How to get to Elsey National Park

Elsey National Park is a beautiful site filled with warm, crystal-clear pools of water for swimmers to enjoy. It is considered one of the Northern Territory’s more popular tourist destinations because of its opportunities to swim in a natural setting–Elsey’s spring fed waterholes. Shade is provided by the native Livistona fanned palms that cover Elsey National Park. The park is also home to many little red flying foxes that sometimes migrate into the national park. Elsey National Park extends over 17km. It is located 8km away from Mataranka.

mataranka swimming pools with palms and fog

How do you get to Elsey National Park from Katherine?

Katherine is 120km away from Elsey National Park, and you will need to drive 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to your destination. Take Giles Street to National Highway 1. Then, continue on National Highway 1 for 107km. Finally, drive onto John Hauser Drive in Elsey to reach your stop. There are several options for accommodation in Katherine, including hotels and camping options in the area. Elsey National Park is accessible by 2wd, so you don’t have to worry about getting a specific type of car to reach this site.

How to get from Elsey National Park to Darwin?

Darwin is way farther from Elsey National Park than Katherine, and it is 434km away from the park (a 4-hour and 32-minute drive). Take National Highway 1 in Holtze from the A15. Then, follow National Highway 1 to Homestead Road in Mataranka. Finally, drive to John Hauser Drive in Elsey National Park. If you are planning on staying in Darwin, there are a multitude of options for accommodation. If you’re self-driving Hudson Parap and Hudson Berrimah are perfect to park your vehicle and have a restful evening with all the facilities. Both of these places have a bit of history for you to enjoy and the rooms are well priced. If you prefer staying in a hotel, we’ve developed a list here with many fantastic options that can fit any budget.

How to get from Elsey National Park to Alice Springs?

Alice Springs is located the farthest from Elsey National Park and is 1,083km away. Head west on Parsons Street and then turn onto Stuart Highway/A87 for 1,072km. Turn onto Homestead Road and on John Hauser Drive. If you’re planning on staying in Alice Springs, it’s better to choose a cheap option because you aren’t going to be staying in the city for a long time. Check booking.com for choices that can fit any budget. Note that Alice Springs to Elsey National Park and back is NOT a one day drive and you will need to stay closer to the park such as Katherine or Mataranka to rest after a long day’s drive!   

How to get to Mataranka from Elsey National Park?

Unlike Alice Springs, Darwin, or Katherine, Mataranka is very close to Elsey National Park–it’s only 8km away! Head towards Warloch Street, turn onto Homestead Road/John Hauser Drive.
Woman swimming underwater in Elsey national park

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Where to stay in Elsey National Park?

The best place to stay close to Elsey National Park is Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park. After frolicking in mother nature all day you’ll want a property that’s been awarded in sustainability… well you can rest easy here as it has been given the sustainability tick of approval. The property features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar. With a shared lounge, the property also has a garden, as well as barbecue facilities. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen, room service and organising tours for guests. A continental breakfast is available each morning at the motel. (It’s been known to be quite good!) Guests at Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park will be able to enjoy activities in and around Mataranka, like hiking, snorkelling and cycling. Mataranka is 4.6 miles from the accommodation. The nearest airport is Katherine Tindal Civilian, 64 miles from Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service. Booking.com

What to do in Elsey National Park?

Swim in Bitter Springs and Mataranka Theremal Pool!

Elsey National Park has two designated swim spots: Bitter Springs and Mataranka Thermal Pool. The water is extremely clear, and the area is shaded, so take a dip at these relaxing spots. To reach Bitter Springs, take Martin Road and to reach Mataranka Thermal Pool, take Homestead Road. To see any other sites in Elsey National Park, use John Hauser Drive off of Homestead Road. 

Take in the Scenery in the Designated Walks. 

There are also several walks at Elsey: the Bitter Springs Loop (500m), the Mataranka Thermal Pool Loop (500m), Stevie’s Hole (1.2km return), the Botanic Walk (1.5km loop), Korowan/Mataranka Falls (8km return), Sheep Dip (365m return), and the WWII Aboriginal Army Camp (650m return). Most of these sites are located off John Hauser Drive, which is about 4km away from Stuart Highway.

Elsey National Park Fuel Stations and Airport (the Essentials!)

Fuel stations are only available in Mataranka and not in Elsey National Park, so make sure that you’re fully fueled up before entering the park. There are 3 fuel stations in Mataranka. The closest commercial airport to Elsey National Park and Mataranka is Maningrida Airport, which is 342km away from Mataranka.

So come visit the beautiful Elsey National Park, a site famous for its clear waters and magnificent nature scenes.

turtle swimming in clear water in elsey national park northern territory mataranka bitter springs

We love connecting and invite you to provide feedback on this page – please comment below if you’ve been to Elsey National Park or are planning a visit!

Explore more about the beauty of Elsey National Park here. And… as always, you can get more inspiration for other Northern Territory National Parks & Destinations by following @northerhq and get your daily Elsey National Park  inspo at our Instagram account here @elseynationalpark.

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NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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