Darwin’s free, natural water springs

Darwin’s free, natural water springs

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 11/15/2019

Reading time: 3 mins

Why pay to enjoy hot springs when you can visit them in Darwin for free!

Just south of Katherine lies the small town of Mataranka. The area first entered Australian societal consciousness as the location of the famous novel We of the Never Never in the late 1800s. Since then, the town has acted as a welcomed stop for tourists, providing visitors with a place to stretch their legs and refuel. Today, one of the towns biggest calling cards however are the Mataranka thermal pools.

Fed by the nearby Daly and Georgina basins, the Mataranka Thermal Pools provide the perfect place to relax and unwind. Surrounded by tropical palms, the Mataranka Thermal Pools sit at a delightful 34* year-round, making them the perfect temperature to spend the afternoon relaxing in.

The parkland surrounding the pools are habitat for Little Red Fly Fox. You can hear them chirping around you as you soak in bliss. The crystal-clear waters and palming surrounds look like they’re straight out of a tropical postcard.

Slip into the river and let its soft flow weave you through the bush land and towards the Mataranka Falls. Though small, the falls are a pleasant sight, and their soft trickle adds a lovely ambience to the already beautiful area.

The Mataranka Thermal and Bitter springs are well developed and have facilities that will allow you to spend a whole day there including bathrooms, picnic tables and stair access into the springs.

Other things to do in Mataranka

In addition to the thermal pools there are several attractions in the Mataranka area worth visiting.

In the township of Mataranka, you can find the Stockyard Gallery. The gallery exhibits local Aboriginal artwork from the Mataranka and Roper River areas. Sit down for a drink in the adjoined café or purchase a piece or artefact from the stunning collection. You can also purchase souvenir gifts and books. The gallery holds a brief history of the area made famous by We of the Never Never and a 4m tall statue of Henry Peckham, a character from the book, can be found out front of the building.

Visit, or stay at, Territory Manor. Head to their billabong at 9:30am or 1:00pm to watch their Barramundi feeding. Witness the huge fish being plucked out of the billabong! Learn all about how the fish lives, changes sex and breeds during the daily show.

Head to the Never Never Museum and learn about the deep and rich history of this region. Learn about the country’s traditional owners, the Mangarayi and Yangman people. Read about the impact of European settlement in the region in interpretive displays. The museum also highlights significant developments in the region’s history such as the construction of the North Australian Railway, the Overland Telegraph and World War II.

You won’t regret a trip to Mataranka! This lovely country town welcomes visitors with open arms, and with many delightful walks and parkland to explore you’ll likely want to spend more than just a stopover here!

Related article: Is Mataranka hot springs free?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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