Douglas Hot Springs; pristine, natural hot water!
If kicking back in warm, fresh water sounds like fun, keep reading! While staying at Mt Bundy Station, we decided to back track and visit Douglas Hot springs (otherwise known as Tjuwaliyn), some 80km south. We took the main highway to avoid the very windy Dorat road, and arrived at the start of the gravel, some 7km away from Douglas Hot Springs.
The gravel road is kept in great condition, and there’s one small creek/floodway to drive across. In mid June, this was about 20 cm deep and had been crossed by a number of 2WD vehicles, with seemingly no dramas.
EDIT – Douglas Hot Springs has been closed now, for some time (more than two years!) and shows no sign of opening any time soon. There are discussions between the Department of Tourism Sport and Culture, Parks and Wildlife and the Traditional owners regarding water supply.
Apparently the bore water that goes to the camp site was reducing, and couldn’t keep up with the high demand in peak season. It’s a big shame, as Douglas Hot Springs is a magic place!
Camping at Douglas Hot Springs
This is a popular camp ground, and for good reason. It’s large, got plenty of shade and has the sort of bush grass you’d expect out there. You can walk to the springs very quickly, and it has toilets and showers, making it a truly epic spot to spend a few days.
Douglas Hot Springs
The Springs themselves are easily accessible via a set of about 15 big steps, right to the bottom. They weren’t anywhere near the depth I was expecting, with most places a maximum of 40 – 50cm deep.
The interesting thing about these springs though, is they are hot. Seriously hot. If you go to where the water bubbles out of the ground, or gently flows out of the rocks, you’d struggle to put your foot in for more than a second, and I’m sure it would burn badly if you kept it in any longer.
The water is hot for quite some time flowing down, but it meets a cold creek. You can sit on the sandy bottom and feel the water change temperature, and pick the temperature you want. It does take some time, and you often have hot and cold patches but its very pleasant and fantastic for young kids to splash around in.
If you wanted hot dish water, you’d have no problems taking a bucket back to camp without the need to warm it at all!
What’s the camp site like?
There’s a heap of low cost camp sites in the Northern Territory, a welcome relief from some of the charges that we see in WA. This site is basic, and after a few months of the dry season has little grass, but its got toilets and showers, and you don’t really need anything else.
How much does it cost?
Camping is $6.60 per adult, or $15.40 per adult per night. It’s really cheap, considering what you get.
What’s nearby that’s worth looking at?
There’s heaps of incredible places within a few hundred kilometres of Douglas Hot Springs.
The local swimming hole from Darwin seems to be Berry Springs, and for good reason. It’s beautiful, and well worth a visit.
Litchfield National Park
One of our favourite National Parks so far has been Litchfield National Park. Everything is so accessible, beautiful and fun to explore, and you really can’t go wrong.
Another great Northern Territory Camp Site is Mt Bundy, with its huge array of animals, laid back atmosphere and lots of room to kick back.
Lee and Jennies
If fishing is your thing, Lee and Jennies offers a unique experience on the Daly River, with spectacular views. The property itself is magnificent, and the owners are amazing.
We had lots of surprises on our 3 months up north, and Robin Falls was one of them. It’s a small, beautiful waterfall at the end of a fun walk, with cheap camping along a beautiful stream. You really can’t go wrong!
I really wish we’d stayed at Edith Falls over Katherine. The swimming here is amazing, and the walk to the falls itself is well and truly worth the effort. We had a heap of fun here, and would go back in a heartbeat.