The Douglas Daly River Region is located about 150km south of Darwin. The area is predominantly popular for its fantastic fishing and anglers here are particularly chasing the elusive Barramundi. The Daly River is also known amongst fishermen as home to the “Barra Nationals” and “Barra Classics” annual fishing competitions.
The area is accessed off Stuart Highway via Dorat Road at Adelaide River or further south near Hayes Creek. By taking the Adelaide River turn off there is the stunning Robyn Falls to visit along the way. The falls are located Just 14km from Adelaide River and feature two-tiered waterfalls spilling down a sheer rock face and forming rapids descending to the creek. The falls are reached by a 400 metre walk over rocks beside the creek bed. Free camping is permitted by the creek which is very picturesque and a great place to relax in or near the refreshing clear water. This is a gorgeous free camp however no facilities are available. Dogs are permitted.
From the Daly River Road turnoff (32km along Dorat Road via Adelaide River) it is 78km to the river crossing and nearby township. The road is unsealed however suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles during the dry season. Camping is prohibited at the crossing however is available in the centre of the small township at the Roadside Inn.
Plenty of camp grounds are located on the banks of the river along Woolianna Road
, right in the middle of the action. All are within 17km of the Daly River Road and include Banyan Farm Tourist Park
(5km), Sinclair’s Fisherman’s Retreat
(7km), Daly River Barra Resort
(7km), Woolianna on the Daly
(14km) and Diggirriyet
(Brown’s Creek, 17km).
Mango Farm Tourist Park and Perry’s on the Daly are located within 14km of the township on the other side of the river crossing.
Diggirriyet on Brown’s Creek is a bush camp only with no facilities and a permit is required to camp here. A caretaker is located at the camp to collect fees and a boat ramp is close by.
All other aforementioned camps are managed and provide more than adequate facilities. Barramundi tours and charters can be arranged through the managed camp grounds or in the township.
Barramundi fishing is on everyone’s mind at the Daly River, whether you are participating or not, it is all around you. Charter boats coming and going, personal vessels in and out of the river, fish being cleaned, scaled and bragged about or disappointed anglers preparing for their next outing. Fishing is the topic of conversation and it is great to get amongst it.
The stretch of water from the Daly River crossing to the mouth of the river is near 100km, thus the waters being fished in this area are more on the fresh side being a relative distance from the salt. This might be the case but plenty of fish are caught here and the best time to do so is just after the wet season during April and May. The dry season is generally a harder time to hook up but with local knowledge you can be put on the right track and have your best chance of success.
Pictured here are a few of the many Barramundi caught on the Daly River. Plenty of hook ups were achieved, some hauled in and others got away. One had its tail bitten off by a shark before being pulled into the boat. It was estimated to be about 85cm before being amputated by its predator. The fisherman was still happy with the catch!
Fishing might be the main attraction for many visiting this region, however there are also some natural attractions to explore.
Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs are part of the Douglas River system and the water temperature can reach an astonishing 60 degrees in the pools near the source. Entering the water can be a shock to the system and it is advisable to fully submerge in the cooler pools downstream. Once you get used to the incredibly warm water it is like a relaxing hot bath. The springs are only 50 metres from the day use car park and a camp ground is located here with toilets and is reasonably priced at $4.50 per adult and $1.50 per child per night. The springs are accessed via Oolloo Road, not far from the Hayes Creek end of Dorat Road. The 7km unsealed road to the springs has a shallow water crossing and is suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles during the dry season, weather permitting.
Butterfly Gorge is located at the end of the Douglas Hot Springs access road and is accessible by four-wheel drive only. The gorge is known for an abundance of butterflies inhabiting the area and seeking shelter in the protective cliff crevices. Swimming is permitted here and a short 600m walk follows the creek bed to a lookout over the gorge and descending access to the main pool. Camping is not permitted here.
The Arches and Twin Pools provide some picturesque scenery and are located behind the Douglas Daly Tourist Park some 7km from the Douglas Hot Springs turn off. Permission must be granted by the park if you are not staying there to visit these places. Bush camping is available by the river and swimming is prohibited due to the presence of Estuarine Crocodiles.
The Douglas Daly River Region is worth visiting, especially for the Barramundi fishing and excitable atmosphere on the river banks. If not everyone on board is the keen fisherman, there’s always the scenic points of interest to explore or the resort swimming pools to enjoy whilst the anglers wet their lines.
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Destinations in the Northern Territory
Elsey National Park
Return from Daly River to Northern Territory