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Mataranka Hot Springs



From Tennant Creek: 567 km | 7 hrs
From Katherine: 108 km | 1 h 15 m
From Darwin: 421 km | 4.5 hr

The Mataranka Thermal Pools and Bitter Springs are both located in the Elsey National Park. It is safe to swim here and the springs are a perfect 34 degrees Celsius year ‘round. The rest of the National Park waterways are crocodile habitat, so no swimming. There are some great places to stay here for the night so you can wake up and enjoy the springs again or explore some of the walks.

The early days of Mataranka were captured in the Australian novel We of the Never Never.

Things to do in Mataranka Hot Springs

  • Bitter Springs Thermal Pools – is the first of the Mataranka Springs that you will come to after passing through the small town of Mataranka. It is a crystal clear natural spring of warm waters surrounded by a forest of pandanas palms. It has not been landscaped or had concrete edging added. Stairs are the only concession to make it easy to get in and out, making this the most natural of the Mataranka thermal pools.

  • Mataranka Thermal Pool is like a warm spring-fed swimming pool in the palm trees and woodlands. There are steel ladders to get you into the pool and concrete banks, like a swimming pool.

  • Elsey National Park Walks – the walk to Mataranka Falls (a short cascade and nothing to get excited about) passes through some pretty scenery and is worth it just for the walk itself.

  • Never Never Museum is in town and has displays on the northern railway, WWII and local history.
Mataranka hot springs
Bitter Springs Thermal Pool. Photo: carmenhuter via IG
Bitter Springs thermal pool
Bitter Springs thermal pool. Photo: longhairdont_claire via IG
mataranka hot springs
Mataranka Hot Springs. Photo: 12inatent via IG
Mataranka Hot Springs
Mataranka Hot Springs. Photo: laetitiamar via IG
Bitter Springs
Bitter Springs Thermal Pool. Photo: rooftop_wanderlust via IG
Elsey National Park walks
Walks at Elsey National Park. Photo: julialeonieh via IG
bower bird nest
Bower Bird nest, Elsey National Park. Photo: small_steps_accumulate via IG

Campervan Hire CAIRNS

Mataranka Caravan Park and Camping

1. Jalmurark Campground in Elsey National Park has grassed sites, toilets, hot showers, BBQs and picnic tables. You’ll hear wild donkeys calling in the morning and evening.
RATES: $6.60 per adult. $3.30 per child.

Jalmarark Camping
Julmurark Camping. Photo: via IG

2. Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping – a spacious campground on the banks of Little Roper River in a natural bush setting and right next door to Bitter Springs Thermal Pool. You can choose your own spot. Fires are allowed. Facilities include bore water from taps, toilets, showers, camp kitchen and laundry.
Rates: Unpowered sites $30 for two. Additional adults $10. Kids $5.

Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping
Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping

Free Camping

King River Rest Area is 58 km (45 min) north west of Mataranka on Highway 1. There are a few shady trees. Facilities include fire pits, sheltered picnic tables, toilets and tap water (not for drinking unless boiled) and a dump site.

This is part of the Savannah Way road trip across the top end of Australia which is mapped below. Zoom in to locate the highlights and camping of Mataranka Hot Springs. 

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Road Trips From Darwin & Adelaide


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