On Monday morning I met Bruno and his yellow submarine, as I secretly referred to it, bright and early. The group was pretty small, I think there were about 10 of us. It took about 1.5 hours to get to Litchfield, but the ride was pleasant with the wind whipping through the open-aired truck, and of course Bruno had tidbits of history and interesting facts to impart all along the way.
Our first stop on the tour was some massive termite mounds where I learned more about these bugs then I ever really wanted to know. The magnetic mounds were actually pretty cool. They are flat termite mounds built in clusters pointing north to south. The bugs build them to optimize the suns rays for warmth. Smart little buggers.
Next we got to the good stuff. Litchfield has several spectacular waterfalls. We visited 3 waterfalls, 2 of which we were able to swim at. The first was Tolmer Falls which was the tallest of the 3 and the one you couldn't swim in. Unfortunately we couldn't even get very close to it and just viewed it from a lookout point. But it was no less stunning with its single, seemingly small stream of water falling an incredible length to a glistening pool below. We could also catch a glimpse of some bat caves where there resides some endangered species. The next stop was Wangi Falls, where we were able to swim before a delish Aussie BBQ excellently cooked and served by our tour guide, Bruno. Before our big meal I decided to forego the swim for a brisk jungle walk up and over the falls; I'm more of a trekker then I swimmer anyway. The walk was lovely and took me roughly 30 minutes to complete. I guess not many people do the full loop since I only saw people on the front and back end if the trail. In the middle I was completely alone and found myself wondering what I would do if I twisted an ankle or came across some deadly animal. I guess it's not the first time I've had worries like this (remember my Mojave dessert post from last August), but like then I ended up fine and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end if my journey.
Following lunch, we continued our tour to Buley Rockhole, which was a collection of crystal clear pools you can swim in, or even dive into in some places. This was the first time I broke out the bathing suit. I decided the best thing to do was just jump right in. The water was freezing! But refreshing. We were only there for about 20 minutes until the fun was dampered by a poor old man who slipped on some rocks and cracked his head. Bruno and some other visitors who ended up being nurses jumped to the rescue and stopped the bleeding. In the end I think the mans pride was more hurt then anything else, but I hope his family took him to the hospital anyway to check for a concusion because the sound his head made when it hit the rock was just scary.
We moved on once again to our third waterfall and final location of the day, Florence Falls. Here, Bruno whipped out the pool noodles and we trekked down to the base where we again got a chance to jump in. This time, with the help of our trusty noodles we made our way as a group under the falls, which was a lot of fun. Then we waded in the water and watched some crazy kids jump from high on the rocks into the water. I'm still kind if regretting not trying it myself, but at the time it seemed crazy.
On our way back to town we got to play a game of trivia based on facts Bruno had shared with us along the way. I ended up getting 2nd place - hell yeah! - and winning a Darwin key chain- double hell yeah!
The day ended up being a lot of fun and full of interesting information provided by a man truly passionate about his work and his home. I would say the only downfall is that we were not able to spend much time in each place as we were tied to an itinerary. It would be nice to revisit the park on my own with the freedom to relax a bit more and enjoy this beautiful place.