Tag Archives: arnhemland

Monsoon Rainforest – Part 4

There were bigger creatures living in the monsoon rainforest.

Along a canal were a whole series of darter bird nests. These extraordinary bird love fishing, and can stay underwater for five whole minutes.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

Not too far away lurked our one and only crocodile for the trip – a freshwater crocodile sunbathing on the sandy bank.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

And on the lookout for prey.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

But the most magnificent site was the one we had of the white-breasted sea eagle, which we had interrupted having its breakfast.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

They may not be the largest bird of prey in Australia, but they were large enough for me.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

Monsoon Rainforest – Part 2

In between the patches of forest, we floated through acres of lily-pads.

Monsoon rainforest habitats

And we were lucky to see many waterlilies in bloom.

Wet season waterlilies

Being on the water, we could see the flowers up-close, and they were stunning.

Wet season waterlilies

Wet season waterlilies

But these waterlilies weren’t the only aquatic flowers we saw. Among them also grew the snowflake lily that only blooms in the Wet.

Wet season waterlilies

Up-close, they look a lot like snowflakes.

Wet season waterlilies

Wet season waterlilies

Monsoon Rainforest – Part 1

Our other adventures at Mt Borradaile involved cruising the various waterways in this flat-bottomed boat.

Cruising at Mt Borradaile

We discovered very quickly that there were many habitats in the wetlands, the first we passed through being the monsoon rainforest. These are tropical areas that are waterlogged during the Wet but are completely dry otherwise. For example, this ‘canal’ under the paperbark trees in the Dry season is a road!

Monsoon rainforest habitats

Paperbarks weren’t the only type of forest we cruised through – there were patches of Livingstonia palms, straight out of the dinosaur era.

Monsoon rainforest habitats

And water-loving Pandanus Aquaticus, which I’ve seen in many parts of Northern Australia that I’ve visited.

Monsoon rainforest habitats

I loved how serene it all was, particularly when our guide cut the motor – beautiful reflections, and no sound bar the trickle of water and the twittering of birds.

Sandstone Country – Part 6

There are also bigger creatures in Sandstone Country – but being marsupials and nocturnal, they were rather elusive. We did catch sight of these two though, with the help of our knowledgeable guide.

This rock wallaby made a brief appearance under a rock overhang.

Creatures of Sandstone Country

And we caught a glimpse of a pair of possums in a rock crevice, out of the midday heat.

Creatures of Sandstone Country

Apart from these two larger creatures, that’s all the larger animal action in Sandstone Country, and the end of our visit there – although there’s plenty more to see at Mt Borradaile. Next, we venture somewhere much more watery.

Sandstone Country – Part 5

We had quite a few encounters with the wildlife in Sandstone Country. Being a place with many nooks and crannies, there were many places for creatures to hide.

The smallest first – these green tree ants were definitely the most ubiquitous. Their green bums have a lemon taste, and most tour guides in Northern Australia will coerce encourage you to taste it.

Creatures of Sandstone Country

This little beetle (or is it a bug?) had an almost jewel-like shell.

Creatures of Sandstone Country

These St Andrew’s Cross spiders were almost as ubiquitous as the green tree ants. Thankfully, they’re not poisonous.

Creatures of Sandstone Country

But the most striking small creature was the Leichhardt Grasshopper, first recorded by explore Ludwig Leichhardt back in in his first expedition through the Top End. He lived to mount a second expedition, where he mysteriously disappeared!

Creatures of Sandstone Country

Sandstone Country – Part 4

Further down-stream, the creek pooled into a wonderful fresh-water pond, complete with waterlilies and a sandy bottom.

Fresh water

It was our swimming spot for the week – I was lucky to be able to swim there three times. By mid-afternoon the water temperature was close to 30C, though it was a tad cooler in the deeper parts. I was told that the pool’s depth decreases as the Dry goes on, so that by July it would only be waist deep.

Fresh water

The creeks of the area drain into the many channels of Cooper Creek, which we’ll explore later. This waterfall/rapids gives you an idea of how much water was draining away.

Fresh water

Sandstone Country – Part 2

We scrambled up to the top of one of these sandstone escarpments to be greeted by a sea of green.

Sandstone country after the Wet

The pandanus – one of the main palm species in northern Australia – was verdant with new growth.

Sandstone country after the Wet

It was even fruiting – though apparently you have to wait a bit longer if you want to eat the seed inside.

Sandstone country after the Wet

There were still deep puddles on the escarpment.

Sandstone country after the Wet

And when the puddles dried up, these red flowers grew in their place.

Sandstone country after the Wet

So it’s not all just gum trees and spinifex up north, although we certainly saw our share.

Sandstone country after the Wet