67 posts I have published, all of them in german. This is post number 68 and it is the first one in english. Welcome to http://www.zapletan.com, all my australian friends and bro’s from New Zealand! Great to have you here keeping in touch with what I am up to.
My first post will be about Litchfield National Park, one of the most spectacular places if you end up spendind time in Darwin.
It was about 6.50 when the bus picked me up outside my hostel. I was still tired of course, since I went to bed at around 3 am. So I hopped on the bus and fell asleep before we even left Darwin. I have no idea how long it took us to get down to Litchfield since I slept all the way, but by the time we got there I was right awake. The first stop was Florence Falls, where we stopped for about one hour and had the chance to go for a swim. A huge waterfall with a nice swimming area below, full of fish and crystal clear water.
After we have all had a swim down there we proceeded to the Buley Blowholes, an area within a single creek creating different swimmingholes while making its way downstream.
We all went for a swim for at least half an hour before we had to get out of the water again. After those two swims we drove down to Wangi Falls where we weren’t allowed to go for a swim because of the risk of saltwater crocodiles but we did get some lunch down there. Sandwiches with ham, bacon or roast beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, mayo, beetroot, pickes and onion – anything anyone felt like…
We stayed at Wangi Falls for about an hour and found some interesting spiders in the shelter.
I forgot what this one is called, but it is quite pretty and it is about the size of a matchbox.
They call this one a Huntsman spider (Sparassidae), a species that can get a legspan of up to 30 cm. Their bite is not toxic but can cause some serious pain, inflammation or even irregular pulse. It is however considered to be peaceful unless attacked, so we were safe looking at it and taking pictures of it from a safe distance.
And then we saw the red-legged golden orb-web spider (Nephila inaurata) which creates webs that even catch little birds or bats. This species is more common in South Africa or the Indian Ocean but can also be found in Australia. This particular spider was about the size of an adult’s hand, so roughly about 300 mm long and 150 mm wide. Click on the picture to get a close-up view on it.
After seeing all those huge insects we continued to see some huge reptiles. Our bus tour continued from deep in the heart of Litchfield National Park back towards Darwin, past Humpty Doo to Adelaide River. Most tour companies, like TopendEscapes or AATKings use the local Jumping Crocodile Cruise to send their guests to, whereas Wallaroo Tours have their own property next to the river, and they own their own boat – which is the smallest operating the Jumping Crocodile Cruise… and that means you get a lot closer to the crocs than with anyone else!
This one is a female saltwate crocodile, about three metres long, trying to catch the meat on the rod, but it was probably the smallest and least aggressive one that we saw on Adelaide river this afternoon. It didnt take long until Barry, our tour guide, identified one of the males that ruled the area of this part of the river.
When you see those wild reptiles less than a metre in front of you, almost five metres long, and jumping out of the water about two metres high, you feel the fear and respect that these animals deserve. Those crocodiles are believed to be about 200 million years old whereas dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. You have to remember – whatever killed the dinosaurs did not kill the crocodiles, they are excellent survivors. The largest crocodile ever sighted was more than seven metres long and weighed probably more than 2,000 kgs. When you see these huge creatures in action, there is one thing that comes to your mind straight away… stay away! They would love you to be part of their food chain!
This male crocodile leaps out of the water about 1,5 metres since it is hungry and wants to be fed.
An eagle above Adelaive River, the habitat of more than 3,000 saltwater crocodiles which would all be more than happy to nibble on one of the 1 million curious tourists that come across the top end of Australia every year.
Wallaroo Tours operates the smallest boat on Adelaide River doing the Jumping Crocodile Cruise – which means, you won’t get as close to the crocodiles on any other tour…
After spending more than an hour on the river, getting close-up pictures of huge saltwater crocodiles we made our way back to Darwin. The bus headed straight to East Point in Darwin to be back in time for the sunset around 7 pm.
The conclusion of the day was Champaign and Prawns while we watched a magnificient sunset over the bay and reflected our experiences of the day. Everyone was still speechless from the beautiful waterfalls in Litchfield and the giant crocodiles in Adelaide River.
Wallarroo Tours dropped everyone back at their place of accomodation at around 7.30pm, after such an interesting and long 12-hour-day of seeing waterfalls, spiders, birds, crocodiles and the beauty of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Many thanks to Barry, our tour guide, bus driver, boat captain and crocodile expert.
And thanks for reading all of this.