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Howard Springs
Darwin, Northern Territory


 
When I last visited Howard Springs it was closed for swimming due to poor water quality. The pool was formed during the second world war when the water in the Howard River was dammed to provide a local water supply. It was a popular swimming hole until the mid-2000s, however frequent high levels of e-coli (an indicator of faecal contamination in the water) forced its closure as a swimming hole in 2006. No swimming at Howard Springs near Darwin Above: The sign prohibiting swimming at Howard Springs

The latest management plan for the nature park has admitted defeat and is converting the park into a non-swimming recreational venue. It turns out that the main source of the contamination is a local bat colony living in the catchment upstream, which it sounds like no one is prepared to move on (or train to use a toilet!).

It is not completely bad news though. A small water play area has been built for kids to splash around in. It is not much comfort for adults, who can only dream of a dip in the water with generations past.
Enjoy this site as a picnic area and a modern playground for kids, but as a swimming venue it is unfortunately finished.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Howard Springs Nature Park, Howard Springs Rd, Howard Springs, 30 km east of the Darwin CBD
Latitude:-12.456322 Longitude:131.052512
Getting there: From Darwin take the Stuart Highway for about 25 km and turn off at Howard Springs Road. Follow the signs to the nature park straight ahead (not the signs to the suburb of Howard Springs on the right)
Facilities: Water play area, playground, toilets, fish viewing platforms, barbecues, picnic tables, walking track. There are no bins provided so take your rubbish with you.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Warm
Water clarity: Cloudy
Under foot: Unknown
Maximum water depth: Unknown
Minimum suggested swimming proficiency: Not applicable. Swimming is now prohibited.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No swimming in the spring, no pets, no nets, no traps, no firearms, only light fires in fireplaces provided, no camping, no fishing, stay on designated roads and tracks. Babies and toddlers must wear waterproof nappies in the water play area.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water, with plenty of shade in the picnic areas, but not much shade around the water play area.
Opening times: 7.30 am to 7 pm.
Wheelchair access: Access to the picnic area. Wheelchair toilets.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Howard Springs. The springs are readily accessible by car from Darwin, but if you want to stay closer to this spot, you can try accommodation in Howard Springs
Managing authority: NT Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Enjoy the 1.8 km loop Monsoon Forest Walk along the creek.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the springs.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions. Make sure you let me know whether you consent to having your comments published on this website.

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