Little Red Flying Fox: Elsey National Park A Merry Norther Adventure

It’s the season to be jolly and giving! The Norther team has been teeming with festive cheer (hooorayy!).

We have something magical brewing and would love to share it with you over the next 12 days.

Keen to join in on this adventure? 🤸🤸Here we goooooooo🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

On the first day of Christmas, Norther gives you a cute Little Red Flying Fox from the warm blue crystal-clear pools of Elsey National Park. (Oooohhh)

Are you feeling excited yet? There is more! 

Little Red Flying Fox in Elsey National Park

COMMON NAME: Little Red Flying Fox

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pteropus scapulatus

TYPE: Mammals

DIET: Herbivore

SIZE: Wingspan 3 feet

Did you know that this small and cute bat is very important to Australia?
How? Keep reading to find out!

The Little Red Flying Fox migrates a lot in search of food and shelter. Humans go to the shops to buy food but Little Red Flying Foxes go to the jungle to look for food. This makes the Flying Fox a great pollinator which means they are important to the ecosystem (cooool)! They favour flowering tree species like the eucalyptus and travel farrrrr away in search of this delicacy. They also inhabit different environments including thermal springs, swamps and mangroves.  

That is why up to 500, 000 Little Red Flying Fox regularly congregate in Elsey National park on a seasonal basis! (Crikey!)

The Little Red Flying Foxes live around the thermal pools, roosting on the bamboo and feeding on their flowers in the heat.

How cool would that be to see?

What Food Does the Little Red Flying Fox Eat in Elsey National Park?

Little red flying foxes have a diverse diet, their staples include the flowers of the eucalyptus and bloodwood trees. The survival of these trees depend on these little bats. This is why they are an important element in the Australian ecosystem! 

How spectacular is that?

The Little Red Flying Fox breeding colony is one of the largest in the Northern Territory! It offers opportunities for wildlife watching on a grand scale. What an adventure you and your mates could have trying to capture them on camera going about their flying business (Na na na na na na na na na na na na an: Batman 🦇)

Inspired to Explore? 

Now that you know all about these cute bats, it’s time to colour them in! Share this with your friends and see who can do the most creative design. Have some fun and maybe add a bit more bats and make them look like they are flying together. Wanna feature your creation on our Instagram? Email us [email protected] and we’ll share the most creative design on our Instagram page! 

Yours in adventure,

Have a Merry Norther Christmas 

Download The Little Red Flying Fox Colouring Page

Christmas – Elsey

Simply pop in your details below to get instant access to your free downloadable colouring page

Visiting Elsey National Park

We have gathered all the information you need to start planning your journey through the Northern Territory. Pack your bags and come along, it’s time to go on a wondrous adventure with Norther on each day of Christmas!

So, why is Elsey National Park on your Northern Territory adventure?

The trip to Elsey National Park can be a day trip from Katherine as it is just an hour away. It is part of the traditional lands of the Mangarrayi and Yangman First Nations people. This cultural significance means this is protected land.

Another great reason to visit is the environmental significance of this beautiful place. See the wild palm trees that fan the banks of springs providing shade from the warm Northern Territory sun. These palm trees also known as Cabbage Palms are home to the Little Red Flying Fox at certain times of the year. 

Is the park open this Christmas? 

Bitter Springs will be open this Christmas but unfortunately, Mataranka thermal Pool is closed due to weather conditions. You can check if the area you want to visit is open here.

Want to know how to get to Elsey National Park? Click here. 

There is nothing bitter about Bitter Springs!

Bitter Springs is a beautiful natural spring that has the clearest water around. Swimming here is an adventure. A few fish and turtles live in the water, put on some goggles and you will feel like Ariel! The picnic area is great for families to enjoy a sandwich or two before diving back in the water. If you have had enough of swimming, the 500-meter Bitter Springs Loop Walk has viewing platforms and interpretive panels. You get to explore and learn about the park!

Mataranka Mataranka Mataranka!

The water here is supplied by the Rainbow Spring, and the water overflowing from the Thermal Pool flows into the nearby Waterhouse River. This pool is an essential part of the local river system. This means that everything around it depends on it being there. This includes our favourite animal, the Little Red Flying Fox.

Enjoy more Mataranka history here. 

Accommodation + Experience

Unfortunately, there are no formal tours that can take you to Elsey National Park. However, you can plan your own day-trip to this site. 

At Elsey National Park, visit both Bitter Springs and Mataranka Thermal Pool on the same day. First, start at Bitter Springs–it’s closer to the town of Mataranka! Take a relaxing dip and swim in the beautiful water at this spot.

Click here for the complete Elsey National Park swimming guide.

After your visit to Bitter Springs, dry off and take a quick break to eat lunch at any of the several restaurants/hotels close to the park! 

  •  Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park: 51 Martin Rd, Mataranka (14km from the park)
  • Stockyard Gallery – Cafe: Stuart Hwy, Mataranka (14km from the park)
  • Leap Hotel: Homestead Rd, Mataranka (7 km away)
  • Mataranka Road House: Roper Ter, Mataranka (14 km away)
  • Daly Waters Pub: Roper Ter, Mataranka (14 km away)

Yes, a visit here will be one of the highlights of your trip, the soothing thermal spring waters are nature’s massage. Wouldn’t you want to spend a few days exploring this part of the world?

We love connecting and invite you to provide feedback on this page – please comment below if you’ve been to Elsey National Park or seen a Little Red Flying Fox.

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.

Picture of Norther


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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