Darwin to Bitter Springs


Tracy Cox takes us on the road from Darwin (Howard Springs) to Mataranka (Bitter Springs).

Peter joining us at 2am off the aeroplane from Melbourne, we had a later than normal start at 9.00am.
With new DVD’s to watch, books to read and audio books we took off not knowing if we would make it to Mataranka for a swim in the afternoon.
Through Adelaide River and Timber Creek and then stopping in Katherine for lunch break. Sausage rolls and jam donuts from Brumbys bakery for lunch and back on the road, making it to camp at around 2.15pm
Mataranka is a small community on the Roper River, 420km from Darwin. With a population of approximately 400 people.
We took up camp at Bitter Springs just 2 kilometres South East of Mataranka. The caravan park neat and tidy, with the owners/managers taking pride in what they have available.

Bitter Springs is a tropical spring fed and mineral rich thermal pool, surrounded by palms and tropical woodlands. It is situated in Elsey National Park which incorporates the spring feed Roper and Waterhouse Rivers.
The thermal pools are 32 degrees Celsius and flowing gently. The springs here actually branch off into a stream which you can follow down 100 metres to a bridge & ladder, Peter and Tom choosing to climb out and go for a walk around the springs.

Although the water was clear to swim in, no living creatures apart from grey nomads with noodles crowding the stream, could be seen. The rotten gas smell of hydrogen sulphide very off putting, not to mention the algae lining the bank. If you like hot smelly water it’s for you.

As the sun went down we ate corn beef for dinner and went to bed early.




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