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Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles and Kunjurra/The Pebbles

The Devils Marbles is a sacred site of rock formations; boulders balancing almost unnaturally atop rocky outcrops around 95km south of Tennant Creek. The area is known by the local Aboriginal people of the Warumungu as Karlu Karlu, which aptly translates to ‘round boulders’. This is arguably the region’s most famous landmark and is consistently recognised as miraculous sandstone formations, caused by millions of years of erosion. 

Just seeing the Devils Marbles is enough to convince you of its spiritual significance. Without doubt though, it’s best to visit Karlu Karlu and spend the night at the designated campsite (fees apply) as this is the only way you’ll be able to see them set against the enchanting sunset of the Red Centre. 

Just 17km north of Tennant Creek is Kunjarra or ‘The Pebbles’, another site of equally awe inspiring geologic phenomenon which the Warumungu hold sacred as the place of the Munga Munga dreaming. This area holds a great deal of importance to the Warumungu people and as such it is not permitted to camp here. However, there are walking tracks around the site and its remoteness (only accessible via a 6km unsealed road off the Stuart Highway) make it all the more magical. Take note though that Kunjarra/The Pebbles is only open from 8am to 6pm daily, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly.

Both of these incredible locations are free to access and there is plenty to see and learn about at each!

Things To Do

Kunjarra/The Pebbles is the perfect place to walk around and just marvel at its natural beauty. There aren’t any guided tours available or camping facilities at the location, but it’s a place more suited to your own wanderings and imagination. Take your time and stroll around to experience the absolute beauty on display and if you’re interested, read about the traditional owners’ spiritual stories of Kunjarra and retrace the tales in the physical world. 

Karlu Karlu or Devils Marbles is somewhere you can go and enjoy for more than just a few hours. With facilities like barbecues, picnic areas, public toilets, lookout points and walking tracks amongst the granite and sandstone, you would be well advised to spend the night. While looking upon Karlu Karlu in daylight is awesome in itself, just wait until you see it in the orange, pink and reds of a desert sunset.

How to Get There

As stated above, Devils Marbles/Karlu Karlu is around 95km south of Tennant Creek, or 412km north of Alice Springs. If you’re coming with a tour group or on your own, you’ll be travelling via the Stuart Highway to get here. Coming from Tennant Creek, head south on the Stuart Highway and wait until you see the signs for Devils Marbles - the road is sealed and most vehicles/drivers will be able to drive right up to the site where there’s a free car park. 

If you’re wanting to visit Kunjarra/The Pebbles from Tennant Creek, then likewise you’ll be taking the Stuart Highway, but going north. Drive for roughly 12km north along the Stuart Highway and you’ll see signs to turn left onto a gravel road to drive the last 5km or so. Despite the fact that part of the journey is a gravel road, most cars or vehicles shouldn’t have any trouble making the trip so it’s ideal for packing a family picnic and making a day of it. 

What to Bring

Regardless of which site you plan on visiting you’ll want to bring some absolute basics as with anywhere in the Red Centre. Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water (and more water), good walking shoes, insect repellant, satellite radio if possible and definitely a camera. If you’re wanting to have a picnic, that too is ok but make sure to take your rubbish with you. 

If you’re planning on camping at the Devils Marbles/Karlu Karlu, the campsite is quite well equipped with basics like barbecues, toilets and eating areas, but there are no additional creature comforts so bring what you need on top of the basics. 

Outside of these bare essentials, we would highly recommend you bring an open mind and imagination. These locations are ancient and come with a wealth of stories, spiritual and cultural significance - so take them in and wonder at their marvel. 

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