Litchfield National Park – Home of Fascinating Termite Mounds and Waterfalls

Since I already missed Kakadu National Park Day Tour that day, the tour company offered me to join the Litchfield National Park Day Tour wherein the pick-up time will be 7:20 AM. And because I don’t have much option since I cannot reimburse my payment for the tour that I booked, I have to at least replace it with other tour. My full story of why I missed Kakadu day tour was described in my previous post [see here].

I crossed the road and walked towards the waiting area. While waiting, I was still thinking the tour that I missed (the Kakadu National Park Day Tour), I wished if only I was dropped off at the right location by the cab I will never miss the said tour. While  I was waiting there was a man in his senior age sat not far from me and I thought that he maybe a tourist as well. Then he asked if I was waiting for the bus and I told him yes. That’s the beginning of our conversation. As far as I remembered he was at least 80 or more years old but he can still join such kind of tour. I didn’t ask his age because it was not appropriate to do so. I learned from him that he was on holiday with his wife but his wife never joined the tour because she already had it before. I told him my story of what happened to me at early morning, then he sympathized me on it and advised me to enjoy the tour that we will be having that day.

The tour bus arrived in the transit terminal before 7:20 AM and when I climbed on the bus, there were lots of tourist inside and I sat beside the window. The man who I talked while waiting for the bus came and he sat beside me. I asked his name but right now I can’t remember it anymore.

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When the time to leave Darwin Transit Centre, the bus still picked-up some of the tourist in few more hotels before we hit the road towards Litchfield National Park.

Strauss Airfield

Our first stop was along Stuart Highway in Noonamah where Strauss Airfield situated just beside the highway. The airfield was built in 1942 during World War II. During our visit, there are still few remnants that can be found but most of the things that we saw are just a reminders of the airfield and its story since it was decommissioned after the war in 1945.

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Batchelor Town

We passed a small town after we turned right from Stuart Highway to Batchelor Road. And while inside the bus, I was able to capture the Replica of Karlstejn Castle at Havlik Park. Havlik Park was named after Bernie Havlik whom made the huge rock into castle as solution since he was not able to remove and maintain the rocky outcrop, an amazing discovery. Batchelor town is considered as the gateway to Litchfield National Park.

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Banyan Tree Caravan Park

We had a brief stopped at Banyan Tree Caravan Park after passing the center of Batchelor Town for a quick breakfast or snack. And here, I had a glimpse of places within Litchfield National Park through its maps drawn in the store wall and while looking into it, I wondered which places we will be visiting in the tour.

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Cathedral Termite (Nasutitermes Triodiae) Mounds

From Batchelor Town, we took the Rum Jungle Road towards Litchfield National Park. Then we took Litchfield Park Road after. When we reached the Cathedral Termite Mounds, I felt surprised. I only know that termites destroys houses and they were like household enemies. I saw ads when I lived in Australia how huge problem when your house were attacked by termites. When we got off the bus and when we approached the Giant Cathedral Termite Mound, I never expected that termites will be able to build such structure like what we were seeing at that time. They call it Cathedral Termite Mound because of its resemblance to cathedral shapes.

There are at two gigantic cathedral termite mounds that we saw and both of them are taller than human. There is one surrounded by metal bench to protect it from humans as it is considered around 50 or more years old which is even older than myself. Not far from special cathedral termite mound, another one also stands though it shapes are somewhat similar to the first one we saw, the second mound was not surrounded by metal bench, it was a cathedral termite mound in a natural settings and surrounded with grass and trees. It said that Cathedral termites build their nests on well-drained soils.

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Magnetic Termite or Compass Termite (Amitermes Meridionalis) Mounds

We returned to our bus and we took the Litchfield Park Road again and we enjoyed the other cathedral termite mounds that we saw along the road  but smaller in sizes and honestly there are lots of them astray in the wilderness of the park. Then, we stopped again and I was wondering what we were looking at that time and our guide told us about the Magnetic Termite Mounds. At first, I thought we were looking at cemetery and then I realized that we were looking for another type of termite mounds which is Magnetic Termite Mounds. If I was already surprised after seeing Cathedral Termite Mounds, I was more amazed when I saw their mounds. Because all of the mounds are flat like cement from a distance and I was wondering how these termites able to create a perfectly flat mound upward.

Magnetic Termite said to commonly build their nest at seasonally flooded black soil plains. Their mounds are often widely scattered but when grouped it was like graveyard like pattern. One amazing fact that scientist learned when they observed how Magnetic Termite able to build a mound that is north-south aligned. At first they thought that it’s because of the sun, but after they did an experiment, they learned that these termites has their own built-in compass. When scientist artificially change the direction of  magnetic field, termites dutifully followed and built repairs to their mound in the alignment of these magnets and not to Earth’s magnetic field. A wonderful information to learn about these termites.

