We couldn’t leave NT without a little tribute to the territory. In the months we spent there, it was not only a tourist delight but an eye-opener, too. The land, the beauty of ranges, gorges, cliffs, and waterfalls, and the people have had us go… Wow really! Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. On Facebook, I have put up daily/weekly blogs on each area as we visited, not knowing from one moment to the next what to expect. All photos were taken with my trusty phone, so not an exceptional quality as they pixelate. However, hubby enjoys bringing out his Nikon now and then to mark a special occasion. And although mostly he is kept behind the wheel, he swaps the steering wheel for a camera when something attracts his eye. So, it is me who usually clicks and chats away while he drives. Therefore, to commemorate the photos he tirelessly takes, these are from him to you.
Hope you enjoy looking at them as I did while putting them together in a collage to showcase each attraction.
Pictures by Shaun @ SJB publishing.
Once over the border, Keep River National park ranges stood over us as we drove along the highway. These gorgeous mountains of magnificence led us safely to a free camp called Saddle Creek. It was our first stopover in NT, and the memory of the amazing rock pile towered above our campground which will always be remembered. The ever-changing colours as the sun went down had a packed campground out of their vans, campers, and tents, taking happy snaps of the event. It was my first sighting of, “a car load of land livers” who came to use the facilities. Not sure why I felt uncomfortable, but saying hi and smiling, and getting stared at and ignored, didn’t sit right with my normal cheery self. Still, I am only new to conversing with locals such as these, so will keep trying to work out how to approach and contact with more finesse next time.
The bridge stroll had us search for crocodiles on the banks and we scanned the water for swimmers for dinner. Not much going on in there. Intrigued, we peered through the gated fence for signs of the army who use this for a training base. One truck passed by, but no other excitement to keep us entertained.
Victoria River Roadhouse Caravan Park.
We discovered a quaint caravan park by the Victoria River further up the road. “We have to stop here.” I made hubby pull up. If anything, to allow time to pause and sit for a while within the beauty that rose from the land and trickled beside us. It called for a peaceful finish to our second day. How could we rush this experience and not stay and linger awhile? This moment in time to perfect for words.
After driving through the most gorgeous scenery, we wondered how this trip could get any better, but it did. The Litchfield National Park had us in awe with these waterfalls only kilometers apart. A truly stunning sight. Unfortunately, Shaun’s camera battery went dead, so he didn’t get to photograph all the epic scenes of wonder, but what he did was well captured.
Florence Falls Waterhole and Buley Rock-hole
Both are close to each other, both amazing. A hike and lots of stairs to one and the other, a little stroll from the parking bay. The Rock-hole took the sting out of the hot day for many as they cooled down in the inviting freshwater. A day to remember and photos don’t show the entire story. Close your eyes and imagine water rushing down a mountain splashing heavily into water below, screams and laughter of kids and adults enjoying the liquid madness. Wiping perspiration as birdlife chatters and the tropical dampness and steps heat your temperature. Yes, you have to be there to experience it all. So, that is why I always say, photos don’t do it justice.
With his camera recharged, we set off for Wongi falls. Disappointed a crocodile sighting had spoilt any chance of a dip in its cool waters. The cafe was open but after such a charming walk and view; we opted to make ham and cheese on Turkish. With cuppas made, we pulled out the camping chairs and sat in the peaceful park surrounded by the sounds of the distant waterfall splashing heavily below its tall rocky shelf.
Far away from Litchfield National Park, just outside of Katherine, we came across Edith Falls. The caravan park here is home to the most sensational swimming area. The falls cascades between rock boulders, keeping the running water remarkably clean and the glistening enchantment doesn’t stop there. A rock climb up high leads to another impressive waterfall with spectacular views below. A must experience. Because we missedout on a site (you can’t pre-book), we stayed in a free camp to the left before reaching the highway turnoff. A lovely spot where you can go back and visit as many times as you want. The swimming hole and waterfall are free for the public to visit.
West MacDonnell Loop
From waterfalls and bush to rocky ravines. The West MacDonnell range is a picturesque loop of the most memorable steep-sided valleys and canyons. The waterholes are a precious find in such an arid landscape.
This was the end of a wonderful week of sightseeing, which had us arrive at Hermannsburg, where we stopped to fill up the fuel tank. We had thought it would be just as interesting as the rest of the loop, but sadly not. Wrecked and smashed-up vehicles lined the road before pulling in, and the cars being driven by the locals had smashed windscreens and looked to be just as much in disrepair. Didn’t feel at all safe here, so after a quick look at the museum, which was half-closed, we were happy to leave as quickly as possible. Pull in here at your own risk and make sure you lock, bar, and bolt your valuables.
What a lovely surprise this was to visit. We pulled into the Devil’s Marbles campground and, in the heat of the afternoon sun, took a stroll around the walking path, enjoying every moment of these unusual round-shaped rocks.
(Pulled from Google research) Geologically, the marbles were formed from an upsurge of molten rock that cooled and became solid beneath a layer of sandstone. Over time, water infiltrated the cracks, breaking down the sandstone, and then the granite. As a result, rounded granite boulders perched on top of each other have been revealed.
However, they are also connected to dream time stories, one calls them serpents eggs, and another story has them formed by a devil man who was making a belt out of hair, dropping some clumps which turned into rocks, his spit turned into the granite rocks scatted throughout the area.
Ayers Rock (Renamed Uluru)
Shaun’s pictures of Uluru did it justice. Uluru looked exactly like this from afar, but close up, it has many sides to the unique formation, keeping the title of the biggest single rock in the world. Above ground, and the chunk that sits deep underground has earned great respect for its size and facades. Many have died scrambling up this rock to prove their fitness or just to say they had done it. In fact, 50 tourists have given their lives, and many others sustained injuries complying with this strange Australian custom. Now, this land has been titled back to the respectful owners. The spirits of their aboriginal ancestors can rest in peace. We are thankful the rock can still be walked around, but now from the ground where it is much safer for all. A tourist attraction that will continue to be a mystery, as its large impact on the flattest of landscapes allows it to be seen from many kilometres away. And the question of why, just it alone? So many questions unanswered.
Field of Lights at Yulara (Ayers Rock)
The special light show can be seen until 2027 and, depending on how popular they remain, will determine if they are commissioned for another 5 years after that. It was dark when the bus pulled up and seeing no path in front; we stumbled over a not really smooth surface following the dude in front, who was swinging a soft light in a circular motion. Once at the lights, we were left to follow paths to view this stunning show of soft lighting on a timer that changed colours, as do Christmas tree lights. But in a humongous area as far as the eye could see. Trippy stuff and worth the money to see something that may not be there in five years.
Kings Canyon and Kathleen Springs.
Both within cooee of each other and both took us on a walk showing off the best of nature’s wonders. A special moment at the end of the path. Imagine the warm sun on your shoulders and back, a slight breeze tussling at your hair and swatting a fly or two. Suddenly your attention is taken in every direction, eyes sweeping the landscape with every rustle, rock falling, twig snapping, and birds chirping as they fly from tree to bush, claiming a cooler spot. Could it get any better? And it does.
Thank you for joining us on our journey through the NT to see some of our selected favourites. A big call out to Shaun for allowing me to put his photos together in a way to allow me to put more up than this website allows.
Now in South Australia waiting for the borders to open so we can visit our families, we pay homage to Northern Territory for the wonderful adventure. And to parks and wildlife, and main roads for the cheap and free overnight stopovers which have made this journey possible for us.
And as the phrase up here goes, CU in the NT, next visit.