Elsey National Park
Elsey National Park is a gem. It sparkles with ﬂowing creeks, small gushing waterfalls, welcoming thermal springs and limestone dams, and is blessed with lush vegetation and vibrant wildlife. The spring-fed headwaters of the tranquil Roper River are located here, just east of Mataranka, and in the dry season the river meanders gently through large waterholes and tumbles over rocks and tufa dams. During the wet season the river swells and ﬂoods the surrounding areas. Most visitors stop at Rainbow Spring and Thermal Pool, where spring water with a temperature of some 34 degrees Celsius rises from an underground aquifer at a staggering rate of 30.5 million litres a day. Swimming in the Thermal Pool is extremely relaxing and the clarity of the water is unbelievable.
Some years the paperbark and palm forest that surrounds the pool is ﬁlled with screaming ﬂying-foxes; there are always birds swooping through the foliage feeding on insects and ﬂowers and monitors wandering by. You can walk from 12 Mile Yards to Korowan (Mataranka Falls), a lovely swimming hole, while Bitter Springs, accessed from Mataranka, is a beautiful spot.
A pretty walk (1.5 km, easy) leads along John Hauser Drive and there are numerous short riverside walks along the Roper River. Canoeing and ﬁshing are popular but traps, nets and spears are banned and barramundi regulations apply. A boat ramp and canoe launching area is provided at 12 Mile Yards and 4 Mile; outboard motor sizes are limited to 15 horsepower.
Jalmurak Campground at 12 Mile Yards, Mataranka Homestead
Location and access
125 km south-east of Katherine via Stuart Hwy to Mataranka (Bitter Springs); through Mataranka then Homestead Rd (to Thermal Pool and John Hauser Dr areas)
- PWCNT Katherine (08) 8951 8250
- PWCNT Mataranka (08) 8975 4560
13 840 ha
Katherine (08) 8972 2650
- Back to nature, Elsey National Park, Back to nature