Things to Do and See (Regional)
Threeways - 24kms
Junction of the Stuart & Barkly Highways
It’s a celebrated truck stop. There‘s plenty of trucking memorabilia throughout the bar and dining room. Browse around and find a great diverse range of souvenirs. For an ideal photo opportunity go outside on the northern end of the building and find a huge truck mural. The tribute memorial monument to Rev John Flynn who pioneered the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service is situated close by.
Attack Creek - 72kms
At this designated rest area view the monument commemorating the attack on John McDouall Stuart in 1860.
Banka Banka - 100kms
Steeped in history which dates from 1885, Tom Nugent who learnt his trade from Harry Redford (alias Captain Starlight) had the first operational pastoral lease in the Tennant Creek Region. The question remains though, was the price of the lease gained through dubious means of the ‘Ragged Thirteen’. During the Second World War Banka Banka was an important staging and supplies camp for the convoy of trucks travelling north and south. Today, the old homestead is open so relive a little of this history when you stay overnight at the bush camp.
Renner Springs - 160kms
Enjoy a little bit of desert magic at Renner Springs. This hotel was named by Dr Frederick Renner who was responsible for the well being of the men during the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line. The freshwater springs attract a variety of birdlife.
Elliott - 252kms
Elliott began as a staging camp for the north bound troops during the early 1940’s with Captain Elliott in charge of operations.
Newcastle Waters - 279kms
Newcastle Waters, once the cattle drover’s crossing point of three major stock routes. The most feared and notorious of these routes was the Murranji Track. There, were long days without water for the cattle, ‘drummy’ ground and dense lancewood vegetation. All of which added its fair share of problems. Wander around the historic sites, view the Drovers Memorial statue dedicated to legendary drovers during the Last Great Cattle Drive in 1988. No facilities available.
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. The area is steeped in the history ofAustralia’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.
Bonney Well - 85kms
Bonney Well is about 85kms south of Tennant Creek on the west side of the Stuart Highway. The first well sinking endeavours at Bonney Well were carried out in 1879 by Alfred Giles and it is one of the last remaining original water improvements on the Overland Telegraph Line/Stock route.
Davenport Range National Park - 90kms
The turn off to the proposed Davenport Range National Park is 90 kilometres from Tennant Creek. Vehicles 4x4 are advised if you wish to access this area which is a nature lover’s delight. The park is an area of diverse geological formations and abundant flora and fauna. Waterholes such as Whistleduck Creek and the much larger Old Police Station Waterhole offer basic camping facilities ($3.30 per adult) and intending visitors are advised to be self-sufficient. The exit via the Frew River is very gruelling for about 17kms and only very experienced drivers should attempt it. It is strongly recommended visitors return to the highway on the route they entered especially if you are towing a trailer. Photographic opportunities abound.
Karlu Karlu - Devils Marbles - 106kms
For a captivating visual experience and magical encounter with nature a visit to the Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) is a must. You will find a two kilometre sealed loop through this Conservation Reserve. There is a bush camping area ($3.30 per adult) and visitors can wander around the site along a network of informal walking tracks. Thousands of gigantic granite boulders are scattered over a valley balanced one on top of the other and when struck by the rays of the setting sun, they are a photographer’s delight as they glow with such vibrancy.
Wauchope - 115kms
Wauchope, a historic pub still operating today once serviced the workers from the local wolfram mine. The stylish refurbished dining room with wonderful views to the well kept shaded garden surrounds serves tasty meals and the cellar has an extensive range of quality wines. On a hot day the swimming pool is very welcoming.
Wycliffe Well - 133kms
Wycliffe Well, once a market garden area supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to passing troop convoys during WW11. Today this wayside inn is renowned for its UFO sightings. There are life size statues and murals galore; it’s an outdoor art gallery. An artificial lake has attracted many native animals and birds.
Barrow Creek - 224kms
Make sure you stop and have a wander around the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station; there are only 4 of these historic repeater stations still standing (once there were 15, the 4th no public access) find the third one at the Alice. The flat topped hills of the Forster Range create a very scenic background view.
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.
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 WellHolidayPark 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. SOUTH
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 Australiais home to some of the best gemfields inAustralia. 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, whilstCentral Australiaoffers opportunities for collecting rocks, minerals and crystals.
Fossicking in theNorthern Territoryrequires 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.
Fossicking is an invigorating and adventurous journey into some of the earth’s most exquisite and mystical natural creations.
It’s a non-commercial recreational activity involving searching for and collecting rocks, minerals and crystals by digging by hand or using hand held implements, to a depth of up to one metre.
To fossick in the Northern Territory you must hold a Fossicker’s Permit issued under the Northern Territory Mining Act. There is no cost for a personal Fossicking Permit and it lasts for 12 months.
In the Tennant Creek & Barkly Region only one public fossicking area has been declared, Warrego FA6. There is a map available showing the access route and any restrictions.
Fossicking information, permits and maps are available on line click here Click on Access to Land and follow the fossicking information from there.