Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

Bitter Springs

Home > Katherine > Day Trips | Free | Nature | Outdoor | Travel
by Jessica O'Reilly (subscribe)
I write because I love to. More exciting and unique adventures at my blog theotherjessoreilly.wordpress.com/
Published November 17th 2014
Sweet, Bitter Springs
Swimming in the natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness
Swimming in the natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness


Bitter Springs is a natural thermal pool with fresh water pumped into it from underground. The water temperature sits at around 34 degrees Celcius, and you'd think that with the tropical humidity and heat of the Northern Territory, it wouldn't feel all that pleasant, but it is a surprisingly nice feeling when you enter the crystal clear and turquoise water the first time.
Natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness
Swimming in the natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness


Situated about 100km south of Katherine and 430km south of Darwin, the little oasis is tucked away in the Elsey National Park amongst towering and thriving pandanas and palm trees.

Usually, you'd pass through Mataranka Homestead on your way to Bitter Springs. Quite often, the thermal pools at Mataranka receive more attention and praise than its sibling, and while also beautiful and unique, I find Bitter Springs more peaceful, tranquil and interesting. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with a water/pool noodle (or as I like to call them, 'woggles') or another equally effective floation device, and sit back and relax while the current takes you on a tour of the circular pool. It can be a little daunting passing so closely underneath huge spider webs and their inhabitants, but if you want a truly natural experience, you'll have to accept that it's just something else that comes with the Territory. If you're lucky, you may bump into something a little less scary such as a turtle.


After a quick float it's likely you'll want to have another go, so jump out at the end, take the quick walk back to the start and enjoy once again.
Swimming in the natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness
Swimming in the natural thermal pools in the Northern Territory wilderness


For visitors to Katherine and its local residents, Bitter Springs is a good place for a day trip. If you want to stay longer, there are various commerical camp grounds and other basic accommodation sites. The pub at Mataranka Homestead is a good place for lunch or dinner, as well as a great relaxation spot that allows you to escape the busy times. The area is popular with tourists and there will be the odd tour coach, but the chances of having a quiet and laid back time are in your favour. And the best part about these natural wonders are they are free for all! The only things you will pay for are things like food and accommodation.

It is wise, however, to check the accessibility to the springs depending on the time of year you plan to visit. The Northern Territory's wet season often causes the many waterways to flood, meaning the excessive amount of water can be dangerous with strong currents and aggressive wildlife, namely crocodiles, finding their way into popular swimming areas. Main roads are also cut off in some areas due to flooding.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  9
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? For relaxation, nature, the great outdoors and something unique
Where: Bitter Springs, Mataranka, Northern Territory
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists