One thing you should do in Mataranka is try their famous pies. WARNING - one is enough for two people - they're huge.
I was unaware of them when I arrived but took a punt and tried one. They're definitely worth their repuation.
The photos here are just some leftovers showing some things you might see. The lily ponds in particular attracted me as you will notice and I got a laugh out of the signs when they're read in conjunction with each other.
The main place to stay is Mataranka Homestead but there's also another caravan park near Bitter Springs.
From here there are a couple of walks you can do but the main thing that attracts tourists is the springs. Set amongst towering palm trees they are in a lovely location.
Of course, this attracts crowds and I can assure you you won't be alone.
The area has been landscaped and is very user friendly. It's only 100 metres or so from the edge of the caravan park.
One thing you get in the Australian bush is wildlife. In fact, the more you look, the more I guarantee you will see.
Sometimes you don't even notice them until you get you picture blown up, like the dragonfly on the leaf in pic 5.
Out the main rivers there are lots of archerfish (pic 4) and there are also freshwater crocs around though, on this occasion, I didn't spot any.
One thing you won't have trouble seeing though is apostlebirds. There's a group of them scavenging around the main caravan park. When I asked the manager what they were she said they were "the seagulls of the bush".
There's also some lovely plant life and none is more prominent than wattle when it's in bloom (pic 2).
If you arrive from the northern end of town, chances are you'll head to Bitter Springs first, which is what I did.
Here you will find an idyllic palm-surrounded location with crystal clear waters feeding a narrow creek.
You can choose to wallow at the entry site or drift 200 metres downstream to the exit bridge and walk back again.
Either way it's a pleasant experience in the warm spring-fed waters. Though water clarity may be good for vision, there is a taste of sulphur inherent in the water due to its origin.
I can also promise you you won't be alone.
"We of the Never Never" is the title of a classic Australian novel written by Jeannie Gunn.
One of the first european women in the Territory when she came here in1902 from Melbourne, Jeanie never forgot her experience, though it lasted only a year.
Her husband Aeneas was the manager of Ellsey station. Unfortunately he died from malaria related dysentry after which Jeannie returned to Melbourne and wrote about her experiences in her book. It was published in 1908 and gives good descriptions of the life on a station.
It was made into a movie in 1981 and the house constructed for that movie is today preserved on the property with period furniture and clothing inside.
If you are travelling the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory, no matter if you are heading to Darwin or going downwards - please do not pass by Bitter Springs without having a bath in the Bitter Springs. You would miss out on one of my most favourite spots in Australia!
It is located in the Elsey National Park.
The Roper River begins within the boundaries of the 13,840 hectare Elsey National Park. Numerous springs within the Park feed the Roper River which, in the Dry Season from April to September, flows gently through large waterholes and then tumbles over rocks and tufa dams. During the Wet Season, flood waters cause the river to swell and rage on its journey to the sea.
The most comfortable months to visit the Park are from May to September. The wet season causes the Roper River to flood, which may restrict access to some facilities in the Park.
Oh yes - if you have aracnophobia - this is not a place for you to go. When you swim around the pool there will be huge spiders above your head - they are harmless but you might get scared.
nothing better then a relaxing dip in the hot springs of Mataranka. Warmed to almost body temperature, try a early morning dip and then hop out to feel frozen when its over 20 degrees celsius outside.
Very close to the Mataranka Homestead you find the replica of the Elsey Homestead. It was made for and used in the film We of the Never Never. You can walk around for free and see the historical displays inside.
At Mataranka Homestead you can see the film - they show it every day at noon.
From the homestead follow the boardwalk and you will get to the thermal pool. It is crystal clear and lined with pandanus and very beautiful.
The water is 34 degrees and more than 16000 litre come out of the ground a minute.
Unfortunately the place can get a bit crowded.
right where the Mataranka Springs are is a replica (i may be mistaken) of the We Of The Never Never Homestead. Also housing some exibits and information.
close to the town of Mataranka are the newly opened Bitter Springs, somewhat more secluded and bush like, still a nice spot for a cool and relaxing swim
There's another pool, Stevie's Hole, about 1km from the homestead. And there usually aren't as many people there.
Just follow the path from the homestead, there are signs.
If you follow the boardwalk another couple of hundred metres past the pool you get to Waterhouse River.
You can walk along the bank or you can hire canoes (10$/hour)