Litchfield National Park: Swimming with Crocs in the Wild

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Litchfield National Park Northern Territories is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report.


The culmination of my croc tour was visiting Litchfield National Park. Thus far I had seen Jumping Crocs, Crocs on the Yellow River, and Crocs in the CAGE OF DEATH.‎ I came away from all encounters unscathed. Litchfield would be the last opportunity for a croc to snatch me up.

The drive from Darwin to Litchfield is 1.5 hours and the first stop was the Termite Mound, a natural phenomena of bugs building their own high rise.

The second stop was Florence Falls. The sign said it was safe for swimming and free of crocs.

Safe for swimming sign, do you believe it?
Anyone down there with ancestors dating back to dinosaurs?

Vote of Confidence: Pose 1
Vote of Confidence: Pose 2

I went in, got out, and can confirm no crocs.

The third stop was Buley Rockhole. This was the most fun. There are multiple plunge pools for your wading, relaxing, and – if you’re dumb enough to do so – jumping. Again, the signs said no crocs and I survived.

Vote of Confidence: Pose 3

The final stop in the park was Wadi Falls. Here’s where things got interesting. Approaching the falls, there is nothing that said that crocs may be in the water. There was this general warning about crocs: 

However, I encountered this sign when I walked to the lookout point.

I read it again and once more to be sure. The sign clearly said that there was a low probability of crocs and that during the rainy season the plunge pool would be closed. It was the rainy season but the plunge pool was open, and there were many people swimming about.

Could a croc be lurking in here?

If this were a Hollywood movie, I would be yelling at anyone going in not to be stupid. Why risk getting in even if the probability was low? Why put your kids in the water? This isn’t a vast ocean where a shark attack is statistically unlikely to occur. This is a tiny, dark, murky body of water in which a nice croc can hide under for up to five hours without anyone knowing. Why would anyone go in?

Lest you forget, here’s what a crocodile looks like:

Lest you forget, here’s the power of the croc:

With that knowledge, I had to test my luck and go in for the sake of the blog.

Looks safe to me
Vote of Confidence: Pose 4
Vote of Confidence: Pose 5
Vote of Confidence: Pose 6

I got to one side safely, took pictures, and decided it was time to get out. All I had to do was swim back to the other side of this black pool and my croc adventure would be complete. I hopped back in the water and gingerly made my way across. Learning from horror movies, I didn’t celebrate until I was out of the water and well past the banks of the pool. In movies, the stupid person gets to the other side and boasts that he made it. Then, predictably, the antagonist leaps out of the water and kills the fool. That wasn’t going to be I. I congratulated myself after I was back in my rental.

Here are the signs that I missed heading in:

Things to do: risk your life for the blog
Free WiFi: Crocs hate WiFi
Judging by the falls we were in between dry and build up. Clearly no one is going in during ‘wet’ (except crocs).

To celebrate my triumph over death by crocodile, a pit stop was made at Berry Springs Tavern. I ordered a beer, oysters (not gross Kirkpatrick style), and, to make the story complete, fried crocodile.

And that’s how TPOL swam with the crocs all over the Northern Territories and lived to blog about it.

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