Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Litchfield National Park via Darwin

We arrived in Darwin about lunchtime, parked the car and caravan and had a look around the city. We enjoyed an early pizza tea at a street pub and it was nice to relax and watch the people go by.
We heard that you could stay on The Esplanade overnight, so, even though we had a caravan we thought we’d give it a go. We parked outside the Novotel. We took up two parking spaces and put in enough money for the rest of the evening. Randall even lined up the waste water pipe over a drain for low impact street camping!

It was Thursday night and the Mindil Beach Markets were on so we walked the few kilometres to see them. It was very busy, and very hot, so we ended up heading back sooner than we thought. We enjoyed a cool drink and an ice-cream sitting in the park. We were up early as we had to leave the spot before 8 am and we headed to a boat ramp for breakfast by the water, then it was off to the shops to restock before heading off to Lichfield National Park.

We stayed overnight at a camp called the Gravel Pit, which was exactly what it was!  Once you close the curtains in the caravan it doesn’t matter where you are anyway! Some young French people pulled up to stay as well– 2 girls and a bloke, and we had a bit of a chat with them.
In the morning it was off to our favourite place from last time – Buley Rockhole.
We got in early and found a spot to set up. It was very hot but the rock holes were not far away so we had plenty of swims.

Randall put up the satellite dish to get some news, so we were able to tell people who won Wimbledon.
The camping area said no generators, but Randall set it up with about 30 metres of power cord down the back of the camp site and started it up when there was no-one around. Unfortunately the ranger noticed the power cord (not the generator) and had a go at Randall. Fair enough I suppose. Anyway we stayed 5 nights there and got to know the ranger’s movements, so waited until he did the morning run before we started it up. (people we talked to didn't even hear it). We nearly got caught one day, but the ranger was busy looking after some (more) French backpackers whose car had broken down.
The water at Buley rockholes is very fresh and clear, and we did a few bucket runs to fill up the caravan tank when it got low.

We did some of the 4WD tracks around Lichfield, as well as going to Wangi Falls and Tolmer Falls.. We went into Tjaetaba Falls, which involved a river crossing.

As we came out onto the main road again we met a foreign young bike rider wanting to know the road conditions. We told him about the river crossing and he thought he could walk across. We did warn him about crocodiles ( no way would I do it)!
We drove into Tabletop Swamp, which was very pretty, as well as driving into the Lost City, which to us seemed very lost as it took ages to drive in!

The campground was busy each night and all sorts of different kinds of campers, motor homes etc. rolled in. One night a fleet of 7 identical motor homes came in!
We met a very nice couple while we were at Lichfield – Graeme and Lyn, from Victoria and had a few chats and a coffee. We both packed up and left on the same day – too many noisy families and young people had moved in for the weekend!
We overnight camped near the turnoff to Edith Falls. We noticed lots of caravans there when we left Edith Falls a few weeks back, so we thought we’d stop there. We were the second caravan in, and many more rolled in after us.

A couple wandered over for a chat and the bloke was talking to Randall about his problem with the car windows not working (except the driver’s). He had even been told it was a logged problem by the garage he called into. We had a similar problem and had discovered the windows can be locked by the driver and Randall had done that by accident. Off goes the fellow, and returns to say that Randall was right!
We arrived in Katherine the next day and headed to the car wash. The red dust was getting to us! We spent about $14 dollars – I was feeding in the money as Randall washed first the car and then the caravan. They certainly looked much better, and at least we could see out of the caravan windows again!

We did some shopping, then started the journey west – the next major stop would be Kununurra in Western Australia.

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