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Litchfield National Park (sorry no snappy title)

sunny
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We only have 2 full days in Darwin (some would say that is enough), so today was spent on a tour of the Litchfield National park. Whenever anyone thinks of Darwin, they mostly think of the Kakadu National Park, which is larger. However tours to this are normally 2 to 3 days, which we obviously don't have the time for, and require you to supply a sleeping bag, which we didn't bring along. So the one day Litchfield tour was going to have to be it.The day started with a short cruise on the Adelaide River, which is teaming with saltwater crocodiles and what the locals refer to as "drop crocs". A drop croc is a smaller crocodile that climbs a tree by the water and perches on a branch until some prey comes along, at which point it plunges out of the tree onto the hapless victim. We were told to watch out for them when we were near the water's edge, as they can spoil the cruise. Fortunately, none were perching today.
Instead, we saw saltwater crocs ranging from 3 to 5 metres in length (10 to 17 feet, or so) leaping out of the water at pieces of meat being held out by crew on the end of a rod and line. They were ferocious creatures and it is easy to see how complacent travellers end up on a croc's menu as human sushi. While on this cruise, we saw a beautiful sea eagle (trying to take a picture of it was impossible) and we got to hold a diamond-back python, which was much larger than the snake we had held in Alice.
Next stop was some termite mounds, one of which was about 12 feet tall. Not much else to be said really.
After this, we went to Florence Falls, which we were able to swim in (at the base, would have been a bit painful swimming off the top :). On the way there, the tour guide mentioned that of the drownings that occur in the park, 60% are Irish with Japanese and Korean in second and third respectively. We had neither Japanese or Koreans in our group, but we did have 2 Irish couples. True to form, one of the guys did get into difficulties (nearly taking his girlfriend down with him) and had to rescued by the guide. The other Irish couple didn't go near the water at all, saving themselves from any problems (probably didn't like the odds). Although I make light of it now, it was quite disturbing at the time.
The final stop was to visit Buley rock hole. Basically, this is a feeder to the above falls, and consist of a number of rock pools that are fed by a fast-flowing river. The end result, is that we could sit in a rock hole with high pressure water massaging our backs (while drinking a beer :). Sort of a naturally occurring jacuzzi, as it were.
The evening consisted of a $6 meal at a pub, using a voucher the guide had given us that got us it for free. I think we paid about the right price...

Posted by jefranklin 21:10 Archived in Australia Tagged trees wildlife backpacking tropics round_the_world

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