After spending a week in Darwin, it was time for both me and Mike to leave towards the highly regarded Litchfield National Park. We missed the ferry across to Mandorah by 15 mins due to my slowness; my packing skills are not as sharp as the more experienced Mike. To my defence, we didn’t know what time the ferry was leaving so I don’t really felt like hurrying up! We ended waiting 1 and a half hour at a local café, fancying about having a boat sitting in that nice harbour. That’s just how things work when cycling around…
Arriving at Mandorah pier on a low tide meant we had to help each other on bringing our bikes up the set of stairs. Then, after a week off, we were finally riding again. It was easy riding leading into the National Park, occasionally facing headwinds and the constant haze of controlled fires. Light smoke was a regular thing over the horizon. We found a rocky camp site just after the road junction going into the national park. Rest was needed before hitting dirt and corrugated road the next day.
Our second day was a bit harder on our bodies and the riding was sometimes horrendous due to stupid drivers. How can someone dare taking corners at above 100km/h on gravel and slippery surface? People were often passing us at high speed without even slowing down. We grew annoyed after an idiot passed us on the left side of the road. But it’s after a second car passing us on the left that we got really upset; us yelling “What are you doing!!!!” as this car zipped by, the driver and its passenger laughing their ass out. These rednecks ruined our day a bit. The night camp at Walker’s Creek lifted our moral; a basic picnic area beside the creek, real bliss after a hard day. The campsites (8 in total) are located further up the creek which means walking is required to reach every one of them, all having their secluded area. Leaving our bikes at a picnic area, we walked up discovering each campsite better then the previous one.
After Mike fixed a puncture on his back tire, we set off for a quick 25kms ride into magical Wangi falls. Large plunge pool, waterfall running, it was a great spot to spend the afternoon reading on the grassy area by the water. The day after was our longest ride in the National Park, about 65kms into Florence falls including a stop at the magnificent Timber fall. We could only admire this incredible scenery from the viewing point at the top of a rocky edge. The view over the area was superb. Our next stop was Bluey rock holes, a beautiful area where water is cascading into small natural rock pools. Since it was the weekend, people flocked in from the city for the weekend making it almost impossible to swim around. We decided to keep going and find a camp spot at Florence falls campground before trekking down and have a swim in the plunge pool. We were both disgusted after arriving at the bottom of the falls. Grass was inexistent, boulders and rock dominating the surroundings, packed with families and mostly travellers, most of them stupid English and Irish backpackers getting drunk. I personally don’t give a damn if someone decides to get drunk and jump to their death from the high rocky cliffs, despite the clearly visible sign saying that serious injuries and death occurred in the past. Since there are rocks everywhere, bringing glass bottles is a serious danger for others especially when families with young kids are crawling around. Can’t they bring cans instead? Then there’s the yelling and drunken behaviour disturbing the others around.
I’ve lost a lot of respect for British and Irish backpackers. Ignoring social standards seems to be common amongst them. While in Darwin, 2 got kicked out of the caravan park after 2 days of alcohol fuelled disturbance throughout the night. On the second night, the police had to come at 1h30 in the morning to shut the power down forcing them to stop their loud music. One of them even had the guts to thrash the eating area by throwing a pack of cooked pasta along with tomato sauce right after the cops had done their job. Drinking alcohol seems to be their only social activity and pass time while in Australia. After moving in Elkeys backpacker, those who were talking loudly and drinking throughout the night were English. In town, those yelling at each other from one side of the street to the other were English or Irish. If they do visit National Parks, then they bring alcohol and act like idiots totally ignoring the kids and families trying to have a quiet and good time.
Litchfield National Park was great; beautiful running waterfalls, beautiful campgrounds along creeks, and short distances between places. I personally preferred Kakadu due to 2 reasons; Jim Jim falls and Ubirr took my breath away and the crowd was less. Remove the drunken Englishmen and Irish and I would have probably have enjoyed Litchfield more.