As Ellen and Les continue their journey from Alice Springs to Darwin, they have come across plenty of gems and places to visit! Here are come of their favourites:
There are three roads that will lead you to the big beautiful Elsey National Park. Homestead Road will lead you to Mataranka Homestead, through which you will find the entrance to the Thermal Pools. John Hauser Drive turns off part way up Homestead Road and will lead you to a Botanic Walk, the World War 2 Aboriginal Army Camp site, 4 Mile Boat Ramp, the old Sheep Dip, Wabalarr, Malurark and the 12 Mile Boat Ramp/old Cattle Yards and Jalmurark Campground. Martin Road will lead you to Bitter Springs, by far our favourite place to swim!
The park entrance found via Mataranka Homestead should be your first stop. If you’re keen to do a bit more than Thermal Spring floating, then make sure you turn right on the short, boarded walk toward Rainbow Springs. Here you can see where the 30.5 million litres of water bubbles up from the underground limestone, every day!
Continuing along this path for 1km will bring you to ‘Stevie’s Hole’ where swimming is now prohibited, keep your eyes peeled for fresh water crocodiles, amazing birds, wallabies and maybe even a pig or dingo!
Next, is what the locals call ‘The Junction’. It’s crazy that not many tourists bother to venture down to see where the Waterhouse River and Little Roper River join to make the Roper River!! It’s a short walk on a dirt path that will lead you to the bridge where you can stand right on top of where the infamous Roper River begins! With clear tropical water rushing under you, it’s a photo opportunity you would be crazy to miss. Just don’t drop your camera!!
**Swimming anywhere in the Waterhouse, Little Roper and Roper River is NOT allowed/safe)**
With so much to do in Elsey National Park, here are our LOCAL HOT TIPS of things to see/do:
– Drive to 12 Mile, and do the 4km return walk to Mataranka Falls…one of the only ways you will be able to see the waterfalls. (NO SWIMMING)
– Floating in the Thermal Pools (via Mataranka Homestead)
– Swim through Bitter Springs!!!
– Take a lovely nature walk to The Junction
– Fishing at 4 mile or 12 mile (stay a safe distance from the waters edge, no swimming!!)
Camping accomodation near Elsey National Park is found at Mataranka Homestead and Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park.
To camp in Elsey, drive to the end of John Hauser Drive to ’12 Mile’ and you can camp at Jalmurark Campground which is the most affordable and quiet camp area you will find.
If you’ve ever read the We of The Never Never book or have seen the movie, we bet that’s what made you want to visit Mataranka! Jeannie Gunn made Elsey National Park famous with her incredible, true story of Australian pastoral history!
If you’ve never seen the We of The Never Never movie, you can watch it over lunch at Mataranka Homestead where the film is played in the outdoor bistro at 12pm each day, during the dry season.
Then you can stand inside the Elsey Homestead replica that was used in the movie and then brought to Mataranka Homestead, a beautiful part of Australian History!
Just out of town you will also be able to see the Elsey Cemetery and original homestead site!
Here are some extra LOCAL HOT TIPS about what you can see/do in Matranka…from folks who lived there for 2.5 months!
– Territory Manor put on an AMAZING feed…breakfast, lunch and dinner!
– Territory Manor ‘The Manor’ also have daily ‘Barra Feeding’ at 9am and 1pm.
– Mataranka Hotel ‘The Pub’ has a great beer garden, cold drinks and friendly locals.
– Mataranka Markets, Sundays 9am – 12pm. You never know what will be there each week!
– 3 fuel stations, a general store and IGA.
– The ‘Rural Transaction Centre’ acts as the Post Office as well as many other things, if you have any dramas…the ladies in here would be the first to visit.
September 24, 2018