Mataranka Travel Guide

  • Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort Main Building
    Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort Main...
    by AlbuqRay
  • Bitter Springs Thermal Pool
    Bitter Springs Thermal Pool
    by AlbuqRay
  • Rainbow Spring
    Rainbow Spring
    by AlbuqRay

Mataranka Things to Do

  • Elsey Cemetery - Wee of the Never Never

    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...

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  • Elsey Flying-Fox Habitat and Exhibit...

    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...

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  • Rainbow Spring

    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...

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  • Rainbow Spring Close Up

    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

    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

    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...

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  • Korran (Bitter Springs)

    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...

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  • MHTR Canoe Hire

    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

    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...

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  • Stevie's Hole

    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...

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  • Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort...

    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

    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...

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  • Mataranka Springs Swim

    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...

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  • Barramundi Feeding

    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

    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 exposed

    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...

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  • Mataranka Homestead

    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...

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  • Wildlife exposed

    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...

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  • Bitter Springs

    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...

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  • Classic Australiana

    "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...

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  • Swim the Bitter Springs!

    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...

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Mataranka Hotels

Mataranka Restaurants

  • Surprise! They Serve Barramundi & Chips

    Zig and I did not eat at the Territory Manor Cafe/Restaurant. We just went to the Barramundi Feeding Show. The sign outside showed morning tea and lunch items. It also said that they serve "Proper Coffee!". BTW, this is the closest restaurant to Bitter Springs if you happened to stay at the Mataranka Cabins and Camping.

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  • Outdoor Dining with Entertainment

    The Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort (MHTR) Garden Bistro is open in the evening. It has good, reasonably priced food and a beautiful outdoor dining area with a view of the stage and the evening's entertainment. There was even a kids' menu. It is located between the open-air, covered patio and the 1916 Mataranka Homestead building (where the MHTR...

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  • Take Away 8 AM - 8 PM During Wet Season

    Named after Jeannie Gunn (who wrote the book, "We of the Never Never"), Jeannie's Kitchen is open for take away from 8 AM - 8 PM during the wet season. The prices were reasonable and the food good. There were also daily specials. A movie based on Jeannie Gunn's book was shot around Mataranka and at Pine Creek in the early 1980's. The movie is shown...

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  • Awesome Oysters

    I had the best oysters ever!! here at the downtown Mataranka Pub.My favourite oysters come from South Australia and I thought these ones were from SA. They were huge!!...and yummy!!Well I was amazed to hear that they come from New Zealand! So... well done NZ!! You have oysters to rival SA!! And funnily enough, my favourite white wine is from NZ.......

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  • Friendly Staff

    Next to the Cafe is the bar... best place to hit after a big day sight seeing :o)Good place to meet people as well and hear all about their adventures. I loved the art in this place.... all depicting the charactors of We of the Never Never.Wanna see the bar underwater?.... Have a squiz at my second pic.

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  • Great Pub Style Tucker!

    Mataranka Homestead has a huge covered outdoor dining area and caters for breakky, lunch & dinner.The meals are large pub style and very good value for money. Friendly staff add to the experience. I enjoyed having dinner here.

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Mataranka Warnings and Dangers

  • Crocodile Warnings

    Both at Stevie's Hole and at the Waterhouse River and Rainbow Spring confluence platform, you get the same warning. It is a crocodile management zone. This means that management practices reduce the risk of saltwater crocodiles in the area. These include: (1) Surveys are conducted during the year and prior to opening the area for swimming; (2)...

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  • Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort...

    On Australia Day in 1998 a major flood devastated the of Katherine, and the area was declared a national disaster. The flood resulted from the 300–400 mm of rainwater brought by Cyclone Les that caused the already full Katherine River to peak at 20.4 meters. The floodwaters inundated the town and much of the surrounding region, requiring the...

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  • Dust

    It's always handy to have one of these in the car when travelling outback......doesn't have to be as flash haha :o)We had gathered a stack of dust in the car travelling from Cairns so Zig went in search for a dust pan & brush at the local Mataranka store and came back with this!! So if you want a flash looking dust pan & brush, you now know where...

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Mataranka Off The Beaten Path

  • Botanical Walk in Elsey National Park

    The Botanical Walk in Elsey National Park loops around a creek that runs into the Little Roper River. It is an easy walk (~1.5 km) and can be done comfortably in about an hour. The walk is self-guided with interpretative signs identifying native plants and trees by both their Aboriginal and western names. The signs sometimes include how the plants...

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  • Waterhouse, Little Roper & Roper Rivers...

    The trail to the Botanical Walk goes past (actually more like over) the confluence of the Waterhouse (from the west), Little Roper (from the south) and Roper Rivers. The first two combine to form the latter. The water was low when I was there, but I am guessing that this place gets totally drowned during the wet season. It is ~500 meters from...

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  • Elsey Cemetery

    An excellent web page on Elsey Station history tells us that: "The Elsey Cemetery, which is only about three hundred metres from the original homestead, contains the remains of several men who became famous through Jeannie Gunn's book and later the film We of the Never Never, published in 1908. She had already published The Little Black Princess in...

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Mataranka Favorites

  • Awake in the night

    If you can't fall asleep because of that baby that keeps crying, don't fret it's probably not a baby - it's the peacock! He could make the most eerie sound, but he did give up after a while and I could go to sleep.

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  • We of the Never Never

    We of the Never Never is the title of the novel written by Jeannie Gunn.She was one of the first european women in the Territory when she came here in1902 from Melbourne.Her husband was the manager of Ellsey station. Unfortunately he died after which Jeannie returned to Melbourne and wrote about her experiences in her book. It was published in 1908...

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  • Mataranka Hotels

    3 Hotels in Mataranka

    1 Reviews

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Explore Deeper into Mataranka
Original Elsey Station Homestead Site
Off The Beaten Path
Be Prepared for the Bat Stench!!
Warnings and Dangers
Swimming with crocs
Off The Beaten Path
We Of The Never Never
Things to Do
Bitter Springs
Things to Do
Mataranka Hot Springs
Things to Do
Walks
Off The Beaten Path
Replica of Elsey Station Homestead
Things to Do
Stevie's Hole
Things to Do
Waterhouse River
Things to Do
Thermal Pool
Things to Do
Map of Mataranka

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