A minature replica of Karlstein Castle was built between 1974 and 1978 by Czechoslavakian Bernard Havlik. According to legend, he was so homesick that in his spare time after retiring from work at the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine, he set out building a beautiful castle to remind him of home.
Batchelor General Store
It the middle of Batchelor is the Batchelor General Store. Offering a small range of supermarket items and as a Fuel stop when entering or leaving Litchfield Park. Also good as a break and icecream on the way up to Darwin.
Batchelor - Northern Territory
Batchelor is a small town south of Darwin on the road to Litchfield National Park. Being on the major road into the park there is a lot of accommodation in the area, especially camping/caravan parks. The Town was part of the Rum Jungle uranium mining complex during the 1950's, 1960's but today is known more for it's Aboriginal tertiary educational institution, Batchelor College, which is an annex of Charles Darwin University. Although a lot of people just drive through on the way to Litchfield without realising what's really there.
Litchfield National Park - part 2
Wangi Falls would have to be the iconic feature of Litchfield, and the most popular. Although signs warn against climbing up Wangi Falls and jumping down, many people ignore the advice and risk injury on the slippery rocks.
The plunge pool is very large and can accommodate a lot of people, very important during the dry season which is the peak of the tourist season.
In the wet season the huge volume of water coming over the falls creates strong eddies and under currents. People regularly get drowned there that time of year. Sometimes it's the would-be rescuers who end up getting drowned. The careless aren't only a danger to themselves.
An unusual sight – main Wangi waterfall without a crowd of people enjoying the water.
Curcuma australasica is sometimes called Native Ginger as it belongs to the ginger family. Dormant during the dry season, it produces leaves then flowers rapidly with the onset of the first wet season rains. The striking flowers stand out in the patches of rainforest in Litchfield National Park and other similar areas of the Top End.
In the north of the Park are the remains of an old tin mine at Bamboo Creek. The site and ample interpretation signs give a good insight into how tin mines operated in remote areas during the early 20th century.
The area known to local Aborigines as Makanbarr came to the attention of Europeans in 1906 when tin was discovered. From then up until the 1940’s small scale mining took place off and on.
In 1941 new owners of the mining lease at Bamboo Creek began a more concentrated operation. The mine was abandoned in the mid 1950’s. In those last 14 years it produced 46 tonnes of tin concentrate and 250 kilograms of tantalite concentrate.
This Swamp Bloodwood (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa) is growing along Bamboo Creek. It produces large attractive flowers throughout the wet season. As with a lot of other eucalypts, Aborigines ate the seeds. The seeds are also a favourite with parrots which are often seen in the trees, sprig of gum nuts in one claw and biting through the hard outer shell to get to the seed.
Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park lies to the south west of Darwin some 120 kms by road. here are two ways to get there. The main one is straight down the Stuart Highway then turn west through Batchelor, and on a little further. For the other you turn off towards Berry Springs and then follow the signs. The last way involves some gravel road and isn't shorter. But it does give you an opportunity to make it a round trip rather than back tracking over the same road.
Buley Rockhole is part of a series of waterholes along Florence Creek above Florence Falls. As well as the day use area, there's a camping ground nearby.
Florence Creek between Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls. The walk along the trail between these two features follows near the creek is about 1.6 kms long and very easy. There's not much shade along the way so despite the easy going, remember hat and sun screen
Florence Falls is in quite a beautiful setting but access, from the car park, is fairly difficult. You need to take a steep path down to the plunge pool and getting into the water you have to get across slippery rocks. After your swim you have to climb all the way up again, and get hot on the way. This can be over come by taking another dip on the way back in one of the small pools at the top - much closer to the car park.
This particular Water Monitor (or Water Goanna, if you like) lives above Florence Falls and appears to be quite used to people. Haven’t been able to work out whether it’s a Mitchell’s Water Monitor or a Merton’s Water Monitor. But I’m sure it couldn’t care less about my ignorance. Water Monitors are common throughout the Northern Territory.
The walk at Tolmer Falls is only 1.2 kms long but being over sandstone plateau there’s little shade along the way. Make sure you have water, sunscreen and hat. The creek, waterfall and associated gorge are restricted access to protect endangered bat populations which make use of the numerous caves in the area. So there's no opportunity for cooling off with a quick dip on the way around.
The Silver Cycad (Cycas calcicola) is endemic to the Litchfield area. Newer leaves have a bluey-silver colour which stands out in the bush.