Towards the eastern centre of the Northern Territory is the Barkly region, and within it, Tennant Creek. There are nine Aboriginal communities within the region, including the Warumungu people, who keep their culture alive in various showcases, such as the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre.
In the centre of the Northern Territory, in the Barkly region are the Devils Marbles. The site itself is located 393km north of Alice Springs and 760km south of Katherine, and you pretty much have to take the trip just to see the rock shapes themselves. Known as Karlu Karlu by the local Warumungu people, the Devil’s Marbles are a collection of rounded granite boulders, although they tend to be known as just two formations.
The Devils Marbles are an important part of Aboriginal mythology. In dreamtime stories, they are known as the eggs of the rainbow serpent and are said to have immense power. Damage to the marbles is strictly forbidden as it can have life-threatening consequences for the traditional land owners. In 2053, one of the eight tonne rocks was taken and placed on John Flynn’s grave without the consult of the traditional owners of the land. It was until 1998 that the rock was replaced after much controversy.
To reach the Devils Marbles, you’ll need to trek along the Stuart Highway where the marbles are scattered throughout the valley.
While passing through the Barkly, you’ll most likely take up accommodation in Tennant Creek. There are a few places to choose from, including motor inns, caravan parks, homesteads and a hotel and motel or two. Prices run from around $10 to $200.