Devils Marbles to Uluru – Essential Australian Journey
Devils Marbles to Uluru – One truly unique journey in Australia is the trip from Tennant Creek to Uluru, taking in the Devil’s Marbles and many other amazing sites along the way. The Devil’s Marbles are an amazing site and are found along the Stuart Highway, balancing at incredible angles seemingly in defiance of gravity. The local people know the stones as Karlu Karlu and the valley in an ancient sacred site of the aboriginal people. The valley ownership was returned to the Aborigines in 2008. Some of the granite boulders are over 6 metres tall and visiting the site at sunrise or sunset allows you to enjoy the site at it’s most beautiful.
Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) – Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia
Tennant Creek is the friendly town nearby the valley where most people tend to stay when they start the journey from Devil’s Marbles to Uluru. This was the place where Australia’s last gold rush took place in the 1930s. You can even visit a mining centre and view Australia’s last working ten-head gold stamp battery. You can even try and find your own gold to take home. Re-visit a piece of history at the Tuxworth-Fullwood museum which is full of gold mining artefacts and was also used as a cam hospital in WWII. There is also a Telegraph station here which was built in 1872 which allowed for communication from the outback to the rest of the world.
This area is full of Aboriginal culture. The local Warumungu people keep the native stories alive such as that of “Nyinkka” who is said to have formed the town. Hear more about the spike-tailed iguana at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Culture centre as well as more tales of the region. You can also enjoy cultural and contemporary music at the Winanjjikari Music Centre.
Devils Marbles to Uluru – Aboriginal Culture
Another sacred site in the area is The Pebbles which is known as Kunjarra to the Aborigines and is a site for Warumungu women’s dancing and healing rites. Other places of interest include the Honeymoon Ranges, Lake Mary Ann and the Julalikari Arts centre packed full of local arts and crafts. The Davenport Range National Park is just east of the area and is known for emus, black-footed rock wallabies and hundred’s of waterbird species. This is a beautiful area to relax and unwind and refresh your spirit in a peaceful, natural setting. Attack Creek Historical Reserve is just north of Tennant Creek and features a memorial to John McDouall Stuart, William Kekwick and Benjamin Head and their expedition in June 1860.
Stop in at the Attack Creek Historical Reserve, 75km north of Tennant Creek, where a stone cairn memorial marks the most northerly site of John McDouall Stuart’s expedition in June 1860. The etchings tell the saga of Stuart’s journey with his companions William Kekwick and Benjamin Head, who reached this point and were forced to turn around. Central Mount Stuart is approximately the geographical centre of Australia. Ryan’s Well Historical Reserve is a hand-dug well which was built to supply travellers in 1889 along the Overland Telegraph Line.
Alice Springs is the next main stop along this historical route and is known as the heart of Central Australia. The area is comprised of boundless desert landscapes, massive gorges, remote communities of aboriginal people as well as landmarks of Australia’s pioneers. Alice was established by early explorers and formed part of the area that was explored for gemstones and gold in the early 1900s. There is still an area in the desert where you can go fossicking for gemstones as part of your trip. This area is known for its blue skies, beautiful landscapes and colourful, vibrant people.
Simpson desert trip planning
The Simpson Desert and the MacDonnell Ranges are just two of the many different landscapes packed in to this area to give you a diverse look at the beauty of Australia’s natural environments. There are many gorges, watering holes and sacred sites in this mostly arid landscape. The town itself is host to many Art galleries full of aboriginal art as well as many community events. One of the more unusual events is the Camel Cup which happens once a year. People also stop by Alice for the Beanie Festival and Henley-on-Todd Regatta. Visit the Alice Springs Desert Park which combines sand, woodland and desert habitats and is full of all sorts of creatures including birds, reptiles and mammals as well as gorgeous desert flowers and other botanic marvels. You can also get an overview of the area via a hot air balloon ride. Stop by the kangaroo sanctuary and meet Kangaroo Dundee and see some cute little joeys.
The desert art trail is a good start for people interested in the local art. Visit the Aruluen Arts Centre which has a number of galleries for local art as well as the largest collection of Albert Namtjira’s works, a well known local artist. Next stop would be the Tjanpi Desert Weavers to view the amazing baskets and artwork made here. Tangentyere Artists make blankets, fabric and jewellery from abandoned objects and recycled metal. You can also visit the Mbantua Gallery and Paunya Artists in Alice Springs. This area is well known for its rich art and culture heritage and is home to the annual Desert Mob exhibition in September and October each year where works from all over Australia are displayed. You can even see some ancient rock art at Emily Gap which features amazing caterpillar rock art which tells the story of the formation of the mountains in the area.
If you enjoy the outdoors, you can enjoy the Larapinta Trail which is a 223km hike, which takes 12 days to complete and follows the backbone of the West McDonnell Range from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon. You can enjoy a swim in a natural plunge pool in Simpson’s Gap along the Larapinta Drive. You can hike, bike or drive to this cool spot in the middle of a desert.
Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) – Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia
Uluru was known as Ayer’s Rock locally for many years. The Kata Tjuta were known as The Olgas. The Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park incorporates both of these scenic, historical landscape in the heart of the Northern Territory of Australia. Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith and is a sacred site to the indigenous people. The rock is said to be over 550million years in the making. The nearby Kata Tjuta are 36 red-rock domes which are an amazing site to see. These formations are culturally significant the the Anangu people in the area. You can learn about the Dreamtime stories, bush foods and local flora and fauna from the Aboriginal landowners in the area who offer walking tours of the sites. These stunning rock formations are an amazing site at sunrise and sunset where the shadows and shading makes the rocks glow and appear to change colour. You can see the area via hikes, helicopter and even Camel rides. Visit the Tjukurpa Tunnel and listen to haunting ceremonial songs as well as learn about local traditions and culture. There are many walking tours available in the area to learn and understand the Anangu culture and history.
For people wanting to learn about the rich cultural heritage as well as some of the pioneering background of Australia, this road trip from Tennant Creek and the Devil’s Marbles to Uluru should be an essential addition to the itinerary. Immerse yourself in the landscapes, wildlife, vibrant art communities and the diverse people from all walks of life that can be found in the “Red” area of Australia. There is much to be discovered in the Central “heart” of Australia.