Tennant Creek

"The Barkly" is a region between Alice Springs and Darwin, 500 kilometres north of the former and 1,000 kilometres south of the latter, centred on Tennant Creek. In this Red Centre’s stunning outback region, you'll find sprawling cattle stations, attractive wayside inns, historic stock routes as well as relics of gold mining and Aboriginal culture.

Tennant Creek has a rich culture and history to discover, as well as a wide range of outdoor activities to engage in. With its limitless blue skies, expansive desert horizons, and an electrifying sense that an adventure could be around the corner, Barkly is Australia's outback landscape you've always imagined. The Barkly region is 323,514 square kilometres alone, making it larger than Italy, New Zealand or the United Kingdom.

The region includes stops along the Stuart Highway such as Barrow Creek, Wycliffe Well, Wauchope, and Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles to the south of Tennant Creek, and Threeways, Kunjarra / The Pebbles, Banka Banka, Renner Springs, Elliot and Newcastle Waters to the north.

Things to do   |   Accommodation   |   Dining

Tennant Creek Telegraph Station

Tennant Creek Telegraph Station

Devils Marbles walkers

Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles

Things to do in Tennant Creek

While Tennant Creek may only seem like a small little town in the middle of the country, it is still a place you should add to your itinerary when visiting Central Australia. From art and culture to historical sites and natural beauty there is something for everyone in Tennant Creek.


In Tennant Creek, you can learn about the fascinating history, cutting-edge technology, and pure adrenaline rush of gold mining. The No 3 Government Gold Stamp Battery is the location of the Battery Hill Mining Centre, where the 1930's gold rush began. You can take a mine tour into the dark underground tunnel (costs apply). Explore three museum displays; An examination of the early years of social life on the goldfields, "Freedom, Fortitude, and Flies; there is a stunning collection of mineral specimens from around the world in the McLaughlin Minerals Collection; and later, from Tennant Creek to Darwin and the Western Front, you are taken on a journey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs. 

To explore Barkly’s colonial history, you can visit the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station, situated in Barrow Creek, surrounded by the Forster Ranges and the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station. These historical reserves are 2 of 15 telegraph stations that once formed the network from Port Augusta to Port Darwin and have significant historical value. Visit the Telegraph Stations to learn about the erection of the Overland Telegraph Line and the role it played in connecting the north and south of Australia together, and to the rest of the world.

Battery Hill Mining Centre

Art and Culture 

There is still a lot of Aboriginal culture in the area. Warumungu artists have created three-dimensional educational displays that reflect the culture's rich and varied history. These can be seen at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre, besides various bush foods on display, including bush tucker and traditional medicines. The fascinating Centre offers you the chance to learn about Aboriginal life, history, and their connection to the land in the area. 

If you want to mix offroad and art together, follow the Sandover Highway onto the Binns Track and back onto the Stuart Highway at Ali Curung to see some remote community art centres like Utopia Art Centre, Artists of Ampilatwatja, and Arlpwe Art and Cultural Centre.

Nyinkka Nyunyu outside

Nyinkka Nyunyu Gallery shop

Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Cultural Centre


Iytwelepenty/ Davenport Ranges National Park is an excellent place to visit if you're an avid 4 wheel driver. The Old Police Station Waterhole is an excellent spot for a swim or setting up camp. Look for waterfowl in this refuge, learn about the ecological importance of this waterhole network, and get a sense of the extensive and strong Aboriginal ties to the area.

Explore the Barkly Tablelands and find ancient formations that have fallen from the sky. Take a stroll through the Karlu Karlu/Marbles; Devil's a cluster of precariously balanced granite boulders, 95 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. They've been eroding and cracking for millennia, resulting in an ever-changing landscape. A self-guided walking trail and interpretive signage are available to help visitors learn about the geological wonder.

Take a picnic to Tingkarli/Lake Mary Ann, an artificial lake, and go swimming or canoeing. Access the lake from Tennant Creek via the road, or the walking/cycling path if you want to enjoy the scenery.

Whistleduck Creek

Whistleduck Creek, Davenport Ranges National Park

Lake Mary Ann TC

Lake Mary Ann

Tennant Creek & The Barkly Accommodation

Whether Tennant Creek is your overnight stop or you plan on staying for a couple of days, there are campgrounds and cabins to motels and hotels on offer for you to stay in. 

Or if you're just in the Barkly region, there are spots with accommodation available at Banka Banka West Station and Tourist Park, Devils Marbles Hotel, and Barrow Creek Hotel.

Tennant Creek & The Barkly Dining

Restaurants abound in Tennant Creek and the surrounding Barkly region. Dine in or take out is an option at many of the roadhouses along the Stuart Highway and the Barkly Highway. The restaurant at the Devils Marbles Hotel is consistently recognised with Gold Plate Awards for its excellence.

Tennant Creek's main street is dotted with numerous cafes. While at Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre, stop by Jajjikari Café for a delicious meal. Many of the hotels in the Barkly region are known for their excellent steaks. You can also head to Wok's Up in Tennant Creek for some excellent Asian cuisine.


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