Nature’s garden in the Northern Territory

I have just been to Darwin on my first ever visit to that city to speak at a number of events related to climate change and so took a 31 degree day under a huge blue sky to visit the Litchfield National Park. It is a wonderful red and green landscape through which rivers have carved beautiful pools and cascading waterfalls. I went swimming in the pool at the base of the Wangi Waterfalls and was surrounded by forest and lulled by bird calls. I walked around the circuit track and at the top of the falls had a fantastic view over the landscape so full of indigenous history and culture and stories known only to them.

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I was fascinated by the cathedral termite mounds and the magnetic termite mounds and was once again left in awe by the genius of nature. The magnetic mounds look from a distance like a giant cemetery with hundreds of head stones. On closer inspection they are amazing feats of engineering with arches, tunnels, chimneys, insulation and nursery chambers. The mounds are aligned north to south to minimise the exposure to the sun with the broad fronts and backs on an east west alignment for temperature control. How amazing that termites have evolved to know this yet Darwin still has very few homes with solar hot water. It is time that Australia embraced biomimickery to understand better how nature does things and to learn from it.

As to the vegetation, there were lots of creeks fringed by lush vegetation, plus open woodlands and various grass trees burnt by random fires and other plants, the fruit of which look as if it should be edible. Lovely and occasional flashes of red, pink or yellow amongst the greens and browns made me think I should have bought a book on the native vegetation but on the other hand sometimes it is enough to just enjoy it.


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