escape because the hight tide which makes a difference of 7-10 meters compared to low tide held it in. Luckily we got across, otherwise it would have been a detour of 7 hours to get around!

Around noon we arrived at our campground. We had lunch and left for our first real Kakadu encounter! We walked through the bush for an hour, sometimes walking through flooded areas, towards the stone country. At the end there was a nice waterfall where we left a few people and the rest climbed up a peak to see aboriginal paintings and get a decent view of the stone country. It was quite an exciting climb for everyone but Gareth and me who had more extreme experiences from Karijini.

When we were back down we picked up the rest and went to a waterhole at a waterfall to go for a swim. The guide told Gareth and me to climb up the waterfall to get to another waterhole with another waterfall and so on and so on until we couldn’t get any further and saw a huge and wide waterfall.

This was great fun 🙂 we climbed at least half a dozen waterfalls before we arrived at the big one our guide hat mentioned. Gareth, the rock climber he is, even climbed that one and went further! It was a good time, but eventually we had to return to the group and walk back to the truck.

Back at the camp we had dinner, played a few rounds of cards and went to bed. All day it was horribly humid (100%) and it didn’t get much better at night. Dry didn’t exist. You were either wet or sweaty, your clothes were either wet or damp. Yuck!

The next morning we packed up and went to a valley where we could see heaps of aboriginal rock paintings. Afterwards we went to our next campground. We had lunch and then went for a 1.5 hours boat cruise on the wetlands. The skipper was an aborigine and told us a heaps about the country. Luckily we where there in the wet season, so the water was 5-10 meters higher than in the dry season and actually flowing, while in the dry season it is so little that it turns into a river and some billabongs here and there.

After the tour we had the rest of the day off. Being fed up with the humidity I spent most of the time in the nice pool at our campground. At 6pm we had dinner, then a few of us went to the bar to have some drinks. After one beer I was so fed up with the gazillion mozzies everywhere that I decided to go back into the pool, for it was open until 9 pm. It was already dark and I was the only one, but I immensely enjoyed it. Close to 9pm I was almost a little bit cold, yay! I had a quick shower and went to bed.

The next morning we had to get up at 5 am so we could leave at 6 am. The road from the first day was still closed so we had to drive a huge detour to get to Litchfield National Park. We stopped somewhere in or near Kakadu National Park for a morning swim at a rockpool filled by a big waterfall. It was really impressive. A strong current on the surface to fight with 🙂

Hours later we arrived at a roadhouse near Litchfield where we had lunch. Then we went to a place where we could see huge termite mounts. And by huge I mean 5 meters and more and still rising! They grow about 1 meter per year. It was there that our guide discovered a flat tyre on our truck. Luckily it was an the rear axis where the truck had 2 tyres on each side. We drove on for a few minutes to the Florence Falls. While we went down there our guide changed the flat tyre with the spare one.

Did I think the rockpool+waterfall in the morning was amazing, with was even better! Much bigger rockpool, much bigger and more beautiful waterfalls. Of course we went for an extended swim. Every chance to escape that awfully humid air was welcome.

When we got back the flat tyre was changed and we drove to one more waterfall. We couldn’t swim there, but it was a good view! It began raining like shit and we drove back to Darwin.

That was my 3 day adventure of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. The wet season really earns its name, I have never seen so much water that was not the sea.

ATA being ATA, our guide arranged a table  and discounted prices at a cool pub for us. About 7.30 pm most of us met there once more for food and drinks. Of course it were the germans in the group that maintained a healthy beer culture 🙂 I didn’t stay too late because I had to pack for he next early morning and was already dead tired. 2 humid nights with only little useful sleep had really taken its toll on me.

I still managed to upload my photos before going to bed, so that you can enjoy them now:


From 2012-03-18+2 Litchfield + Kakadu National Park. Posted by Philipp Hübner on 3/20/2012 (112 items)

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Category: Australia, Places