Mataranka is a small town situated 112 km from Katherine in the Northern Territory, and is famous for the Hot Springs and Thermal Pools ( and Pies 😉 )
Mataranka Hot Springs
The Mataranka Hot Springs are the most famous and best known Hot Springs in Mataranka. They are at the doorstep of the Mataranka Homestead, which makes the homestead a convenient location to discover the Springs and the Elsey National Park.
Apart from the crystal clear bathtub warm water ( around 34 degrees ) and the tropical lush surroundings of the Mataranka Hot Springs, the Elsey National Park is also definitely worth to wander around.
There are several ( short ) walking trails and lots of birds and kangaroos around. Make sure you do a little outback walk to Harry`s Hole ( around 3 km round trip )
Some of the previous swimming areas are closed due to crocodile movements and sightings ( Harry` s Hole included during our visit ) but this are mostly the areas directly attached to the river, and the Mataranka Hot Springs are safe and separated by rock walls.
The Mataranka Hot Springs are located in the middle of a palm tree forest, which makes the area a tropical oasis and magical with the sun shining through the trees.
After a short walk via a very good accessible path ( ideal for people with small children or people with walking difficulties ) you reach the thermal pool.
When we arrived it was a Sunday afternoon, and really busy with school kids who spend a weekend camping and local people, but really early the next morning we were the only ones with another couple. In the dry season it can be really cold in the morning though, but the warm water makes up for it ( only getting out is difficult )
Bitter Springs is another Hot Spring in the Mataranka area and more natural and even more beautiful then the Mataranka Hot Springs.
It is like a river and has a natural current so you can just put your goggles on, sit in a tube or a pool noodle and literally go with the flow. The area is surrounded by lush greenery and the water is amazingly clear and blue. Lion got his goggles on and even spotted a turtle!
Entrance is free at the Elsey National Park, Mataranka Hot springs and Bitter Springs.
Where to stay in Mataranka
We stayed at the Mataranka homestead in a standard motel room. Rooms are very basic, a bit outdated and not the cleanest we have ever stayed in, but if you stay here just for the night, it`s not to bad,because the beds are comfy and clean. They also have a great camp area. In the evenings the bar at the homestead is a nice place to be. They serve good food and they try to have live music every evening in the dry season.
Where to eat in Mataranka
If you are looking for a good pub meal and a cold beer with some life entertainment for a very decent price compared with other outback destinations, the Homestead and the Mataranka Manor are your best shots.
Looking for the best home made pies ever? Fuel up your car at the United Servo at the main street in Mataranka and get a Pie ( or 2 )