Howard Springs Nature Park
Looking for a place to spend the day out in nature relaxing, walking, exploring or enjoying an afternoon picnic or barbeque with the family? Howard Springs Nature Park is the perfect spot for you! There’s a range of outdoor playground areas and fun activities here for the kids to run wild on, as well as hiking trails, rock pools and a small freshwater spring to enjoy too.
Stretching across 710 acres of protected natural bush area, the Howard Springs Nature Reserve has been a popular recreation spot for locals since World War II. It was originally built back in 1944 by the Royal Australian Engineers as a rest and recreation camp for the Australian and US servicemen. It then became the Northern Territory’s first official Reserve in 1957 and was also a primary source of Darwin’s drinking water supply, years before Manton Dam was built.
How Can I Get To Howard Springs?
Only a short drive, approximately 35km South-East of Darwin, the Howard Springs Reserve is brimming with wildlife and is an excellent place to enjoy birdwatching or spotting aquatic wildlife in the clear waters. Here you’ll find two different types of turtles, wallabies, file snakes, several different species of freshwater fish including 1 metre plus barramundi and Mertens’ Water Monitors camouflaged in the waterhole. You can travel here by car or join our 1 day Berry Springs & Howard Springs Day Tour.
Can Your Siwm At Howard Springs Nature Reserve?
Unfortunately the large spring-fed waterhole is now off limits for swimming these days due to the poor water quality and contamination from a local bat colony in the upstream catchment. For these reasons, it is highly recommended to swim only in the designated areas and make sure to pay attention to and observe all the park safety signs for any changes too. There is, however, a small man-made waterfall which cascades into a series of 8 x 29mm shallow rock pools and a wading pool which is an ideal spot to retreat from the heat and cool off after a hike or let the kids splash around in on a hot day.
What Can I See And Do At Howard Springs Nature Park?
There’s loads of fun and adventure to be had here for children of all ages, including toddlers.The adventure playground spreads out from the huge Leichardt’s tree in the centre of the picnic area and includes two large flying foxes.
Below the main weir there’s a 1.8km walking trail that leads you on an adventure through thick monsoonal vine forest, native woodlands, paperbark swamps and spring-fed creeks. There’s also a shorter track which is accessible from the main road which takes you on a brief leisurely stroll through dense rainforest towards the springs which feed into the main pool. Some of the walking trails at Howard Springs are wheelchair accessible which also makes it convenient for prams and strollers too.
You’ll find several information boards located along the walkway where you will be able to learn more about the historical significance of the site during world war II, discover some new interesting facts about the natural habitat and also learn how to recognise and identify some of the unique vegetation and animals that are commonly found here in the reserve.
When Can I Visit Howard Springs?
Howard Springs Darwin is open for visitors all year round however, the park is only available for daytime use between 7:30am to 7pm and camping and fishing are not permitted here. There’s some nice grassy picnic areas in the shade so make sure to pack a picnic lunch before you come or make use of the barbecue facilities here and cook up a feed for the family whilst enjoying the lush greenery and surrounding views.