Tourism NT & Natalie Sum
Northern Territory
MatarankaExplore 'Never Never' country, immortalised by the famous book published in 1908. But there is more to it that its fascinating pastoral history; including spectacular natural thermal springs, barramundi fishing and Elsey National Park.
An oasis in the outback, filled with history and beauty. The Mataranka township, 100 kilometres south of Katherine on the Stuart Highway, was the setting of the famous Australian novel, 'We of the Never Never', by Jeannie Gunn. Jeannie Gunn, ‘The Little Missus’, lived at nearby Elsey Station and her affection for the area has been immortalised in her book. Within Elsey National Park, you will find the grave of her husband and a memorial to the author at the Elsey Cemetery and Reserve. Elsey Station is now administered by the local Aboriginal people. The ancient Dreamtime stories of the Mangarayi and Yungman tribes describe a wind sweeping in from the east that created the area. The famous Mataranka Thermal Pool is a great place to unwind. The warm, crystalline waters of the natural pools have the power to soothe aches and pains after a long day on the road. The water is spring-fed, bubbling up at a fairly constant temperature of 34 degrees Celsius. The surrounding paperbark and palm forest filters the sun and leaves soft, dappled light playing on the water's surface. The area around the pools is a natural breeding ground for the little red flying fox, whose breeding season is usually from November to May, but often extends into the drier months. During the breeding season, there are ranger-guided talks available. Bitter Springs, a short drive north-east of Mataranka, is a relaxing alternative to the main thermal pools. Take your goggles, because small turtles and fish can often be spotted below the surface. The Mataranka township has a roadhouse with lodgings, police station, petrol station, cafe, restaurant, pub and general store.
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Things to do
Watch Barramundi being hand fed
Come and see barramundi being hand-fed at Territory Manor's 'Feed the Barra Show' in Mataranka commencing in May. View these famous fighting fish and watch them strike when they come to feed. Afterwards, why not relax and treat yourself to brunch or lunch at the café, there's something to suit everyone.
Stay at Coodardie Station
Located near Mataranka (approximately 400 kilometres south of Darwin) and set in native savannah woodlands, Coodardie Station Stay boasts true outback hospitality. The homestead accommodation is an impressive piece of architecture with a wrap-around verandah inviting you to relax and enjoy the natural bush surrounds and sunset. The unique rotunda guestrooms offer amazing views and feature spacious ensuite bathrooms and private access to the verandah. Enjoy fully hosted, wholesome family meals made from the freshest local produce. Sit around the outdoor fireplace and make a traditional supper of billy tea and damper. Spot an abundance of local birdlife, and the station's horses and Brahman cattle, or take a tour to the thermal springs and walking trails at nearby Elsey National Park. Cruise down the Roper River or take a guided four-wheel-drive journey of the property.
Bathe in the Mataranka Thermal Pools
Mataranka Thermal Pool is a great place to unwind. The warm, crystalline waters of the natural pool is said to have the power to soothe aches and pains after a long day on the road. The water is spring-fed, bubbling up at a fairly constant temperature of 34 degrees Celsius. The surrounding paperbark and palm forest filters the sun and leaves soft, dappled light playing on the water's surface. The area around the pool is a natural breeding ground for the little red flying fox. The breeding season is usually from November to May, but often extends into the drier months. The Mataranka Thermal Pool may be inaccessible at times due to flooding between November through to April.
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