In Mataranka you’ll notice signs to two different HOT SPRINGS – the Mataranka Hot Springs and the Bitter Springs. Here’s a quick comparison for travellers that will hopefully give you a better idea where you’d like to spend your time and where you’d like to camp the night.

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Driving North you’ll first come across the Mataranka Hot Springs signs and I suggest following them. I was arriving on a Friday night and considered the locals at the caravan park pub building up to a rather festive night – and I was looking forward to a quiet night in the bush camping.

A quick look around – the Caravan park doesn’t have much shade and the ground is sand – not much grass if any.

Exhausted as I was I decided to check out the other caravan park – Bitter Springs. This one was much more to my liking for the night as it was peaceful and family friendly. The SPOTS to camp were well shaded, and that’s so important in the heat!

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The walk to the THERMAL SPRINGS was through the caravan park and down the road just a bit. The water was murky but clear with little fish and someone said they saw a turtle. People were sliding in at one end of the springs and floating down to the other steps through a beautiful scenery of bush. (See the man floating in the pics?).

The next day I decided to return to Mataranka Springs to have a good look at the THERMAL POOL. The campground was still not appealing and I’m really glad I camped at the BITTER SPRINGS as they were such lovely people and the sites were shaded in a great bush setting (well, the ones I chose were).

The walk to the MATARANKA THERMAL POOL is pretty much the same beauty as the Bitter Springs except that it’s paved and signed.

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The pool itself has crystal clear water and was absolutely spectacular! Sure, it LOOKS like a regular pool – rather than an outdoorsy nature type setting – but it’s the SPARKLY WATER that really sells it! I just floated there for awhile and watched newcomers in AW with what they saw. It was such a beautiful spot to rest, unwind and refresh.

So, all in all I would recommend stopping at BOTH the Mataranka Thermal Springs AND the Bitter Springs!! Camp at both. Swim at both! Both have their amazing quality with the Bitter Springs more natural and the Mataranka Springs more visually stunning.

mataranka hot springs northern territory