ALMOST $1 million is being spent on the Katherine hot springs rejuvenation project.
Work is almost half completed on bringing new life to the famous attraction.
Katherine Town Council chief executive officer Robert Jennings said a report found the springs, most likely the region’s premier free attraction, were looking “a little tired”.
The injection of $150,000 from the council in addition to almost $750,000 from the Northern Territory Government has given the springs their first revamp in several decades.
Mr Jennings said the aim of the project was to encourage visitors to stay in the region a little longer.
Tourist authorities believe improved attractions, like the hot springs, may encourage visitors to stay an extra day or two, which would translate into added tourist spending for the region.
Mr Jennings said council ownership of the land around the springs was beneficial in cutting through red tape to allow the project to proceed more quickly.
Features of the project include the already constructed and already popular pop-up cafe, new car parking areas, terraces, ramps and river bank “furniture” or seating.
Trees are being removed and earthworks were continuing at the springs last week which still allowed tourists to use the attraction.
The project’s architects said the project was designed “using simple elements to compliment the river location and design principles that retain the natural look and feel of the space”.
“The end product is the rejuvenation of a unique and largely undiscovered ‘gem’ that will allow the Katherine community to better enjoy the natural facility and provide additional income to the businesses in town by extending tourism stays in the region,” the designers said.
“Importantly, there will be a benefit to NT tourism as a result of the additional and ‘free’ natural recreation activity along the Alice Springs to Darwin route. It is noteworthy that the area is already rated by the few who know it as one of the best natural features in the NT.”
It is also hoped funding can be secured for upgraded disability access and a shaded “nature” playground.