NT at the tail end of the Wet:
Litchfield and Nitmiluk Nat'l Parks

Nitmiluk map Photo journal of our 1-day explorer in Nitmiluk NP
Thursday, 18 March 2021

To enable an early start we drive down from Darwin to Katherine the night before and stay at a motel.

The plan for the day is to survey the southern gorge system (up to Number 9, see map to the right) from the air, get dropped off near Number 8 Gorge and then walk back to the Nitmiluk visitor centre. The walk itself is meant to be exploratory in the sense that we are going to explore, amongst others, a new track, which may, or may not be signposted at this time—we may have to simply find our own way back should we end up to far off the existing trails.

Additionally, we are not expecting any other hikers, as the park is still closed to general tourists for the Wet Season. Our trusted guide, Russell, is well known and connected with the local authorities and has organised a special exploration permit.

Russell, Gernot and Trudy in front of Heli
We are ready for take-off:
Russell, Gernot and Trudy,
with pilot acting as paparazzo

The weather is overcast and humid, but there is no rain looming. The countryside is fairly flat, and we can see far into the distance.

flat, wide countryside 1 flat, wide countryside 2

Lots of water 3 Lots of water 2 Lots of water 1 Since this is the tail-end of the Wet, there is plenty of water on the ground—we wonder, how much this will impact our hike.

We enjoy spectacular bird's eye views of:

...angular bends...  angular bend 1 angular bend 2 angular bend 3

...the straight channels of gorges with vertical walls... straight channel 1 straight channel 2 straight channel 3

...and the many waterfalls that are now all running (but will be mostly dry soon):

Cascading waterfall: full view
Cascading waterfalls—full view
Cascading waterfall: close-up
Cascading waterfalls—close-up
Waterfall with pool
Waterfall with a very private pool

Heli taking off Walking in paradise Surveying is over: after dropping us in the wild, the chopper takes off, leaving us to our own devices...

...and we have to use our own legs to progress ;-) But it's sort-of walking in paradise!

Rock art 1 Rock art 2 We start off with an excursion over to a rocky outcrop of the sort that can be expected to house Aboriginal rock art, and indeed, there are some magnificent exhibits. We spend a fair bit of time exploring it, arguably more than we should with almost the full day still ahead of us. But there are no regrets, especially since this is the only significant art site of the day.

Waleka Walk After walking a mostly well-identifiable track we come across a signage board and decide to mostly follow the Waleka Walk, which won't stop us from exploring some alternatives along the way.

Gernot as porcupine We end up finding our way back to the visitor centre, notwithstanding some interesting detours, which include a lunch-time swim in one of the fabulous pools, and some painful cramps. By the time we reach the visitor centre past 6pm, hilarious Gernot gives a great impersonation of a porcupine (or should that be an echidna?)—there's no shortage of spear grass.

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© Gernot Heiser 2021.