After spending a few hours floating around at Robin Falls, it was time for us to do a little more exploring and time to find another place where we could cool off.
Enter Litchfield National Park.
After backtracking 25km or so along Stuart Highway, we took the Batchelor turnoff and continued on until we entered the most easily accessible National Park in the Top End.
On this day, we had planned to visit both Florence Falls and Buley Rockpools, but after taking one look and beautiful Buley (pronounced Boo-lee, not Bue-lee) it became pretty apparent that this was where we would be spending the rest of our day.
Buley is one of the most popular parts of Litchfield. The upper pools get a tonne of sunshine and are a great place to soak up some rays and relax, while the lower pools get a lot of shade and are subject to some pretty strong currents in the wet season, making them perfect for anyone who wants to jump, swim and have fun!
In the dry season, even on weekdays this place gets absolutely packed with people, but on a random wet season thursday, we only saw a couple of other people in the entire time we were there. Having experienced it in both scenarios, I can say that I definitely prefer it in the wet season!
These pools are a fairly long way away from any serious croc country and while sightings of little freshwater crocodiles are not unheard of, this area remains free of the saltwater crocs – which are the real nasties! I am yet to meet a local who would not swim at Buley – this is not a place where you need to fear getting eaten.
However, that being said, if you do visit any watering holes in the NT – even if it is one that is considered croc free – make sure to pay attention to any and all signs in the area, park rangers will put up warnings if there are any abnormal safety concerns.
The best part about visiting these amazing rockpools?
Access is free!
There is absolutely no entrance fee to explore this wonderful national park – which makes it a pretty appealing destination for anyone who wants to experience adventure on a budget. All you need is fuel for your car and a good stash of snacks for the road.
It is about a 90 minute drive to Buley from Darwin – a drive that any Australian will tell you is just a quick nip down the road! During this particular visit, my friends and I based ourselves at my home in the northern suburbs of Darwin and drove to and from Litchfield on two separate occasions.
However, for those wanting to maximise their fuel efficiency, there are numerous camping grounds in the national park (many of which are in the process of being overhauled and upgraded) which are accessible to anyone for a reasonable cost.
While these pools may look like total paradise – be warned – mosquitoes and horseflies love to congregate around the area, so it pays to bring (and repeatedly apply) insect repellent.
We spent hours at Buley! We really didn’t want to leave – the only reason we did in the end is because it started to get late and we weren’t keen on driving on country roads in pitch black conditions.
As we were driving back towards Darwin, the most incredible dark grey clouds began rolling out in front of us. As it turned out, this signalled that we had picked a good time to leave.
The roads to Litchfield are sealed and in no way difficult to drive on, but there are several patches of road that are easily subject to flooding when heavy rains come. So unless you are driving around in a massive 4wd – if the rains come, it is time to get a-moving!
T H E L O W D O W N
Getting to Darwin: International flights arrive from Bali, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Getting to Buley Rockpools: From Darwin, follow Stuart Highway until the signed turnoff to Batchelor, then simply follow the signs
Camera: Nikon Coolpix S31 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 with M.Zuiko 12-40mm pro lens
Seasons: Buley can be accessed for most of the year, however during or after extremely heavy rains the currents can make swimming unsafe – make sure to pay attention to all signs!
Remember: More, more and more mosquito repellent!
Don’t forget to add me on Snapchat and Instagram – @wwellend – for more foolishness and travel adventures!