If you haven’t yet discovered Mataranka Thermal Pool, it’s a vibrant blue oasis located in the middle of a rainforest – and it has Aussies and tourists alike in awe.
One quick search on TikTok and your feed will become awash with clips showing off the picturesque thermal pool in the heart of the Northern Territory.
Mataranka Thermal Pool is one of two natural thermal pools in Elsey National Park – the other being the famous Bitter Springs. It is about 100km southeast of Katherine.
The water is known to be crystal clear with very warm temperatures all year.
“Our little paradise while there’s no tourists around,” one person wrote on TikTok as she showed off her tranquil surrounds.
Others have also taken to social media to post about the pools, saying it is a must-do if you are ever in the area.
“An absolute gem of a place in the NT,” one Instagram user wrote. “Time to start planning the next Mataranka trip.”
“You have to add this to your bucket list,” said another.
Three Aussies who go by the joint handle ‘nomadicosteos’ said it is the perfect place to “unwind and relax”.
“These two places (Bitter Springs and Mataranka Homestead) provided the perfect rest stop, as we were driving from Darwin to Daly Waters in one day,” they wrote.
“Plenty of people told us to not miss it and we were happy to have listened.
“Explained to us as a place where you can float down the river, our imagination had us expecting a river kilometres long. When we got there, we quickly realised that the floating experience goes for a total of 50m.”
They said they weren’t disappointed, “as the warm, crystal clear turquoise water provided our backs and bums a nice break from all the sitting”.
The breathtaking, sandy-bottomed pools, with water temperatures averaging 34C, are surrounded by paperbarks, fan palms and pandanus trees.
They can be found at the end of a 500m walking track that takes roughly 20 minutes to navigate through the bushland.
Considering the Northern Territory is renowned for crocodiles, many wondered if the thermal pools were safe to swim in.
“It is safe to swim here, no crocodiles and the springs are a constant 34C,” Instagram user Hike Australia, who has more than 100,000 followers, wrote.
“It flows from Rainbow Springs at an amazing 30.5 million litres each day. In the words of photographer @jordaaaan_: ‘It’s an oasis in the middle of the desert.’”
According to Australia Travel Questions site, Mataranka Thermal Pool and Bitter Springs are a little bit away from the river, however, “crocodiles do occasionally make it there”.
“But both sites are carefully monitored, and closed if a croc is spotted,” it said.
“The crocodiles that do make it to the Mataranka Hot Springs are very rarely the big saltwater crocodiles that kill one or two people per year in Australia. It’s usually the far less dangerous freshwater crocodiles.”
The site explains that there are crocodiles elsewhere in Elsey National Park, which is based around the Roper River.
“Signs warn against swimming in waterholes elsewhere in the park.”
It is important to keep a lookout for signs and warnings and abide by them.
If you’re looking for hikes nearby, Stevie’s Hole is roughly 1.2km, taking about 45 minutes return.
The Botanic Walk is also located along the Roper River and will also take you roughly 45 minutes.
If you’re after a longer hike, Mataranka Falls is about 8km return. This will set you back four hours.