Elsey National Park

Mataranka Hot Springs, Elsey National Park, Jean-Marc La Roque / Auscape International
Caravan Fishing Swimming Toilets Watersports Camping area Information Picnic area Ranger Walking


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.

Fact file


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)

Park information

  • PWCNT Katherine (08) 8951 8250
  • PWCNT Mataranka (08) 8975 4560


13 840 ha

Visitor information

Katherine (08) 8972 2650


See Also


Jalmurark camping area

Enjoy great facilities here, including solar showers, in a peaceful environment (no generators). Bring your own firewood. Turn off Homestead Rd to the right after 4 km, onto John Hauser Dr, and follow it to the end.... Find out more

See Also

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