Roper Bar, the only settlement on the Roper River, lies 606km south of Darwin, 312 km east of Katherine and 1235km from Alice Springs. The Roper River was first explored by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845 as he made his way from Moreton Bay to Port Essington. Leichhardt crossed the river at Roper Bar, a rocky shelf which conveniently lies at the high tide limit on the river.
Today the town is a small settlement with a police station, a hotel/motel, the Roper Bar Store, a caravan park and roadhouse facilities. In recent times fishing in the Roper River, particularly for the prized barramundi, has attracted fishermen to the area. The partially unsealed road from the Stuart Highway is flat and monotonous but the end result is a picturesque tropical river which, like all of the rivers around the Gulf of Carpentaria, is unsuitable for swimming as it is the habitat of the estaurine or saltwater crocodile.