Litchfield Termites & Cool Water

A day trip to Litchfield National Park in the Top End is a must do, especially in the hot season. But in hindsight there is very little added to this on tour, as everything you can do there is open to public and well marked, with detailed information and maps.

The park is a smallish portion of escarpment to the south of Darwin and is home to the famed Magnetic Termite Mounds as well as countless waterfalls and relatively crocodile free plunge pools beneath said falls.

The termite mounds are interesting, gigantic, plentiful, and not really magnetic at all. They got the name because they appear to align on a north to south axis. Actually the termites align their mounds on an east west facing in order to best capture the solar energy of both the rising and setting sun. It is more or less given that there is no planning on this, just a bit of rapid evolution. The mounds that fail to align in this way are too cold at night and so those colonies fail long before the mounds are big enough to be easily noticed.

The plunge pools and waterfalls are a beautiful and refreshing way to while the hot day. Moving from one to the next in a succession of scenery and cool water. I was lucky enough to be swimming in a small lower pool when a large-ish water monitor lizard came down to the pool for a drink.

Lunch was nice; the tour lunches around Darwin seem to consist of salad and cold meats, which is very fine by me. Also the little bush café we dined at was selling homemade apple slices…I am a fan of fruit in pastry, no matter what you call it. This was delicious.

At an afternoon pool I was able to enjoy a very isolated hike by myself. From the pool we were at there was the short return or a 2-kilometer bush track. No one but me chose the bush track, and I was rewarded with the peaceful sounds of the tropical north. Though I admit it was a hot walk, being 39 Centigrade and 75% Humidity.


Today I did a day walking tour (mostly) and must have clocked 9 hours of walking, some of it aerobic. This is a bit stupid because Sydney has a very complex transportation infrastructure, and I bought an anything-goes pass.

But I like walking, so I did. I walked from the Sydney Rail Station Hostel first down to Broadway Mall for some morning shopping (supplies), then back and around the several parks near the hostel.

I then walked all the way into the CBD to get my second Rabies jab, which cost a small fortune here. Sheesh!

After that I walked across the bridge, back over to the Observatory and Aquarium, across to the Botanical Gardens and the Opera house (I just grazed the gardens because the light was already too low, I’ll get back there tomorrow) and then back to my hostel. I only stopped for a monorail circuit (15 Minutes), lunch (30 Min), and to watch the bridge and opera house as the sun set (1 hour). The rest of the time (from 9 to 9) I was walking.

Sydney is not my favorite Aussie city so far. It’s a bit run down and congested. Has a bit of that Blade Runner je ne sais qua. And the water is killing me! Like all of Australia they have clean, safe water. But damned if you can find anywhere to fill up your own bottle, and the bottles you buy are about US$3.25 (HK$30). Back home bottled water is dirt cheep, maybe HK$8 (1 US$) for a liter. Anyway I’ll muddle through.

I am also not very comfortable with my travel yet. The youth hostel thing is taking its toll. I may have to adjust my budget and start staying in private rooms. Plus I didn’t realize how lonely I would feel without Henry. He has obviously put some sort of voodoo spell on me to capture my heart.  4 weeks and 5 days until I see him again.