Mataranka, Graeme & Margaret Herald / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 232

Visitors are lured to Mataranka for its thermal springs and its sense of literary history. Jeannie Gunn, author of We of the Never Never, lived at nearby Elsey Station in the early 20th century. The town has adopted the term 'Never Never', using it to name a museum and a festival. 

Visitor Information

Roper Gulf Shire, Stuart Hwy; (08) 8975 4576.

Nearby national parks

  • 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...more

  • Nitmiluk National Park

    In Nitmiluk National Park, the powerful Katherine River, rising in Arnhem Land, has cut through the ancient sandstone to create a series of...more

  • Judbarra/Gregory National Park

    Judbarra/Gregory National Park lies in the transitional zone between the tropical and semiarid regions of the Northern Territory, and...more

Nearby towns

  • Katherine

    Katherine, on the south side of the Katherine River, has always been a busy and important area for local Aboriginal groups, who used the...more

  • Daly Waters

    This tiny town has a significant amount of history. Explorer John McDouall Stuart stopped here during his north–south journey across...more

  • Pine Creek

    The town was named Pine Creek by Overland Telegraph workers because of the prolific pine trees growing along the banks of the tiny...more

In Town

Stockyard Gallery: showcases local NT artists' work and a range of territory books, leather whips, didgeridoos and souvenirs; the cafe provides light homemade snacks; Stuart Hwy; (08) 8975 4530.

Territory Manor: restaurant and accommodation with daily feeding of barramundi at 9.30am and 1pm (open to the public); Stuart Hwy; (08) 8975 4510.

The Never Never Museum: outdoor displays of pioneer life, railway and military history, and the Overland Telegraph; open Mon–Fri; next to the Roper Gulf Shire Offices, Stuart Hwy; (08) 8975 4576. 

Giant termite mound: sculpture with recorded information; Stuart Hwy.


Elsey National Park The park encircles the Roper River, with rainforest, paperbark woodlands, and tufa limestone formations at Mataranka Falls. The Roper River offers excellent canoeing (hire available) and barramundi fishing. There are scenic walking tracks through pockets of rainforest with wildlife observation points and camping areas. The walk from Twelve Mile Yards leads to the small but beautiful Mataranka Falls. 

Elsey Cemetery: graves of outback pioneers immortalised by Jeannie Gunn, who lived on Elsey Station from 1902 to 1903; 20 km SE.

We of the Never Never: a cairn marks the site of the original homestead near the cemetery; 20 km SE.

Bitter Springs: set amongst palms and tropical woodlands in the Elsey National Park, these spring-fed thermal pools are an ideal place to relax and unwind; 2 km E.

Mataranka Homestead Tourist Park: enjoy a swim in the beautiful Rainbow Springs Thermal Pool surrounded by palm trees. The 1982 movie We of the Never Never was filmed here, and the replica of the original homestead is still part of the attractions; (08) 8975 4544; 7 km S.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort

Situated 7 kilometres off the Stuart Highway, the bistro-style restaurant here is adjacent to a Territory icon, Mataranka thermal springs. Those who rise early will see wallabies and peacocks ambling past the restaurant,... Find out more

Territory Manor Holiday Park

Off the Stuart Highway, in the middle of town, the menu is both à la carte and buffet. The locally caught barramundi is very popular, as are the steaks and kangaroo medallions. The dining area overlooks a... Find out more

Campsites around town

Jalmurark camping area 17 km

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

Manyallaluk Camping Ground 76 km

About an hour and a half’s drive south-east of Katherine, with access marked 52 km east of Katherine off the Stuart Hwy, this campsite on Aboriginal land is probably best suited to those who want an Aboriginal... Find out more

Eighth Gorge camping area (bush camping) 90 km

A campsite popular among overnight canoeists, this site is 16 km east of the visitor centre via Eighth Gorge Walk. It has no toilets.... Find out more

Dunlop Swamp camping area (bush camping) 91 km

With no toilets, and drinking water only available some of the year, this is a site for the experienced. There is swimming below Dunlop Swamp. It’s 9 km along the Smitt Rocks Walk.... Find out more

Smitt Rocks camping area (walk-in camping) 92 km

Suitable for canoeists or hikers, this site is 11 km east of the visitor centre, and accessible by the Katherine River or the Smitt Rocks Walk. Swimming, toilets and drinking water are available.... Find out more

Nitmiluk Centre Campground 96 km

Centrally positioned near Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, walking tracks, canoe hire and the cruise boat, this privately run campsite has pretty much everything you need, including a pool, and is the main camping area in... Find out more

All Seasons Resort Katherine 97 km

This resort on the Stuart Hwy at Katherine is a great base to springboard into Nitmiluk National Park. Its small camping area has powered and unpowered sites and there is a swimming pool. No fires are allowed.... Find out more

Shady Lane Tourist Park 99 km

This quiet spot just out of Katherine has great facilities. Take a short stroll to the river and do some fishing, or lounge in the pool. It is conveniently close to Katherine Gorge.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Territory Manor Caravan Park

This is a good quality, smaller park alongside a motel with tidy surrounds. It is close to the centre of town and a major daily attraction is feeding barramundi inside the grounds. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Mataranka Tourist Resort 7 km

This popular park is situated alongside the Mataranka Thermal Pool. Many people come here to swim in the hot, crystal-clear springs. There are good amenities, a licensed bistro and a well-stocked shop.... Find out more

Shady Lane Tourist Park 99 km

This park is in a quite rural setting 6 km from Katherine. It has large shade trees and very good amenities. There is plenty of space for larger rigs. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Coodardie Station Stay

Here’s a great way to enjoy life on a Top End cattle station. Located 10 kilometres south of Mataranka, Coodardie Station has a number of guest rooms and never takes more than two couples or families at the one... Find out more

Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park

Set back from the Stuart Highway, Territory Manor is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens with wide lawns and a large swimming pool. It’s an excellent base to explore the Never Never region. There is a good... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Mataranka park area 1 km

At Mataranka

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.

Twelve Mile Yards camping area 17 km

T/O 70km N of Larrimah (R) or 6km S of Mataranka (L)

On the banks of the Roper River 16km east of the highway in Elsey National Park.

Warloch rest area 35 km

40km N of Larrimah (R) or 36km S of Mataranka (L)

Just off the highway in open scrub.

King River rest area 56 km

57km N of Mataranka (R) or 49km S of Katherine (L)

Just off the highway among some shady trees.

Katherine park area 100 km

At Katherine

On the south side of town behind the information centre.

What's on around town

Back to the Never Never Festival: celebration of the out­back including a cattle muster; May.

Art show: May.

Rodeo: Aug.

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