Northern Territory 2011 by Campervan PART V
The Litchfield~Katherine~Kakadu Triangle
Gunlom Falls - 4WD
Gunlom Falls is the iconic and much photographed natural infinity pool seen on all the Northern Territory brochures and web site, with the valley floor spread out below. It took about an hour to drive to Gunlom Falls from Koolpin Gorge. We walked a couple of hundred metres to the base pool where there were a few people swimming, despite the crocodile warning signs which everyone seems to ignore. It was very leafy and pretty, but we didn’t dawdle, retracing our steps back to the car park where we found the track to the top pool. It was a very steep climb to the top of the escarpment, although the rocks were marked intermittently with yellow triangles pointing the way. It took about 30 minutes and we had to stop a few times to rest, as the path was protected from the wind and it was incredibly hot. When we arrived at the top, we were surprised to see not one, but three separate pools hanging above the rock face.
I thought Koolpin Gorge would be unsurpassable, but the top pools at Gunlom Falls were spectacular and the view was astounding. It was so stunning, I actually felt quite emotional. Even more surprising once again, was the fact that despite their accessibility, there were only about five groups of people the whole two hours we were there. I later chatted to one of the tour guides who said that visitor numbers were way down on previous years, and we could only surmise that this was due to the high rate of the Australian dollar, as it was peak holiday season for the Northern Territory. Certainly all of our friends had been travelling to the US or south-east Asia. Each of the three top pools at Gunlom had its own charm: the infinity pool had the incredible view; the middle pool had an inviting shallow sandy bottom; and the rear pool had a warm waterfall that gushed over the black rocks. We did not know where to wallow first, and hopped from one pool to another snapping photos left, right and centre. This would definitely be the place to come late in the afternoon and watch the sunset, as long as you left about 20 minutes to get to the bottom while still light. The swimming holes are all so warm in the Northern Territory – they felt about 30 degrees, although this may vary with the time of the year. We stayed there until about 5pm and then made our way back down to the valley so we would not arrive at Cooinda too late.
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