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Aerial view of a girl floating in Bitter Springs

Elsey National Park

Relax in the hot springs and visit heritage sites at Elsey National Park, the setting for the Australian novel We of the Never Never.

Make a stop at Elsey National Park near Mataranka on your tour of the Stuart Highway. Relax in its famous thermal springs, explore heritage sites, and discover local literary history as the setting for the Australian novel We of the Never Never.

We of the Never Never

The park was named after the cattle station in which Jeannie Gunn’s acclaimed novel We of the Never Never was set. The film adaption of the book was shot in nearby Mataranka. Wander around Old Elsey Cemetery to see graves that date back to 1926. This is the final resting place of many local characters written about in Jeannie Gunn’s novel.

Things to see & do in Elsey National Park


Swim in thermal springs

Explore the series of thermal pools and springs that are dotted around the park.

Lounge in the shade of pandanus, paperbarks and palm forest at the famous Mataranka Thermal Pool, spring-fed and comfortable year-round at a constant 34°C.

Walk in for a soothing dip at nearby Bitter Springs, set among palms and tropical woodlands. Look out for the native wildlife and birds are attracted to the permanent water source and natural forest. At Rainbow Springs the water is a relaxing 33°C in this large swimming hole.

For a cooler dip, head a little further along the Waterhouse River to Stevie’s Hole, a waterhole not warmed by the springs.

Fishing, canoeing & walking adventure

The park is a popular place with boating and fishing fans, who come to cruise the serene Roper River that runs through it.

There are ramps at 4 Mile and 12 Mile to launch your boat or canoe for a day of exploring, paddling, or fishing.

Follow one of the park’s bushwalks along the course of the river through pockets of rainforest to a swimming spot. Discover the Park’s riverine and rainforest species on the easy Botanical Walk.

Local histories

Evidence of the area’s rich European history is everywhere. Investigate historical sites including the Old Sheep Dip, and the World War II Aboriginal Army Camp walk and 12 Mile Yards.

  • Information

    Entry cost

    Free entry


    • Barbeque
    • Boating Facilities
    • Caravan / Camper Trailer / Campervan Sites / Campsites
    • Carpark
    • Picnic Area
    • Public Toilet


    • Camping
    • Fishing
    • Swimming
    • Walks


    Disabled access available, contact operator for details.


    • COVID Safe
  • Map


    What’s nearby

    What’s nearby

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