Mataranka Things to Do

  • Rainbow Spring
    Rainbow Spring
    by AlbuqRay
  • Rainbow Spring
    Rainbow Spring
    by AlbuqRay
  • Rainbow Spring
    Rainbow Spring
    by AlbuqRay

Most Recent Things to Do in Mataranka

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    Elsey Cemetery - Wee of the Never Never

    by aussirose Updated Aug 12, 2013

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    Elsey Memorial Cemetery Mataranka

    I quite enjoy walking through Cemeteries and reading the grave plaques. The Elsey Cemetery was very interesting and my imagination ran riot as I read the entries.

    The Cemetery is a tribute to the original pioneers to the area and the charactors in the book We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn.

    I am ashamed to say that I havn't read the book. Hubby and I bought it back at the Homestead and I'm looking forward to reading it and especially more so now after having been here and experiencing it first hand.

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    Elsey Flying-Fox Habitat and Exhibit Area

    by AlbuqRay Updated Aug 24, 2012
    Elsey Flying-Fox Habitat and Exhibit Area
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    The Flying-Fox Habitat and Exhibit area is in the Elsey National Park on the walkway to the thermal pool just after the turn to Rainbow Spring. It has signboards and covers to protect people and the walkway from the flying-fox droppings. Although you hear that 1000's of Little Red Flying-Foxes live there and about the smell, it must have been the off-season for them when I was at the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (6 Aug 2010), and there was no smell or droppings. The flying-foxes had evidently migrated to another place.

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    Rainbow Spring

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Rainbow Spring in Elsey National Park
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    Warm, mineral-rich waters flow out of the ground from Rainbow Spring in the Elsey National Park at more than 30.5 million liters/day (i.e., 16,000 liters/minute or 4200 gallons/minute) and at a temperature of 34 C (93 F). They run via a narrow stream into the Mataranka Thermal Pool and then continue on to the Waterhouse River. It is not a true hot spring in that there is no underground "hot spot" heating the water. Instead huge reservoirs of water in a limestone formation 30 - 100 meters underground are heated by normal ground temperatures which increase with depth. The water table is very high in the Rainbow Spring area because the land surface has been worn away. Whenever the land surface actually cuts down to the underground water level, this allows the warmed water to flow out of the ground as a spring. See also another tip on Rainbow Spring Close Up and a videoclip of a wallaby at Rainbow Spring.

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    Rainbow Spring Close Up

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 19, 2012
    Rainbow Spring
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    Although the water at Rainbow Spring in the Elsey National Park is warm (34 C or 93 F), crystal clear, mineral-rich and flows out of the ground ~130 liters/second, some plants and animals love the environment.

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    Territory Manor Barramundi Pond

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 18, 2012
    Territory Manor Barramundi Pond
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    The pond where they have the Barramundi Feeding Show is quite beautiful. Actually there are only 7 barramundi in it (maybe 9). Barramundis are very sensitive to cold but two may have survived from the last cold spell. See also a travelogue on the Barramundi Feeding Show.

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    Rainbow Spring Thermal Pool

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2012

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    Rainbow Spring Thermal Pool
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    During World War II, one of the many soldiers who visited the thermal pool fed by Rainbow Spring, Victor Smith, saw its potential as a tourist spot. Returning in 1946, Smith setup a resort close to the 1916 homestead erected for the sheep station and by 1949 he had erected 17 cabins for travelers. The resort has since changed owners several times but has become one of Northern Territory's most popular spots. The thermal pool itself is actually in the Elsey National Park. It is open to the public. There is free day parking next to the Homestead replica. From there it is ~250 meters to the Elsey National Park entrance and another 200 meters on a walkway to the thermal pool. The water is not that hot (34 C) but is quite comfortable. Because of its convenience, the thermal pool stays pretty busy. The staff at the resort recommended going at dusk, which I did, and there were only a few people there. See also a videoclip and a travelogue with more pictures.

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    Korran (Bitter Springs)

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2012

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    Main Pool at Bitter Springs
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    For the Yangman and Mangarrayi people, Korran was created by Red-tail Black-cockatoo spirits: "One cockatoo jump in and then another one pull him up... make holes to make the water come out... That's the way we say that 'dendemern wurrwurr menyka' (black cockatoo dreaming)." The Bitter Springs name came from a worker, Steven King, on the Overland Telegraph Line in 1871, because of the bitter taste of the water. John Gilruth thought the name might discourage people about this land which he hoped to make a major agricultural center, so he renamed the area, Mataranka.

    Now Bitter Springs is part of the Elsey National Park. It was opened in 1999 to reduce crowding pressures on the Mataranka Thermal Pool and to provide alternate swimming access during peak Little Red flying fox migration periods. Bitter Springs visitor numbers show that it has become the most highly-visited site in the Park. Less developed than the Thermal Pool, Bitter Springs provides the opportunity for swimming in a more natural setting. On average, the flow from Bitter Springs is ~300 liters/second (Rainbow Springs is ~130 liters/second), and the water temperature is ~33 C (~91 F).

