Bitter Springs are spring-fed thermal pools located in Elsey National Park, only a few kilometres from Mataranka. We visited on a day trip from Katherine and found them to be the most natural, beautiful springs in the Katherine region!
Bitter Springs is accessible by 2WD and it is a short walk from the car park to the springs via a flat path. The springs are located amongst palm trees and other tropical plants, making it feel like the ultimate tropical paradise. The water is the most unbelievable blue colour whilst also being incredibly clear, it’s truly breathtaking.
We visited at the beginning of September whilst the springs are open, but they are closed during the rainy season (usually November to May). It is definitely worth checking ahead to ensure they are open before making the trip out.
We visited Bitter Springs and Mataranka Springs in the same day and whilst Mataranka was also beautiful, Bitter Springs was hands down our favourite. Mataranka was way more popular as well as seeming less natural and smaller. Bitter Springs is natural and we were lucky there was only a few other people there at the same time!
Bitter Springs allows you to enter in one of the staircases and then float with the slow current along the Springs to one of the two exit point staircases. You can then walk across the small pedestrian bridge and back up the path to the start of the springs.
Definitely take a floaty or pool noodle with you to help you float down the springs. This is the one thing we hadn’t planned for and something we definitely needed with little Addie. Bitter Springs are very deep in most places and whilst she did have little arm floaties, it was still awkward and would have been a lot easier with a couple of pool noodles.
The water is lovely and warm, apparently a lovely 32 degrees a lot of the year! We didn’t take masks or snorkels, but apparently freshwater turtles and fish can often be seen in the beautiful clear waters of Bitter Springs!