The Roper Gulf region is the heart of the Top End and Gulf Savannah. It covers an area from the southern border of Kakadu
National Park to the northern edge of the Barkly Tablelands, and from the Gulf of Carpentaria and Northern Territory/
Queensland border to the Stuart Highway. Put simply, this spectacularly diverseregion covers about the same land area
as the entire state of Victoria.
Within the region there are majestic rivers, over 700 kilometres of untouched coast and islands,sweeping savannah plains and lines of sandstone cliffs, mesas and hills that offer a breathtaking look
at ancient landscapes. A trip from Darwin to Katherine and Matarankais an easy one-day drive.
Mataranka, the centre of the Never Never, is 100 kilometres south-east of Katherine on the Stuart Highway. The small, friendly town is famous for its thermal pools. The sparkling limestone aquifer
water, which is consistently 34 degrees, refreshes the swimming pools in beautiful tropical settings.This is an absolute delight any time, but especially on a hot day.
The Jurmurark (12 Mile) camping ground, 17km from Mataranka, provides a tranquil bushland environment close to the Roper River and Korowan (Mataranka Falls)
Three main road routes pass through the Roper Gulf region, and many of the best tourist sites in the region are easily accessible for travellers using these largely unsealed roads, and the three
east-west roads form the boundaries of distinct sub-regions.
The “top road”, the Central Arnhem Highway, is one of the truly great road journeys of the NT, and the only road to Nhulunbuy.This four-wheel drive road passes through sandstone-capped hills,
rolling grassland, dry forests, remnant rainforests and rivers, and through small Indigenous communities.This is not a road for the faint
hearted, or suitable for conventional caravans. The highway links Katherine and the communities of Manyallaluk, Barunga, Beswick and Bulman with the coastal town of Nhulunbuy, and the almost1000km Savannah Way, the grand tourist route between Cairns and Broome.
With a stretch of your imagination from the Jurassic Park lookout, on top of the range of hills 50km beyond Beswick, you can almost see dinosaurs grazing below. Well, maybe not, but you
will see a buffalo or two.
The “middle road”, the Roper Highway, links the Gulf Coast town of Numbulwar and the Roper River town of Ngukurr with the Stuart Highway, near Mataranka.
Roper Gulf Council
Roper Gulf Region stretches over 186 000 square kilometres.