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Florence Falls (Karrimura)

The first falls that we visited was Florence Falls. Our group never had a chance to swim in this falls since its plunge pool were closed at that time, but we got a chance to have a scenic bush and monsoon vine forest walk towards the viewing platform. To enjoy the trip, I took my time to appreciate the nature that surrounds me and saved souvenirs through photography.

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Tolmer Falls

Next falls that we had a chance to see during the tour was Tolmer Falls, the viewing platform that we visited combines to see the gorge, the wilderness of the lowland from the top and the falls itself. Tolmer Falls is one of the falls which made after some part of Tabletop plateau has been eroded where some water stored with the plateau.

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At the viewing platform, aside from enjoying Tolmers Falls, panoramic scenery of the nearby wilderness can be seen at the lookout too. I felt fascinated after seeing how vast it is.

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Litchfield Cafe

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This was the place where we had our cold buffet lunch for that day and where I had a slice of their famous mango cheesecake as desert. After tasted that it was really good, I bought another one to fill me up.

Wangi Falls

At Wangi Falls was where our group stays longer because most of the visitor in the tour bus got their chance to swim in the falls. And for all the three falls that we saw within the tour, Wangi has the most numbers of visitors and most number of people who went for swimming. I never got a chance to swim in this falls as I saw that it was quite deep and all my stuff were still on my luggage which I never bothered to get my swimming stuff as I don’t want to reorganize my bag while I was in the tour.

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After the tour, we returned to Darwin around 6PM in the evening. And I was dropped near my hotel in The Cavenagh Hotel. I checked-in, retrieved Telstra sim card that I reserved, had dinner and rest for the night for the big days ahead of me for the 9 Days adventure in the wilderness of Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Until then.

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View At My Window : Florence Falls

View At My Window (Post#32) : Florence Falls

First Falls that we found while touring around Litchfield National Park. One of the things that I enjoyed here was the walk or trek towards the viewing platform to see the Falls. At the time we visited the falls, the plunge pool was closed for swimming as there were constructions going on in the area at that time. These photos are part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Natural Wonders : Magnetic Termite Mounds

Natural Wonders (Post#5) : Magnetic Termite Mounds

If I was amazed in giant Cathedral Termite Mounds that I saw, I felt more wondrous after seeing the graveyard like Magnetic Termite Mounds. At first I thought that I was looking into a cemetery but it’s not. I learned that these termites thought to have built-in compass, which is the main reason they able to build a mound that is north-south aligned. These photos are part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Picture Frame : Tolmer Falls

Picture Frame (Post#7) : Tolmer Falls

Before I was able to see the Tolmer Falls, we were required to walk less than a kilometer distance to reach the viewing platform. It’s one of the amazing falls to enjoy within the Tabletop Range in Litchfield National Park. At the viewing deck, there will be added bonus as there is lowland country scenery to appreciate as well. These photos are part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Arts and Craft : Replica of Karlstejn Castle by Bernie Havlik

Arts and Craft (Post#17) : Replica of Karlstejn Castle by Bernie Havlik

Before we reached Litchfield National Park, we passed a small town called Batchelor and while we stopped here for few minutes, I had a chance to capture a photo of Karlstejn Castle replica. The replica was made out of a huge rock and turned into an art and made by Bernie Havlik. The photo is part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Restaurant : Litchfield Cafe

Restaurant (Post#3)  : Litchfield Cafe

I am only good in eating, but I haven’t really tried to write post that describes restaurants  and my experience on it. This will be the first one that will focus on this subject.

Litchfield Cafe is an eatery where people can eat through buffet style. When we reached the cafe, there are groups that’s already dined in two long tables. The other two long tables are vacant and seems reserved in our group. We looked for our seats and joined the groups in getting our food. The cafe was the place where we had our cold buffet lunch which includes different types of salads, sandwitches where you can choose your own fillings. As part of the lunch, we had a slice of their famous mango cheesecake as desert. After I tasted that the cheesecake was really good, I bought another slice to fill me in.

