Northern Territory, Australia

Litchfield, Tjaynera Falls and Surprise Creek

Having caught our quota of catfish at Finnis River, it was time to move on. We decided to have a break from fishing and seek some relief from the relentless heat with some swimming through Litchfield National Park. We took the back road into Litchfield which is partly sealed, partly dirt. Some sections are pretty rough and corrugated, but we did see a couple of 2WD vehicles driving it.

First stop was the perennial favourite – Wangi Falls. I have been to Wangi a few times before but that didn’t make a refreshing swim in the pool any less enjoyable. The finest natural beauty, impressive waterfalls and the clean cool water is perfect to escape the heat and wash off a few days worth of camping scum. Spotted a monitor lizard and some cane toads.

At night we cooked up two of our three mud crabs and sat around a big fire with a cool drink or two. Someone had left a huge log in the fireplace which was handy as we had no time to collect wood.

Next day we left Wangi and decided to visit a section of Litchfield that has been on my things to do list for a while – the Reynolds 4WD track. It’s a rough 44km long track that starts near Wangi at the northern end of Litchfield National Park and heads south towards Daly River, passing a couple of beautiful water falls and rock holes on the way. The track can be negotiated only in a good 4WD, as the descents and ascents through some of the water crossings are very steep and uneven. The Reynolds River crossing is the steepest and deepest crossing. The deep water claimed a victim during our trek – we came across an old 4WD that was parked up just after the crossing. The engine had stopped just after exiting the water. We tried to help get it started but to no avail. Another couple volunteered to give the stricken travelers a lift back to civilization.

The Reynolds track first passes Tjaynera Falls. It’s a 1.6km walk over uneven rocky terrain from the car park to the falls, which consist of a series of  rock pools connected by the waterfalls. The rock pools are ideal for swimming and provided an extremely satisfying cool down after our walk in the 37 degree heat. There was just one other couple visiting the falls. There’s a camping area near the car park with good facilities including flushing toilets and showers but we didn’t stay, instead continuing on to Surprise Creek. There was no one camping at Tjaynera when we passed through.

Onto Surprise Creek – another beautiful waterhole with mandatory swimming. The camp ground and car park are a short walk to the pool. We camped here the night. The camp grounds were mostly empty, with just one other group of campers. Not much facilities here – just pit toilets, benches and wood bbqs.

We ate some green ants and ant larvae on our walk to the rock pool and found an ants nest under construction. These ants are amazing. In the photo you see some ants holding a leaf. They remain in position whilst ants on the inside glue the leaves together with a silk like substances that they produce. Impressive team work skills. The ants taste like strong lemon juice, the larvae didn’t have much flavour and a texture like puss.

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