Sunday, July 25, 2010

Table Top Track - Litchfield

My main interest in Litchfield National Park was the 39 kilometre Tabletop Track. However the park was so good, and the offer of a friend to come down and join me for the weekend from Darwin was too good to refuse, so I stayed on for another three days.

Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory




The Tabletop Track is a loop walk, accessible from several different link walks that connect to car based campgrounds or natural attractions. So even though it is a 39 kilometre walk, one has to walk further to access the track, and further still to take in some of the side trips the natural attractions such as the rock holes and waterfalls. Well, if, and I mean IF, one can cope with walking during the day seeing almost no-one, then walking down a side track to a waterfall which has seemingly just been inundated with several tourist buses worth of people, each armed with an SLR camera and complaining about how tiring the three hundred metre walk from the carpark is.

Florence Falls is one of the more famous sites in Litchfield National Park, perhaps only Wangi Falls rivals it. I did the two kilometre side trip to Florence Falls, the link walk taking me through a humid monsoon tropical forest to the spectacular falls with a large, cool plunge pool. Somehow I quite accidentally managed to get a photo with no-one in it, how I don't know, as I swam another tourist bus load of people arrived.

The following day though, I couldn't bear to repeat the people inundation experience at Wangi Falls, so I skipped this side trip. I did return in the following days though with my friend from Darwin, and there were so, so many people, but it was still good, maybe helped by his tales of visiting Wangi during the Wet. No people there then, just lots of water and maybe lots of crocs lurking around too.

Much of what is easily accessible in Litchfield National Park, including the Tabletop Track, lies in the north of the park. The Tabletop Plateau dominates, the roads skirt around the plateau following the escarpment edge, frequent short roads in to the many waterfalls and water holes. The Tabletop Track likewise follows much of the escarpment, but on the plateau well away from the road and people. While most of the waterfalls are accessible by these short roads, some are only accessible from the Tabletop Track, which is what makes this track so special.



The walking in the savanna was hot, I really should have done the walk over more days and restrict my walking to the cooler mornings. The monsoon forests and many creeks and waterfalls though were so much cooler to walk through, always a nice place to sit and relax, maybe swim.

One campground was particularly special, only a very short walk from a link walk car park, each campsite with it's own private bit of creek, rock pool and waterfall. But if I tell you it's name I will have to kill you. So if you email me or leave a comment asking me, I will need to send a hit man around. And that wont be very pleasant, now will it? I would like to keep the Best Ever Campsite a secret as much as possible, although I shared it with my Darwin friend and I decided I would let him live (he was, after all, rather nice to talk to).

I lost my much loved and travelled hiking GPS unit, an insurance agent slammed into the back of my car on the highway, and I accidentally took too much of what I like to call my Deadly Drug (a medication), but these are all stories for another time...

Sorry, no map from the GPS for you this time. Too bad heh, you won't be able to find the secret campsite unless you come up here and explore it for yourself.

Updated 25/05/2011. There are GPS files available for this walk now. They come from http://en.travelnt.com/experience/walking-trekking/tabletop-track.aspx - I reconfigured the XML file as a GPX file and KML file. The path doesn't have a huge amount of points, but should be ample for navigating the trail should you wander off it (really only possible through burnt out areas of wide creek crossings.) I would place a caveat on the area around Walker Creek though, I'm not sure it looks correct, the trail goes from the main trail west to Walker Creek Campsite as a spur trail rather than the main trail passing through the carpark. If coming off the main trail you won't get lost, the spur meets to the carpark to campsites trail near the toilet, at about campsite 6 of 8. Turn left for sites 6-8, right for sites 1-5 and carpark.

Download GPX file - for use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit
Download KML file - view in Google Earth


View in full screen format
The above Google Map shows the official trail file from TravelNT.com
Download GPX file
- for use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit
Download KML file - view in Google Earth

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