that’s apparently the best they can do. ‘crocs have been known to move into this area undetected.’ should we be worried? ‘we patrol the area regularly and set traps.’ reassuring. ‘saltwater crocs are removed when detected.’ we certainly hope so.

the whole ‘where the bloody hell are you’ slogan doesn’t go down quite as well when it turns out tourists end up in the bowels of a salty. and we know those lizards are only welcoming to a point, at which you become lunch (as opposed to sharks, btw, who really don’t like eating us at all, crocs do not mind a bit of human in their digestive system).

when you read signs like this you know you are in the top end. so you either can stay out of the water, or for that matter well away from the water’s edge to begin with, or hope that either the overweight grey nomad who doesn’t appear to be too fit or the european backpacker girl who seems mostly interested in her tan are somewhat more exposed to the invisible croc. not that there are any guarantees.

but staying out of the water is not easy when you are in lichfield national park. there are so many plunge pools and they all look so inviting with winter (!) temperatures north of 30 degrees. the water in all of them is cool to say the least: we could not stay in the water for too long without getting cold and once we were out it was too hot. wangi falls in particular had a nice big shady park (and a cafe!) that was cooler than the surrounding area – if you didn’t mind getting eaten by the march flies.

buley rockhole was maybe the pretties of them all. it is a series of infinity pools (as natalie put it so fittingly) rather than the high waterfalls found in the other places which makes it more accessible. like most other falls, with the notable exception of tjaynera falls which requires a 30 minute walk through the bush, it is easily accessible with a short stroll along a paved path.

tjaynera and the blyth homestead also require a short drive along a 4wd track which is not too hard but it’s a good idea to attempt it in a higher clearance vehicle to get through the 50 cm deep fords. the croc warning signs make it clear that getting stranded in there would not be the best idea.

zippy very nearly drowned here in the line of duty but showed a remarkable capability to recover when i drove him into some leaves. lucky me, i don’t think i would have liked walking into the murky creek.

blyth homestead was particularly interesting. the ‘family album’ inside the hut explains how people lived here about a hundred years ago. it does not really explain why they thought it was a good idea to have fourteen children in the northern australian bush, unless the motivation was to ensure a supply of free labour; the kids definitely all pulled their weight, either on the farm or in the tin mine.

a magnetic termite mound. this particular species of termite likes to regulate the temperature in the mound. to do so they built it in a north-south direction; as a result the sun warms the mound in the mornings and evenings but only catches the narrow sides during the day. smart.

we liked lichfield. natalie probably mostly because of the children’s python she bonded with at the camp, but definitely also because of the many waterfalls. even in the dry there is so much water around and one can only imagine what lichfield would look like in or after the wet.

given how accessible lichfield is, and how close it is to darwin, it is definitely possible to dive into all of it’s plunge pools in a day (there are such tours on offer) but that would not be doing it justice.

and here are a few shots that also don’t do lichfield justice but it’s all we got. enjoy.

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