About the Barkly Region
The Barkly Region
Travel past the Threeways, the ‘Crossroads of the Territory’ where the road branches east. Here you will find the ‘John Flynn Memorial’ dedicated to the pioneer of the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service. A few kilometres further along is the turnoff to the famous rock formation, ‘Churchill’s Head’.
Then to Renner Springs named after the Chief Medical Officer Dr Frederick Renner who was responsible for the well being of the workers employed on the Overland Telegraph Line. A conscientious naturalist he became interested in the behaviour of birds flocking in the distance. Upon checking he found them congregating around some freshwater springs. Guests at this historic roadhouse may still swim in the water from these springs.
Elliott was named after Captain Elliott who was in charge of the staging camp established here for troops travelling north during World War II. There is plenty to do with an historic walk, nine hole golf course and modern facilities.
Just 24 kms further north is the historic droving town of Newcastle Waters, once the drover’s crossing point where stock routes from the east and south met, and the departure point for the feared Murranji Track, a notorious stock route with long stages between water for cattle. A number of old buildings from the droving days remain and are well marked with interpretive plaques. See the famous Junction Hotel/Store and the Drover’s Memorial statue dedicated during the Last Great Cattle Drive in 1988. It’s set in the middle of a working cattle station and well worth a visit
The Barkly Homestead 209 kilometres along this artery to the Territory marks the entrance to the Barkly Tablelands. Here you’ll find an oasis roadhouse in landscaped surroundings with all amenities. Traditional ‘Southern Cross’ windmills provide good photographic subjects against the flat plains and bright blue sky.
You are now travelling toward the famous and popular Gulf of Carpentaria and it’s historic town of Borroloola. The Gulf is known for it’s river systems, ocean and islands which yield a plethora of fish varieties for fishing enthusiasts, in particular the fabled Barramundi.
Mangrove jack, bream, snapper, trevally and mud crab abound in the creeks and rivers as well as toward the Sir Edward Pellew Islands off shore. Incredible opportunities abound for that ‘photograph of a lifetime’ whilst exploring this pristine country. King Ash Bay 20km downstream from Borroloola and on the McArthur River has basic camping and caravan facilities, a small bar and a boat ramp.
Fishing guides are available in both centres. The area is steeped in the history of Australia’s pioneers and overlanders with their immense herds of cattle, as well as aboriginal culture and tradition. Some small ventures allow the viewing of some of this culture.
The turn off to the proposed Davenport Range National Park is 90 kilometres from Tennant Creek. Four wheel drive is advised if you wish to access this area which is a nature lovers delight. The park will conserve an area of diverse geological formations and abundant flora and fauna. Waterholes such as Whistleduck Creek and the Old Police Station Waterhole offer basic camping facilities and intending visitors are advised to be self-sufficient.
Photographic opportunities abound.
Enquire at the Visitor Information Centre for advice and information on conditions, what’s available and any tours.
The famous Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) are 106 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. This immense collection of gigantic rounded granite boulders is said in Aboriginal mythology to be the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. Flocks of zebra and painted finches as well as a myriad of other birds frequent the area taking advantage of the pooling dew water and shade provided by these majestic stones.
The images above can be easily accessed. Even Grandparents can stand on these spots for your camera.
Many other spots provide spectacular results with very litttle effort. The site is just off the highway on a sealed road and is clearly signposted. The entire site is contained in a 2 km area.
Wauchope with its old pub the ideal place for a party, a cool dip or just to meet the locals is a further eight kilometres south of the Devil’s Marbles.
Wycliffe Well Holiday Park is a further 26 km south from Wauchope. It’s well known for it’s many native animals and birds as well as it’s famous UFO sightings. Let the locals regale you with tales of these occurrences
Another 110 km and the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station comes into view around a bend in a small flat topped range. Barrow Creek was named by John McDouall Stuart after John Henry Barrow, founder of the Advertiser newspaper inAdelaide and a parliamentarian from 1858.
Aileron is known for the various types of semi-precious stones found in the vicinity. The Aileron area is the site of some recent discoveries of ‘rare’ earth minerals
The Information stand at this oasis on the track has some interesting historical information about this area
Central Australia is home to some of the best gemfields in Australia. The Harts Range area on the Plenty Highway, about 130km north east of Alice Springs contains Australia’s richest Zircon field, 7km past The Gemtree.
The Gemtree about 69 km from the Stuart highway provides the opportunity to enjoy the experience and rewards of fossicking for your own gems.
Ruby red garnets abound throughout theHartsRanges. Gold fossicking fields are located around Tennant Creek, whilst Central Australia offers opportunities for collecting rocks, minerals and crystals.
Fossicking in theNorthern Territory requires a permit, which is free and available at the Tennant Creek Visitor Information Centre.
Alternatively fossickers are likely to benefit from participating in a tour to the gemfields which include all permits and equipment . The added bonus of an experienced guide will prove invaluable.