DAY ONE: 3 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
As I sit along the water at Mindil Beach in Darwin under a tree, which provides sanctuary from the intense sun, I think back over the last few days and I find myself wearing the widest smile on my face. In case you missed it, I have been in the Northern Territory in Australia with STA Travel and Tourism Australia encouraging young Australians to explore their own backyard. Travelling back to the Northern Territory (I was here last year – see here) and exploring the Top End has long been on my list of destinations to visit. Flying into Darwin five days ago, I explored the land of the red soil with Way Outback Safari Tours and discovered secret waterfalls, swam in fresh water rock pools, paddled up the Mary River and met some intensely large salt and fresh water crocodiles, ticked Kakadu National Park off my travel bucket list, watched the sun set from Ubirr overlooking the mysterious Aboriginal sacred sit Arnhem Land, and that’s not all…
Florence Falls We were picked up bright and early by Way Out Safari Tours in the packed backpacker city of Darwin and travelled in a small mini bus with other intrepid explorers keen to explore the Top End. Our first stop was Florence Falls. What I love most about waterfalls is hearing the roar of water cascade down a rocky cliff before seeing it. Approximately 80mn south of Darwin, Florence Falls can be found in the wilderness of Litchfield National Park and can be accessed by road with a small number of parks for cars and other mini buses.
The walk down to the falls takes about 10 minutes and a viewing platform on the way down provides an impressive outlook above the falls. Florence Falls is a double waterfall amongst the Australian bush and cascades into a fresh water swimming hole. It can get quite busy so it’s definitely best to visit in the early morning. Swimming up to the double waterfall is hard work as the currents push us in the opposite direction, however we were rewarded with an incredible view under the waterfall looking out onto the water hole.
Buley Rock Hole Following an hour or so swimming at Florence Falls, we jumped back on the bus for a quick five minute drive down the road to Buley Rock Hole. A series of low lying waterfalls and rock holes, this long section of fresh water is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike. We made our way down towards the middle end of Buley Rock Hole where it was quiet and relaxing. We went swimming, explored the rock holes and lay down on the rocks soaking up the intense winter sun and simply enjoying the sounds of the bush and wildlife frolicking around us. Buley is the perfect place to stop and unwind after a day of driving, so if you plan on visiting, pack a picnic basket and lots of water. We could have spent all day here!
Point Stuart After a long day of swimming and driving, we jumped back into the bus and stopped for a BBQ. Following lunch we made our way to Point Stuart where we glamped – aka ‘glamour camped’. We were rewarded with two person private tents complete with beds, pillows and electricity. The facilities were fantastic – large enclosed kitchen area, toilets, showers, swimming pool – we definitely weren’t roughing it! We stayed here for the night, enjoying a delicious dinner followed by a warm nights sleep under the stars and the cooing of local wildlife in the middle of the Northern Territory. Bliss!
Florence Falls from the viewing platform
About to jump in and swim around Florence Falls
The rich red soil in the Top End
One of the many gorgeous views at Buley Rock Pool
Everyone enjoying the cool water at Buley Rock Pool
Swimming in the water hole at Florence Falls
Map of Litchfield National Park where we stopped for a BBQ
Exploring Point Stuart (and trying not to get eaten alive by aggressive mosquitoes)
Sunset at Point Stuart