Departing Katherine on route to Litchfield there was an air of excitement in the car as we were all looking forward to seeing our friends the Purcells, the kids couldn't wait to catch up with Kyle, Sienna, Codie and Brielle and Tan and I couldn't wait to see Paul and Melissa. Apart from sharing lots in common with the Purcells (4 kids, inc twins) they can take a fair bit of responsibility for our trip as it was at their 2008 New Years Eve party that they put us up in their caravan allowing us to discover how well the van suited us and when it came time to buy a van they provided all support and technical advice needed to get us rolling.
Driving through a smoky Litchfield, which is about 90mins south of Darwin we set up camp at the popular Wangi Falls campground and reserved a spot for the Purcells who arrived shortly after us
. Getting reaquainted took a while as we wanted to know everything that was going on back home and they wanted to know all about our trip, after a quick lunch we took the short walk down to Wangi Falls where we were presented with a spectacular waterfall which cascades down into a massive swimming hole. Tan and I were amazed at the ease of getting to the pool, coming from WA we're used to scrambling over rocks, sometimes for up to a couple of hours to get to swimming holes which aren't always as good as this one, here we had a 200mt walk along a concrete path with stairs down into the pool, too easy. We've been told they do things differently in the NT and in this case better. We all quickly plunged into the pool, swam across to the huge waterfall and relaxed in the natural beauty of the place, the parents soon retreated to the grassy lawn area to continue with our catch up while the kids continued swimming until dusk. With plenty more to catch up on the kids watched a DVD at the Purcells van while Tan, Mel, Paul and I relaxed outside our van.
The following morning after completing the waterfall walk loop we all decided to see some of the other sights of Litchfield with our first stop at the nearby Tolmer Falls which is viewed from a great lookout, continuing on we started to head along a 4wd track to The Lost City which is a series of sandstone pillars forming a resemblance to an anchient city, well that is what the tourist brochure said anyway, as not too far along the track we were turned back due to a large fire burning in the park
. Our next stop was Buley Waterhole which is a series of deep water holes with small water falls running through them, we lounged around the pools for a few hours before heading down to Florence Falls to be greeted by another spectacular waterfall. With everbody feeling a little hot and bothered we decided to head back to Wangi Falls, on route we arrived at a road block which was preventing cars from heading out of the park due to the fire which had now cut the road, as we were heading the other way we were allowed to go through but wondered about the state of the fire, arriving back at Wangi Falls we finished off the day in much the same way as the previous day. With the Purcells carrying 6 bikes as well the kids spent a lot of their time riding and that evening Kyle, Codie and Coop got some sticks and decided to go cane toad hunting as there were plenty around, before long they were pulled up by some German backpackers who told them, "do not hurt the frogs boys", I found the boys explaining themselves to the Germans in broken english that they were vermin and they were doing their bit for the country, which they had learnt at the park ranger slide show the previous evening.
Our first night in Wangi Summer set the tent up just outside our bed window in which she, Sienna and Brielle spent the night, the next morning we were awoken very early to the ladies having a flatulance competition within the confines of the small tent
. The next night was the boys turn, with Codie bailing out early (good decision) Coops and Kyle were soon off to sleep, then on the stroke of midnight Kyle let out a scream. Tan raced outside to find him grabbing at his back finding a large welt and not being able to calm the usually unflappable Kyle. Tan took him over to Melissa and Paul who also couldn't calm him either. Come 2am with no relief Paul put him in the car thinking he'd have to drive to Darwin for help, along the way he got mobile service and was able to ring the Darwin Hospital who instructed him to drive to Batchelor a town just outside the park to meet the nurse, dodging roos and fires Paul soon had him there in no time. With the nurse unable to determine if the bite was from a snake, spider or centipede it looked like they would have to continue on to Darwin but soon Kyles blood began to clot ruling out snake bite. With protein still showing up in Kyles urine explained why his kidneys continued to ache and when he returned to camp at 6am was still in a lot of pain. Going through the bedding in the tent the following morning we discovered the biggest centipede I've ever seen (about 5 inchs) which explained Kyles pain which lingered on for a couple more days. As we packed up that morning I noted we were on site 13 and pointed it out to Paul who looked at his watch to realise it was Friday the 13th.
After a great couple of days with the Purcells that ended in high drama we packed up and headed for Darwin and were pleasantly surprised to hear that they would be coming back with us to get Kyle checked out and also because they had heard Torquay/Geelong had had the most rain in years, with Paul being an Irrigation Plumber there's nothing to do at the moment so thev've extended their stay in the top end for a couple of weeks
As we drove into Darwin that afternoon the local radio station was giving away tickets to the local rodeo, all you had to do was be the 13th caller, Tan got on the phone and our luck seemed to be changing as before long we had tickets in our hand for the Darwin Championship Rodeo.
SUMMERS CAMP REPORT:
Our first national park in NT and I loved it, really close to the falls at Wangi and we had so much fun with the Purcells.
COOPERS AMAZING FACT;
Most people think the centipede has 100 legs but they usually have between 15 and 191 pairs of legs (always an odd number)
. The centipede injects venom into its prey before eating it and lucky for Kyle there has never been a death reported in Australia.
COHEN AND JUDES BIG THINGS:
We saw a BIG centipede, some BIG waterfalls and a BIG fire.