The small town of Tennant Creek sits at the junction of the Barkly and Stuart highways, 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs and 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin. Known by locals as ‘Tennant’, the town is the service centre for the surrounding Barkly Tablelands, a huge area of grassy plains that house enormous cattle stations.
Tennant Creek has a diverse history, shaped by the Overland Telegraph Line, gold mining, Aboriginal culture and pastoralism.
The site of Australia’s last major gold rush in the 1930s, Tennant Creek’s mining past can be explored at the excellent Battery Hill Mining Centre, where underground tours shed light on the gold extraction process that made this area Australia’s third-largest gold producer.
The town’s Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre is an award-winning museum and gallery that showcases the culture of the local Warumungu people. Other attractions include Tingkkarli/Lake Mary Ann, a picturesque swimming and picnicking spot. At the old Telegraph Station you will see stone buildings from 1872 and find out about the town’s role in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line.
Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles is a sacred site about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek and is the region’s most spectacular landmark. The Devils Marbles consist of hundreds of enormous boulders balanced on top of one another across a shallow valley. The local Aboriginal people call them ‘Karlu Karlu’, and Aboriginal lore says the rocks are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent.
Kunjarra/The Pebbles, is a women’s dancing site located a short drive north of Tennant Creek.
The Davenport Range National Park, accessed via the Barkly Highway, is a fantastic spot for four-wheel driving and camping. You will find some of the Territory’s most challenging four-wheel drive tracks, and a series of permanent waterholes that attract plenty of birdlife.