Mataranka is a small friendly town between Larrimah and Katherine, about 420 km south of Darwin, and 107 km south of Katherine.
Explorer John McDouall Stuart described this region as ‘simply magnificent’ as he passed through the lush green area after travelling through dry desert country.
The Mataranka Thermal Pool, part of the Elsey National Park is a constant 34oC. The crystal clear water flows at a 22.5 million litres per day and a swim here is an experience not to be missed! Bitter Springs Thermal Pool, at the other end of town is equally enjoyable.
Mataranka is fortunate to be on the doorstep of the Elsey National Park where there are bush walks, birdlife and great fishing in the clear waters of the Roper River. Canoeing, swimming, fishing and boating are popular pasttimes.
There are the Riveside and Botanic walks which are signposted. The Riverside walk begins at the Thermal Pool and continues for 16 kms to Korowan (Mataranka Falls). Each section can be accessed from John Hauser Drive.
The Australian Army set up No. 42 Australian Camp Hospital near Mataranka. The 10th Australian Advanced Ordnance workshops camped in buildings made from paper bark trees and serviced wrecked and damaged vehicles. An ammunition depot was also in the locality. These depots were served by railway sidings off the main line. Little remains of the buildings.
We of the Never Never
Elsey Homestead at Mataranka Resort is a replica from the film “We of the Never Never ”from the book by Jeannie Gunn - the story of her life on Elsey Station in 1902. Jeannie left the city and joined her husband Aneas, who was manager. The only white woman, she was fascinated by the Aboriginal people and other characters she met. Sadly tragedy struck and she left after only 14 months.
Old Elsey Station Cemetery- final resting place of many of the characters is about 20 kms south of town.
“Back to the Never Never” Festival is held on the third weekend in May annually and features the Reunion of the Territorians- a great outback weekend.