2011 March 30 & 31 – Days 84 & 85 – Katherine to Darwin, Australia

We had plans to visit Katherine Gorge National Park with its string of 13 gorges, but the inclement weather thwarted that idea.  Most of the roads and trails to the gorges were closed due to flooding and the path to the lookout was so steep and slippery we decided to negate the risk of injury by not climbing to the top.We decided instead to visit Edith Falls which turned out to be a very short little waterfall.   After visiting the waterfall we drove to Springvale Homestead.  Back in the late 1800s, early 1900s Springvale was a large sheep and cattle ranch.  However they were located so far from the southern markets and shipping routes that the place was never finanically viable.  It is now just a few old buildings in a popular campsite.                        There were lots of wallabees to watch.

The next day we headed back to Darwin, a distance of 317 km (196 miles). The signs on the back of the truck say, “Think twice before overtaking” and “Your passengers, their lives, your choice.”  The road trains are very long and there is rarely enough clear road to give sufficient time to get safely by them.

At Lichfield National Park we wanted to see the rock formations called “The Lost City” but the 4WD road was impassable.  We were able to wander among all the gigantic termite mounds.  Termites eat more grass than all the rest of the animals in Australia put together. It was lightly raining while we were at Lichfield but worsened as the day progressed.  We don’t melt in the rain though so we just carried on to Florence Falls and Tolem Falls.By the time we arrived at Tableland Swamp and Wangi Falls it was pouring so hard we got wet even beneath our plastic ponchos.  Our pant legs and shoes were saturated by the time we walked the 200 meters to the Wangi Falls.  There was so much water coming over the crest that it bounced off the walls as it fell and the mist drifted 100 meters across the pool.  The whole picnic area was flooded and all of the usual warnings were posted to stay back from the water’s edge due to the possibility of crocodile attack. The rest of the way to Darwin was driven through monsoon rain.  The windshield wipers on full were unable to move any of the water.  We could see them moving quiclky back and forth but the glass was never clear, even for an instant.  The Top End was under a cyclone alert and the area around Darwin was really getting pounded with rain.  Thankfully all that happened was the rain, there was no serious damage from high winds. The warning was lifted the next day.

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