Howard Springs Nature Park

Howard Springs Nature Park protects 283 ha of diverse habitats including monsoon forest, extensive swamps and riverine areas. These areas provide valuable wildlife habitats. Barramundi, turtles, file snakes and fish are all on show in the main pool.

There is a 1.8 km walking track below the weir. Signs along the track explain some of the different vegetation and animals you may see. Another short track off the main road will take you through dense rainforest to the springs which feed the main pool.

You can often see Ibis and Agile Wallabies on the lawns near the main pool, also a variety of fish including Barramundi, can be seen from the weir wall. Signs on the weir walkway will help you identify some of the fish.

Location: 35 km south of Darwin via Stuart Highway, then Howard Springs Road.

Guided walks

After dark in a park - Join a Ranger to discover the critters that come out after dark. Bring a torch and insect repellent; wear enclosed shoes and suitable clothing in case biting insects are active. 6.30 - 8.30 pm.

Nature walk - Join a Ranger to discover some of the animals and plants and that call the park home. Please wear suitable clothing and bring insect repellent in case biting insects are active. 10 - 11 am

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History of the park

The European history of the Springs began in the late 1800's when they were part of large pastoral leases in this area. In the 1910's the Springs themselves came into focus as a solution to Darwin's unreliable water supply. Eventually, in 1939, after a community petition and delays caused by the Depression, water from the Springs was piped to railway dams, overhead tanks in Darwin, and Vestey's meat works. This arrangement served as a stop-gap measure until Manton Dam was completed in 1942. A road connecting this area with Darwin was built as part of this project.

During the Second World War, rest and recreation camps for up to 120 men were set up here for servicemen from USA and Australia. The weir was built in 1944 by the Royal Australian Engineers to improve the swimming hole. In 1957 Howard Springs became the Northern Territory's first Reserve under the NT Reserves Board, now the Parks and Wildlife Service.

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