It was Second World War soldiers who found the hot springs that flow here, and they planted the palm trees and developed the site for an R&R spot. However, it didn't last long: when officers found the soldiers' discovery, they moved them to a more remote headquarters, and the thermal baths became reserved for officers only. Today, Mataranka, located in Elsey National Park, is a very popular tourist resort. A campsite close to the springs welcomes visitors, who have the chance to rent canoes to navigate the river.
The West Macdonnell Range is the most popular place in the area, nearly 100 km from Alice Springs. Although the water is pretty cold, it's one of the most popular swimming spots for natives and tourists. I was lucky enough to see the aboriginal fishing practices, complete with the consumption of the raw fish! Geologically it is an interesting place, with a walk of about 3 km.