Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 10th June 2004 to Saturday 12th June 2004

Thursday 10th June 2004

A slow start to today and then a visit to the local Doctor to obtain a prescription for some medication that was not going to last until we arrived home.  The Doctor was a young chap who was very friendly and there were no problems at all obtaining the prescription needed.  The Pharmacy visit was next and it was right beside a 'Brunby's' bread shop so we had some very fresh and tasty bread rolls for lunch.

The afternoon was spent in quiet repose, 'one of us' reading and the 'other one' trying to catch up on financial data entry into the MYOB program.  This would have been a lot easier if it had been kept up to date along the way but we have just been 'too busy' to get it done.

Preparation was then made to attend the 'Mindil Beach Markets' that open at and run through to We drove in to the markets early, finding parking before the main hoards arrived.  We then walked down to the market which is situated on the road and car park area of Mindil Beach, overlooking the beach itself and is shaded by many palm trees.  The beach faces west so it is a really great spot to be when the sun sets down on the ocean.

The market vendors sell a huge range of items and take away style food is available in all styles and cultures. We first walked through most of the stalls to get some idea of the range of products that may be of interest to us.  Then came the serious business of souvenir purchasing, which did take some time and careful consideration of matters such as how many trailers can we tow behind the caravan. I'm sure if we could tow a trailer behind the caravan we would have it full of souvenirs by now.  Fortunately this time we could only fit in a few tea towels...

Not long after arriving, we ran into a Retired Northern Territory Police Officer, Allan Mitchell who is an old buddy from the Blue Light and Neighbourhood Watch/Crime Prevention conferences that the 'other one' attended when he was the President of the WA Blue Light Association and in the WA Police Service Crime Prevention Bureau.  We had a good long chat before continuing our Market appraisal.  Allen is now retired but has just been elected as an Alderman on the Darwin City Council.

"One of us' (fang!) then decided that it was time to sample some of the culinary delights that kept wafting their inviting aroma all over the market area. The choices were almost endless but once selected, were devoured with enthusiasm.

The sunset was glorious and called for a quiet time sitting on the beach just watching the sun go down and the colours change with the light fading into darkness over the ocean.

After a most enjoyable evening we returned to the caravan park for our last night in Darwin as tomorrow we head off to Batchelor for a couple of nights so we can explore Litchfield National Park. This will be our last real sight seeing expedition whilst in the Northern Territory.

Mindil Markets - Darwin

Old Conference Buddy - Allen Mitchell
Retired NT Police Senior Sergeant

Friday 11 June 2004

Time to move today so after packing up the caravan and filling up the fuel containers we hooked up and headed south on the Stuart Highway.

After traveling through Noonamah and Acacia we came to the Batchelor turn off about ninety kilometres south of Darwin.  It was only a further 12 kilometres in to the town site of Batchelor where we booked in to the Batchelor Resort Caravan Park for the next two nights.  This is a Big4 caravan park that has palm trees scattered between the caravan sites and around the swimming pool.  They feed the local birds each morning and at about in the evening.

After settling in we had lunch and then took a drive out to Litchfield National Park, a distance of about 25 kilometres to the boundary and a further 10 or 12 kilometres to the 'Magnetic Anthills.  These anthills are white ant mounds up to about three metres high, however unlike the normal termite mounds, they are are situated on ground that is almost swampy in the wet and they are long and narrow mounds with the thin edges of the mound always facing in the direction of magnetic north. (give or take a few degrees)  They are quite fascinating, particularly as there are normal termite mounds right beside the swamp area these magnetic mounds are in.

Next we moved on the a place called 'Buley Rock pool' which is a swimming hole with fairly fast running fresh water through it.  There were a number of swimmers taking advantage of the opportunity for a swim and there were many nationalities represented in the water.  They say there are no crocodiles to worry about here at this time and as the water is very clear, it may be possible to se them if they were there, but a crocodile is one thing we don't want to meet in his territory.  One of the rangers in Kakadu made the comment about people swimming in the water holes "There is no guarantee that there are no crocodiles in any of the water holes and although you see tourist in them, you won't find a Ranger swimming in them".

Just down stream from the water hole is the Florence Waterfalls so we drove down to them and walked to the viewing platform that overlooks the falls themselves.  This was quite a spectacular view that not only overlooked the falls, but also gave views of the rainforest through which the river ran in the bottom of the gorge. A number of photographs later we walked back to the car and headed off back to the caravan park, leaving us quite a bit to see tomorrow.

Whilst sitting outside the caravan with a drink in hand in the shade of palm trees, with a beautiful warm evening approaching, we were able to watch the park staff feed the wild birds just a few metres away.  There were many pink and grey galahs, some white cockatoos and an array of colourful parrots and other species all mingling with each other and enjoying the free feed.

The day finished with a BBQ under the stars that were shining through the palm trees and a glass of wine to go with it.  I suppose there is something to complain about -- but I can't think of what it could be at the moment!

Litchfield National Park

Magnetic Anthills

Buley Rock hole

Saturday 12 June 2004

Today started off with 'one of us' washing a small load of clothes whilst the 'other one' cooked up a breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, tomatoes and toast.  This was planned to keep the wolf from the door whilst we toured the rest of Litchfield National park today. After the dishes were done, the clothes were hung out and we were all cleaned up, it was time to head off into the park once more.

Our first brief stop was at 'Tabletop Swamp, however there were not many birds at the swamp so we moved on a little further until we came to Tolmer Falls.  These falls are viewed from the top of the gorge that they tumble in to, as there are the rare 'Orange Horseshoe' and 'Ghost' bat species that live in the caves at the bottom of the gorge so access to these areas is restricted.  The falls themselves are not huge in the dray but are quite spectacular as the water falls down the side of the gorge and into a large pool at the bottom.

From Tolmer Falls we continued on past 'Greenant Creek' to 'Wangi Falls', the western most  accessible falls in Litchfield Park.  Wangi Falls could only be described as beautiful as they are viewed from across the clear fresh water in the pool at the bottom of the falls.  There are two sections to the falls, one being larger than the other but both continue to flow right through the dry season.  Although the pool has been a very popular swimming spot for tourists over the years (the 'other one' swam in this pool way back in the early 90's) currently it is closed to swimmers due to undercurrent at the base of the falls and also due to the possibility of salt water crocodiles being present in it at this time.  That is enough to convince us that we didn't want to swim in it today.

After leaving Wangi Falls we started back toward Batchelor, then after passing Tabletop Swamp again we turned off onto a 4WD track that after about ten kilometres of bumping about, took us to the 'Lost City'.  This is an area of rocky outcrops formed by erosion, which has carved large pillars from previously continuous sandstone layers.  These formations are quite fascinating and were well worth the rough journey in and then back out again.

From there we traveled out of the park before turning in to the 'Rum Jungle Lake' which is a small lake surrounded by reasonably steep hills.  It was picturesque and we couldn't see any crocodile signs, but it wasn't enough to get us in the water.

We arrived back at the caravan park at about 2.40pm feeling that we had now had a pretty good look around Litchfield National Park.  Then it was time to gather the washing in, complete the web site page and get the patrol and caravan ready for a pretty early start in the morning as we head toward the Western Australian border and our last night in the Northern Territory.

PLEASE NOTE: as we will be somewhere on the highway toward the WA border tomorrow night, we do not expect to have telephone access an as such, will not be able to upload the web page or send of receive e-mail.  Our next upload should be in Kununurra on Monday night.

Litchfield National Park

Wangi Falls

Part of the 'Lost City'