365 Places: Howard Springs
Day 36: Howard Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Howard Springs is about 1/2 an hours drive from Darwin and a place where many Darwin people go to relax, have picnics, go swimming and explore nature. It has swimming holes, bush walks and lots of lovely areas to just sit and relax.
The main swimming pool was formed by a low weir across the natural spring, constructed in WWII. The Enjoy Darwin website says:
The weir for the main pool was built in 1944 by the Royal Australian Engineers to improve the swimming hole to provide a recreation area for Australian and US servicemen.
It is a place of many happy memories, as when we lived in Darwin in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we would often go there with friends to relax and have fun. It was a lovely place to go swimming, relatively safe with no Salty’s (Salt Water Crocodiles), expect perhaps in the Wet Season when all of the waterholes are overflowing. One thing I remember about swimming at Howard Springs were the gorgeous water lilies that grew there. We could feel their long roots brushing against our legs, at times making me nervous that there were crocodiles. Another very clear memory was of a massive Goanna running across our picnic blanket and running up a tree.
Howard Springs also has the honour of being the first recreational park in the Northern Territory, in 1957 under the NT Reserves Board, now the Parks and Wildlife Service. It is home to many species of plants and animals including barramundi, turtles, wallabies and lizards. I have not been to Howard Springs for many years, but I understand there has been a lot of work done to improve the park as a recreation area.
Many people internationally are familiar with Kakadu and Uluru as being parts of Australia’s Northern Territory, but the NT is rich with beautiful parks with all manner of wildlife, vegetation, activities and stories. Howard Springs is just one small example.