This post is the third of a series of posts on the amazing time I had in the outback with YHA Australia in May. You can check out ‘Northern Territory’ tag to see more posts from the outback and ‘Australia’ tag for any posts I will be doing on Australia.
After a quick breakfast of toast and vegemite, we were told to start packing our own lunch since there will be no lunch facilities at Litchfield. This is the last day of our 3 day tour, and we only have one day at Litchfield National Park, so we had to move fast. We quickly made our sandwiches and said goodbye to Mount Bundy Station.
Magnetic Termite Mounds
Not too long after leaving Mount Bundy, we were greeted with an unusual sight I had never seen before – huge brown tomb-like shapes peppering the flat plains. It’s easy to notice that they were ALL facing the same direction! I found out those were Magnetic Termite mounds, which we will see tons more in Litchfield.
These termite mounds were built by thousands of termites to protect themselves during the wet season and to store food. It is not known for sure why, but there is a good theory on why the mounds are built facing the same direction. They are actually aligned to the earth’s North-South magnetic field orientation, which serves as temperature control against the top end’s harsh sun. By aligning to the N-S orientation, this minimizes sun exposure and ensures the temperature inside the mound does not reach a million degrees when the sun is at the strongest. So clever of these termites!
These termites mound normally are built to be about 2-3m in height, but you can also see one that is much bigger, about 5m, aptly dubbed as the Cathedral Termite Mound.
We left the termite mound and visited Wangi Falls for a quick dip. A few of us decided to do a short 1.5km walk at the Wangi Falls Walk. However further into the walk we saw so many huge spiders, golden orb spiders to be exact, and I was NOT mentally prepared to deal with creepy crawlies. So I cut my walk short about 1km in and turned back around :x
After that we drove a little bit more to reach Buley Rockhole, a series of rock-holes that provides more natural plunge pools. The pools can get quite deep so we jumped into some of the pools from higher rocks.
From Buley Rockhole, Florence Falls is just a 1.7km walk. It was an easy walk so I decided to just take it instead of riding the bus to Florence Falls. Once you get to the carpark area of Florence Falls, you still have to descend a bunch of staircase (which yes, you have to walk back up again) to get to the falls itself. There is a sweet lookout point at the top though!
And that’s the last of my outback experience. We drove back to Darwin after, where I spent the night before taking a 5am flight out to the center of Australia – Alice Springs. Coming up next on my series of blogpost! :)