    Swimming is allowed north of the first viewing platform down to the bridge at the lower end (east). The current can be strong. There are entry/exit steps in three places. There is an exit ladder on the lower end bridge and some round exit steps near the bridge. No fishing is allowed.

    The Bitter Springs Loop Walk (500 meters return) is an easy circuit around the springs, complete with viewing platforms and interpretive panels. I believe that it is also handicapped accessible. Toilet and picnic facilities are provided at the site. See also a travelogue with views on the Loop Walk.

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    MHTR Canoe Hire

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 15, 2012

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    MHTR Canoe Dock on Waterhouse River
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    The Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (MHTR) has two-person canoes for hire on the Waterhouse River. I did not get a canoe, so I do not know what it costs. I do know that you hire the canoe at the MHTR Reception Kiosk, and that the Waterhouse River is beautiful and looks like a great place to sightsee or fish.

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    1916 Mataranka Homestead

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 14, 2012

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    1916 Mataranka Homestead
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    The Mataranka Homestead was established in 1916 by Dr. Gilruth, the Administrator of the Northern Territory, as an experimental sheep and cattle station. It is a fine example of tropical Top End architecture. The present Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (MHTR) has been built up around it. The 1916 homestead building is now used for staff quarters. See also the end of this videoclip.

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    Stevie's Hole

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 14, 2012

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    Stevies Hole from Upstream
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    I had read in Lonely Planet that the place to go to get away from the crowds at the thermal pool was Stevie's Hole. It is on a side channel of the Waterhouse River only ~1.5 km southeast of (downstream) the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (MHTR) and the trail is well marked. There are freshwater crocodile warning signs, but they also say an occasional saltwater croc is possible (the latter are the ones to worry about). I was at Stevie's Hole four times while I was at MHTR and only once was anybody else there, and that time it was just two young couples from France. Because of the warning signs, I was hesitant to swim there by myself. It is a beautiful place and worth a visit even if you don't swim. The water is just a normal temperature and not warm like the thermal pool. There are even dunnies up on the hill at Stevie's Hole. See also videoclip1, videoclip2, videoclip3, and a travelogue about the trail/road from the thermal pool to Stevie's Hole.

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    Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort Visitor Info

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 14, 2012

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    MHTR Visitors Information Signboard
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    This is general information on where things are located and what to do at the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (MHTR). See also a videoclip that shows the day parking lot (free) and the 1916 Mataranka Homestead, which is used for MHTR staff quarters now.

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    Elsey Homestead Replica

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 13, 2012

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    Elsey Homestead Replica
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    A movie based on Jeannie Gunn's "We of the Never Never" was shot around Mataranka and at Pine Creek in the early 1980's. A replica of the old Elsey Homestead was erected for the film at the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort. The site is next to the free day parking and it is open to the public. The Replica includes the main house and some outbuildings. A video of the movie is shown daily at noon on the covered, open-air patio of the resort. See also an off-the-beaten-path tip about the original homestead site.

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    Mataranka Springs Swim

    by Zanzibargirl Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Georgeous, Mataranka Swimming Pool

    Your in the middle of outback Australia. It is bloody stinking hot and the middle summer. What better to do than go for a dip to cool off in what has to be one of the most luxurious natural pools that has been slightly converted into a swimming hole in the whole of the Northern Territory.

    These thermal springs are located near the replica of old Elsey Homestead in Elsey National Park and claim to have therapeutic qualities.

    The crystal clear water emanates from underground and flows through sevaral rockholes surrounded by semi tropical vegetation. It maintains a constant temperature of 34 degrees C and bubbles from an underground spring at a rate of 30.5 million litres a day to feed the rivulet and water holes of the oasis.

    Land of the so called "Never never" of Jeanie Gunn fame, you are supposed to feel like you either never never want to stay or never never want to leave this area... With a pool like this, I was certainly happy to stay a while and swim instead of getting out into the hot outdoors of outback Australia...

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    Barramundi Feeding

    by aussirose Updated Nov 18, 2009

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    Mataranka Territory Manor Barra Feeding show

    A daily barramundi feeding show is held at the Territory Manor.

    ....What?... you say?..... feeding the fish?!!..... usually it's the other way around....the fish feed us ;o)

    Anyway, I enjoyed the show.... even thought these ugly fish were quite cute.... the way they knew the handler and let him hold them :o)

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    Thermal Pool

    by aussirose Written Nov 17, 2009

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    Mataranka Homestead Thermal Pool

    Mataranka Homestead has it's own Thermal Pool just a short walk through the palm tree forrest. I loved this thermal pool! Water was lovely and warm.

    The other Thermal Pool is at Bitter Springs just down the road. That one is bigger and you can swim down the nice warm river.

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Mataranka Things to Do

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