Litchfield National Park - southern section

Saturday, Aug 15, 2009 at 00:00


The Reynolds River Track to the south is open only in the dry season, requires a high clearance four wheel drive, has shallow water crossings and sandy patches.

First point of interest is Blyth Homestead where there is a deeper water crossing to access the homestead. This simple dwelling was built in 1928 by Harry Sargent and his teenage children as an outstation and abandoned in the 1960s. It is a low roofed one roomed hut constructed from cypress pine with a corrugated iron roof.

Nearby is the Mt Tolmer tin mine which commenced in 1888 and was the first tin mine in the area. The sergeant family mined this to supplement their farming activities. What appeared to be mica sparkled in the ground near the creek and near the mine site.

The next drive was into Tjaynera (Sandy Creek) where there is a small NT Parks campground with hot showers provided. A pleasant 3.4 kilometre return walk basically follows the creek line to the small plunge pool from the Tjaynera Falls. I swam amongst the fish and across to the waterfall, seeing some good sized bream.

Following the track further south we passed some very tall cathedral termite mounds, at around four metres in height. On the flat open plains were fan shaped magnetic termite mounds. The Reynolds River track continues south the cross the Reynolds River to access the track into Surprise Creek Falls and campground, and continue on to meet the Daly River Road. Reaching the Reynolds River we found the crossing was not deep, but the slope down to the river was steep and scarred with slide marks from tyres. We decided it was not for our vehicle.

Greenant Creek walk is lovely, at first following a boardwalk through a rainforest lined creek. We hadn’t seen epiphytes and creepers twined around the trees and tall palms in the Northern Territory previously; it was a real rainforest experience. There was a lovely sweet aroma. After the junction of the walk trail and the Tabletop Walk trail, the terrain changed to dry woodland and stony hills. After crossing two hills, we reached Tjaetaba Falls, where a well constructed series of 46 steps goes down to a viewing platform showing the top section of the falls behind leafy trees. There is no access to or swimming permitted below the falls as it is a sacred site. A little further up the hill the trail ends at the top of the falls, where a series of cascades flow through shallow pool. With flat rocks, it was easy to access and gave an extensive view down the valley and into the distance. The full walk is 2.7 kilometres return.

Calling into Wangi Falls for a welcome and cooling swim, we found a large parking area and picnic area and lots of people at the pool. Two sets of concrete steps give easy access into the big green plunge pool, most of which as shallow enough to stand in, so the water had been warmed by the sun. There is a shallow area suitable for supervised young children. Two main streams and a number of tiny seepages come down from high above into the plunge pool, with the water flowing fast into the creek near the larger of the two falls. The tumbling water was cold. Investigating a small fernery near the second falls, I found warm water was seeping in at the point and was it comfortable to sit and enjoy the warmth. Other seepage areas I felt were all cold.

From the pool there is a well made boardwalk and falls viewing platform with a continuing walk to a large colony of fruit bats. Steps continue up a 400 metre climb through monsoon forest to a tree top lookout with views across the plains and walk over the top, which we took on another day but I will keep together here. This walk is being 2.7 kilometres overall. Reaching the top there is a boardwalk across the divided stream which forms the two falls. There is no access to the edge of the falls and swimming is not permitted in these small streams. The path continues on steps formed from natural rock back down to the plunge pool. After the climb and walk, a cooling swim was very welcome.

Read more detail about this trip and see all the photos in our 2009 Travelogues

Red desert dreaming

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