The photo is part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Natural Wonders : Giant Cathedral Termite Mounds

Natural Wonders (Post#4) : Giant Cathedral Termite Mounds

Visiting Litchfield National Park amazed me in some ways. This happened when I saw two of the gigantic Cathedral Termite Mounds. I never realized to see such tall termite mounds. And the look of the mounds that the termites built were similar to cathedrals that human beings built. I was surprised that such creation will stand through times with season changing on its natural ways. I saw two giant cathedral termite mounds, one is protected surrounded by metal bench and the other one still standing on its natural settings. These photos are part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Discovery : Strauss Airfield

Discovery (Post#38) : Strauss Airfield

Leaving Darwin City in few minutes and arriving in an open space made me wonder why we were in open space just beside the Stuart Highway. And while we were walking in the ground, we found few old plane drawings that are displayed within the airfield. I just realized that the said place is a historical Strauss Airfield which used during World War II and closed in 1945. These photos are part of Litchfield National Park Tour Photo Collection September 2016.

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Spitfire VIII – should represent as pinnacle of Merlin Spitfire design.

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Spitfire – The aircraft established air superiority and effectively ended Japanese hopes

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The P-40 – Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk has world-wide reputation as sturdy workhorse

Travel Diary 101 : Kakadu Missed, Litchfield Take Over

I planned my adventure in northern and western part of Australia before my visa expired last February 2017. I returned to Australia after 1.5 years and had my last travel in the said country. After having a free tour in Singapore last September 29, 2016 as my worthwhile layover which described in my post entitled Free Transit Tour in Singapore , when  I was on my way to Australia I thought everything that I planned as my adventures will be happening until something went off on that day. I arrived in Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory on September 30, 2016 few minutes earlier than its scheduled arrival time of 5:25 AM in the morning. The plane was not full of passengers, it was not the same of my previous flight to Sydney nor my previous flight to Melbourne. From the time that I disembarked the plane until I retrieved my luggage, I kept looking in my watch because I need to catch-up my tour around 6:20 AM in Darwin Transit Centre.

It still dark when I left the airport past quarter to 6 AM in the morning and I felt at ease while inside the taxi as I thought that I will be able to catch my tour. The cab driver dropped me off in bus terminal in the city. I asked the driver if its Darwin Transit Centre and he said it was. So I got off the taxi and waited a bit. I looked around and I felt there was something off in the terminal where I was at that time. I knew that I was in bus terminal but there were no people around. Time was passing, I felt uncomfortable and suspicious. I had a feeling at that time that I was in a wrong place. Since I don’t have internet in my phone yet as I just arrived in the city less than an hour ago, I was not able to verify if I was in the right pick-up point based on the GPS of my phone.

I was alone in the terminal and I waited, hoping that it was the right one, but the time of pick-up point was approaching and it’s almost 6:20 AM. And when I saw two Asian women, I approached them and I asked them if the bus terminal is Darwin Transit Centre but they responded to me that they were not sure as they were new in the place too. There was a tourist vehicle stopped near where I was standing, a guy got off the vehicle and he looked liked a tourist guide because of what he was wearing and I approached him and asked him if the terminal was Darwin Transit Centre and he responded to me that it’s not and its few minutes drive from where we were. I felt desperate because I knew that I will be left behind by the tour that I booked since I was not at pick-up point yet. The man who I asked offered me to dropped off at Darwin Transit Centre. An old man approached us and he asked which place I was looking for and I said to him the same place I responded to the first guy. They seem to know each other and the second man instructed the first guy to dropped me off in Darwin Transit Centre. I learned from them that the terminal I was dropped off was Darwin Bus Interchange Terminal, at that time, I thought that the cab confused it with Darwin Transit Center terminal. I also learned that I need to walk at least 10-15 minutes to reach the transit center.

At that time, I was sad because of what happened of my first day adventure after I returned to Australia. After the conversation with two men that I barely knew, I trusted them and accepted the help offered of the first man who I talked to. I hopped into the front seat of his vehicle and my luggage inside the car. On the way, we talked a bit and we conversed how the cab driver didn’t even knew or familiar with Darwin Transit Centre where in fact the said terminal is tourist affiliated center. We drove few minutes, then we reached the said location and I was very thankful to the man who helped me. After I got-off the car, I looked around and I saw the tour company office that includes in my email from Viator. I went inside and I asked about the tour that I suppose to join though the pick-up time has already passed, it’s almost 6:45 AM at that time. They told me that the bus already left which did not surprised me at all. They asked my name and they mentioned that they were actually looking for me. They received some of my updates in the email about my pick-up location. I explained to them what happened. They talked to me and told me that they don’t reimburse payment of any tour. They asked me if I was available the next day and I told them that I was not. My only option that will be a bit fair for me was to join their another day tour. I asked what are available options. The tour that I booked was higher than what they were offering me and the famous one but at that time I didn’t have a choice but to choose a tour that I can still join to maximize my first day in Northern Territory. The tour that I chose to avoid ruining my day was Litchfield National Park Day Tour.

Until then.

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