There aren't very many things that all four of our children can easily come to a unanimous agreement over, but swimming under the waterfalls at Litchfield National Park is one of them. It was their hands down favorite part of our trip to the Northern Territory, and a place to which all of them would love to return one day. Fortunately we saved it for the last part of our nine day trip. Had we gone there first, the rest of our stops would have been disappointments in comparison.
Litchfield boasts several beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes, most of which are closed in the wet season. Fortunately, the plunge pool at the base of the double Florence Falls remains open. It is croc free year round, but it is not without its dangers. There were several signs warning that deaths can occur from jumping into the water hole from the rocks along the sides. This did not stop several tourists from doing just that both times that we visited. One daredevil climbed to the very top three times and jumped down, adding an element of drama to an already exciting time. I couldn't bear to watch, but the children found his exploits fascinating.
I put away my good camera and pulled out the waterproof one for the following photos. It is hard to think of a time when we have enjoyed swimming more. After being hot and sticky for several days, it was marvelous to plunge into the clear, warm water surrounded by the beauty of an unspoilt monsoonal rain forest. As twilight approached and everyone else went home, our family stayed for another thirty minutes, ignoring the hunger pangs from a skipped dinner hour. It was a magical evening, and one that will live long in our memories.
Another big attraction at Litchfield are the magnetic termite mounds (above). We passed them coming from and going to Florence Falls, and I insisted that we stop and take a look. They aren't quite as impressive as the cathedral ones, shown below, but they are interesting in that they are constructed with an orientation to the north/south axis in order minimise the amount of sunlight hitting the mound. This keeps the temperature cooler during the heat of the day. The height serves as a place for the termites to live safely during the annual flooding.
Big termite above, determined to pose in my "best photo of the day," and little termite below.
Four very happy children went to sleep that night begging to return to Florence Falls the next day. We agreed to the possibility, but only after doing a bit of bushwalking first.