Ayers Rock (Uluru) | Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park | Edith Falls (Leliyn) in Nitmiluk National Park | Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park | Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park | Katherine Gorge | King’s Canyon | Moline Rockhole | Motorcar Falls | The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) | Palm Valley
Ayers Rock (Uluru)
One of the oldest rocks in the world and also one of Australia’s most recognizeable icons, Ayers Rock (Uluru) is located on a major planetary grid point much like the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It is the second-largest monolith in the world after Mount Augustus in Western Australia. The drive to the rock is a looooong one. I strongly recommend going with a tour group. If not, unless you plan to live off of Witchetty Grubs, pack plenty of water and some food as the closest McDonald’s is 465 km (290 miles) away!
Edith Falls (Leliyn) in Nitmiluk National Park
Leliyn is the Jawoyn name for Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park. Leliyn Walk is made up of a series of pools and waterfalls, some of which are perfect for swimming! Several lookouts along the walk provide excellent views.
From the map in the second photo, photo #1) map of the area; #2) start of Leliyn Track; #3) from Leliyn Lookout; #4) in the Upper Pool; #5) crossing between upper and middle pools; #6) from Bemang Lookout; #7) crossing the creek; #8) in the lower pool.
Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park
Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park is a double waterfall set amid the monsoon forest cascades into a swimming hole. Guests can swim all year free from worrying about crocodiles as there’s none here. However, people need to be careful during the wet season with strong undertoes and water currents.
There is a lookout which provides a panoramic view from up above of the surrounding valley and pool below. The easy climb down the stairs takes you straight to the crystal clear pool where you can go swimming.
Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park
Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park is part of Waterfall Creek — a major tributary of the South Alligator River which is the only large tropical river system to be entirely protected by a national park.
The bottom pool, with a white sandy beach, surrounded by high cliffs and palms, topped off by the 150 meter cascading waterfall was made famous by the movie Crocodile Dundee.
Katherine Gorge in Nitmulik National Park is actually 13 separate gorges carved out by the Katherine River as it passes through the Arnhem Land Plateau. This land is owned by the Jawoyn people.
There are over 100km of walking trails throughout the park which offer a haven for nature lovers, with its rugged landscapes, fantastic views, dramatic waterfalls and lush gorges providing an abundance of flora and fauna.
Pat’s Lookout is at the end of the Windolf Walk, providing views of the lower gorge. There’s a seasonal waterfall in the Southern Rockhole which offers a refreshing relief from the heat!
Butterfly Gorge is a shaded gorge with butterflies and rainforest leading into Katherine Gorge. Both Pat’s Lookout and Butterfly Gorge are easy walks requiring no more than half a day.
One can spend a full day hiking in and around King’s Canyon. During wetter months King’s Creek flows through the canyon. A lookout 2/3 the way into the canyon is a great spot to have lunch.
The rigorous rim walk will provide views from magnificent lookouts and pass by the Garden of Eden. Along the rim there is no shady shelter nor a fence to keep you from falling!
Moline Rock Hole
Moline Rockhole is one of the nice little secrets in Kakadu National Park. A beautiful place that has no sign to keep visitor numbers low. Watch your head during the walk to the rockhole because there are several large spiders who have constructed large webs just asbove head-height along the trail!
Motorcar Falls along the Yurmikmik walk in Kakadu National Park is a 25 meter waterfall which drops into an amazing rock pool which is ideal for swimming!
The marked walk to Motorcar Falls is one of the most popular wet season destinations in Kakadu. It follows an historic vehicle track where, in 1946, the first motorcar entered the region. An impassable creek marked the end of the journey. Ever since, that creek has been called Motorcar.
The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)
The Olgas consists of 36 rounded domes or heads, separated by narrow valleys. The tallest is Mt Olga.
They are located a short distance from Ayers Rock (Uluru), and approximately 4.5 hours if driving from Alice Springs.
Bring plenty of drinking water as it gets hot! Morning is the best time to go.
Under Kata Tjuta Law, detailed knowledge of the area is restricted to certain people only. It is forbidden to pass this information on to the wrong people.
Approximately 2 hours west of Alice Springs, Palm Valley is located in Finke Gorge National Park. The valley is actually a gorge with high red cliffs, astonishing rock formations, waterholes, and easy walks with some great views.
The 10,000 year old oasis is home to lots of rare flora from a period in history when Australia enjoyed a much wetter climate.
Fun facts regarding Finke Gorge National Park & Palm Valley:
- it is the only place in the world Red Cabbage Palms grow
- the Finke River is supposedly the oldest river in the world