Mataranka Hot Springs

Mataranka Hot Springs Facts, Northern Territory

Mataranka Hot Springs Facts & Stats


  • A set of natural thermal pools fed by underground natural hot springs said to be of healing nature.  
  • They are situated in the Elsey National Park which extends from 2 km to 19km east of Mataranka.
  • The name Mataranka means ‘home of the snake’ in the Yangmanic language of the Yangman aboriginal people of the area.

1. Thermal Pool

  • The Thermal Pool is famous for its warm springs of 30oC and pumps out 30.5 megalitres of water each day.

2. Bitter Springs

  • The 500m waterway is fed by an underground spring that flows down a watercourse.

3. Rainbow Springs

  • The Rainbow Spring constantly bubbles up water and the Thermal Pool is fed by 31oC water that comes from this natural underground spring.

For more information on these topics please visit the following website. 

The History of Mataranka

The Traditional Owners

  • The Aboriginal people of Mangarayi and Yangman have lived here for thousands of years.
  • The Mangarayi Aboriginal people’s traditional grounds (12,000 km2) were situated in the east of Mataranka.
  • The Yangman Aboriginal people’s traditional land (15,000 km2) extended up to the south of Mataranka.


  • Mangarayi is thought to be one of the Gunwingguan languages, presenting a dilemma to figure out whether it is a tensed or non-tensed language.

More info

  • The Yangman language was closely related to Wardaman and Dalabon and survives among a few Mangarayi people.

More info

Early History

  • 1875 – In an unfortunate incident of seeking revenge, large numbers of Mangarayi and other tribal people were killed by police and vigilantes.
  • The first European settlement was the Elsey Station.
  • 1911 – The Commonwealth took over responsibility for the Northern Territory.
  • 1920 – The first Commonwealth Administrator John Gilruth established research farms in a failed attempt to introduce sheep.
  • 1927 – North Australian Railway reached Mataranka and the town became a service centre.
  • 1928 May 24th – The town of Mataranka was first gazetted.
  • 2007 April 4th – The town and surrounding land were re-gazetted. 

Major Beliefs

  • The Aboriginal descendants of Yangman and Mangarayi people believe that a Wild Wind arose in the Dreamtime and swept across this land, creating land formations such as the Roper River, Bitter Springs, and Rainbow Springs. 

Tradition / Customs

  • Twenty-two sites that are sacred to the Mangarayi and Yangman people are there on the Elsey National Park.
  • There are many unrecorded indigenous archaeological sites that are there along the Roper River.

Art & Culture

  • Local Aboriginal artwork is on display and for sale at The Stockyard Gallery.
  • The Council Offices contains a museum that displays the history of the Aboriginal people of the area.

Animals / Birdlife


Places spotted



Red Goshawk, Australian bustard (threatened species), 

Elsey National Park 


Elsey National Park 

Freshwater sawfish (threatened species), 




Cane toad

Elsey National Park



Flying fox

Thermal Pool

Cattle, pig, donkey, buffalo, freshwater crocodiles

Elsey National Park

For more information on the animal and birdlife of the region please visit this website

Mataranka Hot Springs Tours 

Features of the tours:

  • Swim in the natural spring-fed thermal pool

Notes for traveller safety and comfort:

  • Travellers should have moderate physical fitness 
  • Bring swimming gear and be ready to have fun! 

Explore the Mataranka Hot Springs on our 3 Day Uluru Tour