Mataranka, Capital of the Never Never
Mataranka is billed as the “Capital of the Never Never” and is about 100 km south of Katherine, NT.
Wander around the park in the middle of town to see characters from “We of the Never Never” in addition as the Aboriginal stockman and the giant termite mound. Check out the Stockman’s Gallery which showcases local Aboriginal art.
Not to be missed is the 1pm free fish feeding at the Territory Manor on the north side of town. Have your camera ready as this is amazing stuff! The red water lilies in the barra pond are glorious. You can then have barra and chips for lunch at the restaurant and enjoy the abundant wildlife and roaming peacocks.
After lunch, make the short excursion to Bitter Springs, a wonderful place with ponds of water that was once compared to a chain of opals. The best way to experience Bitter Springs is to jump into the warm water and allow the gentle current to push you downstream to a bridge where you can get out and walk back to the beginning.
If history is your thing, then head out to Elsey Cemetery where Jeannie’s husband is buried along with other characters in the book. Aeneas Gunn had the hide to die from malarial dysentery just over a year after bringing his bride, Jeannie to the Never Never. She promptly returned to Melbourne and lived for another half a century. You can also analyze Elsey Homestead that was recreated for the movie.
Or head to Mataranka Homestead in town for more hot springs and lots of walking tracks. One easy track takes you to the Roper River or a more demanding one to Mataranka Falls.
Be sure to look out for the termite mounds, flying foxes and the beautiful turkey bush if it is in flower. Which it is during the dry which is the best time to visit the Northern Territory.