At this time of year it’s hard to get excited about spending time outside.
Soaring temperatures and hot winds puts paid to most adventures but there is always fun to be had in a national park.
I think that the build-up is the best time of year to head to Leliyn or Edith Falls.
The air is warm but the water in the plunge pool is cool and clear, the gas BBQ’s are free and the kiosk sells great coffee and toasties making it ideal for anything from a kid’s party to an easy Sunday lunch.
One of my favourite things about Leliyn are the small fish and other tiny water critters darting under your feet.
Take your goggles, the shallow areas near the pool entry steps are great places for the kids to practice their snorkelling skills.
Keep an eye out for the long limbed Northwest Australian Freshwater Prawn.
This little crustacean has long skinny forelegs, large poppy eyes and long whiskers.
They love to gobble up small water bugs or leftover bits of critter that others have finished with. Normally nocturnal this small and slightly spacey looking creature lives in and around the rocks and roots that line the edge of the billabong.
They are great opportunists however and don’t mind taking advantage of any disturbance you make as you move around in the water.
Many visitors to Leliyn have been surprised by the discrete little push of a pale blue and beige prawny limb as it tries to burrow underneath unwary feet and bottoms resting on the sand.
Barred Grunters are another slightly over-enthusiastic little ‘greeter’ living at Leliyn.
Their vertical black stripes and silvery scales make them the zebras of the billabong, with the stripes possibly confusing to their predators.
Like the freshwater prawns their diet is mostly made up of dead and decaying plant and animal matter in the sand and they don’t tend to distinguish between algae growing on a rock and a mozzie bitten knee.
You usually become aware of them when they sneak up behind you and nip at the rough skin on your feet.
Heavy wet season rains will close the pool soon enough so make a trip to Leliyn a priority over the next few weeks.
Always check www.nt.gov.au/parks for current conditions before you head on out.
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