Australia So Much to See
From a vantage point at the top of the scarp, we looked down on the large plunge pool below.
Leliyn - Edith Falls in the Nitmiluk National Park
A small waterfall poured into a large plunge pool, where visitors were enjoying the water
We found the start of the Leliyn 2.6 kilometre loop walking trail near the parking area for the plunge pool at the base of the escarpment. The first 500 metres climbing the scarp is steep before following light woodlands to the crest.
Heading north west along the Stuart Highway, forty kilometres from Katherine two high bridges crossed the Edith River. The highway
became a divided road at the Edith River crossing, with two single laned bridges – old and new – forming the dual carriageway river
crossing. Soon we turned east onto the twenty kilometre unsealed road that took us to Nitmiluk National Park again; this
time to the busy Leliyn campground. We were lucky to find a spot we could easily fit our long rig into in this busy
but pleasant environment. From the caravan we stepped out onto a roomy grassy area shared with a few other caravanners parked
around it. The campground is well serviced.
After a steep climb to the crest, the roaring sound of the water told us we were nearing the falls. Then we caught a glimpse
of Leliyn, Edith Falls.
When refreshed, we continued on the loop trail, which crosses the river between Edith Falls and the next cascades by a series of foot
We were alerted to the proximity of the waterfall by a roaring sound and as we reached the crest, Edith Falls could be seen below
us. A short downhill walk and the trail reached the water’s edge. Time for a refreshing swim. The fast flowing water
at the base of the waterfall was comfortably cool in contrast to cold water we have experienced at other waterfalls. The
water tumbling down over a series of cascades and through the rocky pools. Edith Falls is just one of a series of cascades.
A short climb took us to the next lookout point with a seat to relax and look back on Edith Falls, the footbridge, the lower
falls. In the opposite direction views downstream saw the river vanishes over the edge of the escarpment to make its way to
the plunge pool back at the car park.
The trail meandered down through light woodlands, and crossed a few stream as the river seems to divide as it spreads across the plains.
The Nitmiluk National Park consists of five types of country; the sandstone escarpment, remnant pockets of monsoonal rainforest in
sub gorges, open woodland, open forest and riverine. Each supports different eco-system of flora and fauna.
One of the streams we crossed once onto the plains was cool and shady, as seen from a footbridge on the walk trail.
We were lucky to have come on the right day for a Ranger talk, which occur at many Northern Territory Parks on set days during the
tourist season as part of the Territory Parks Alive programme. This talk was about park management and wildlife.
such example of local wildlife is the Hooded Parrot which is limited to an area ranging from Pine Creek across to Arnhem Land and
south to Mataranka. Significant numbers occur and breed in Nitmiluk National Park. This species of parrot makes holes in termite
mounds for nesting, as the mounds offer a degree of protection from the heat of wildfires. However with less frequent and more
intense fires, the species is suffering.
A smaller stream had a crossing of stepping stones.
Looking down the stream from the crossing.
After leaving Nitmiluk, back on the Stuart Highway we headed north west towards Pine Creek
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For those not adventurous enough to have taken the 58 kilometre Jatbula Trail from Katherine Gorge, near Edith Falls where the trails
converges, a four kilometre walk upstream to a lovely swimming hole called Sweetwater Pool is another option. Continuing
on the Jatbula Trail in this direction from Sweetwater Pool is not permitted. A permit must be obtained to take the Sweetwater
Pool walk, and these are available from the kiosk at the campground. We did not take this additional walk, and the photo at
left has been contributed by someone who did. Thank you for sharing the beauty.