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  • Day36

    Last Day: Falls, Butterflies & Birds

    August 28, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 88 °F

    This is the last day of our wonderful 5-week Australia trip. While still in Litchfield National Park, Sande wanted to see if the bird life here was as good as we’d seen in Kakadu. So on the way to a new plunge pool, we stopped at Tabletop Swamp. Sounds pretty yucky, but the remaining water in this quickly drying billabong was glassy and attractive to egrets and spoonbills in particular. The noisy white sulphur-crested cockatoos were prevalent as well. They have a terrible squawk, but are fun to watch as their ‘headdress’ fans out like a punk mohawk as they alight on a branch, then gets tucked back like an Elvis ‘do once they’ve settled.

    There was a bit of a breeze this morning, making it comfortable to take some more short walks. After walking the perimeter of the billabong, we drove to Tolbert Falls for a 1-2 mile walk along the escarpment—more remnants of the ancient plateau. More trees and bushes are flowering now that we’re in the tropics—wild ginger, kapoks, turkey brush and others we can’t think of right now. The water is not meant for swimming for cultural sensitivity reasons (we didn’t hear what those were).

    Another 30 minutes of driving got us to Wangi Falls for lunch at their cafe and a dip in the large and popular two-waterfall swimming hole. Before getting in, we watched a water monitor hunt for insects at the edge of the water. It was about 3 feet long nose to tail.

    After watching others do it successfully, Darryl, Nance and Sande climbed up about 10 feet to a small pool of deep, cool water under the small waterfall.

    Refreshed, we headed back to town to view the butterflies at the Butterfly Farm, where we’d had dinner earlier (Chris’ place). There weren’t as many varieties of butterflies as we hoped, but it was still fun to walk among them in the habitat created for them. Chris also keeps bunnies (small babies!), goats, pigs and a freshwater crocodile for visitors to feed and pet (not the croc!).

    Finally, it was back to our house for more bird watching. Thanks to Nance for sharing her photos!

    It’s been a fantastic trip, with ‘heaps’ of variety and memories. (Across Australia, they say ‘heaps,’ which is endearing.) We loved the openness and friendliness of the people, who have such good humor. From the Reef to the red rock desert, and the tropics as well, it is a fascinating country. Thanks for sharing our journey with us!
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