This is one spot I can’t pass without staying at, whenever we travel in the Northern Territory. Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles, has a very mysterious feel about it and never fails to leave you awestruck.
The way they were formed isn’t that mysterious though, the balancing marble like boulders are a result of a process over millions of years where solid granite rocks have eroded away due to the elements and left weathered granite boulders perched on rock platforms.
For the traditional owners it has been a meeting place for four traditional groups of the region, the Warumungu, Alyawarra, Kaytetye and Walpiri people. It is a place where ceremonies were held and is therefore sacred to traditional owners. A few walking tracks have been made for visitors to easily get up close to and see these amazing natural rock formations including one which takes you up to a lookout area on top. In return for the privilege of being able to explore this area there are a few requests not to walk in other areas or to take photographs at certain spots and no drones are allowed. Unfortunately there are a few selfish people as always out there and we saw people ignoring all of these requests.
The walks that are encouraged include the Nyanjiki lookout walk which takes about 20 minutes return and takes you up and over the boulders and gives a brilliant elevated view over the country. Nurrku walk is a 4 kilometre loop on flat country which takes around an hour and a half to complete. This walk takes you past more of the boulders at ground level and enables you to see the plants and animals of the region closer up.
The Mayijangu walk takes you on an 800 metre loop around and over parts of the biggest section of boulders where there is plenty of plant life to see, but I’m yet to see a black footed rock wallaby which call this area home too. This walk takes around half an hour and is relatively easy to complete. Karlu Karlu has a huge amount of bush tucker available that traditional owners have collected and used over the years, and even to the untrained eye you can spot a variety of fruiting plants.
The landscape surrounding the boulders has corkwood trees, mulga acacia, Sturt desert rose and grasses and the wildlife you can spot ranges from eagles and hawks, desert tree frog, lizards and possibly dingoes.
Karlu Karlu is 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek or around 400 kilometres north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. There are 24 designated caravan sites and more room for tent camping on the edges of that. Facilities include toilets, picnic area, shelter, fire pits and story boards full of information and guides to the different walking trails.
On this visit there was a campground host who collected the fees, $6.60 for two adults for a night but we were still able to choose where we wanted to park. As of the 1st of July 2021, campground fees in Conservation and National Parks in the Northern Territory will be increased so check before you go what the current rates are.
They draw me back every time we visit the Territory because of the terrific campground and facilities, well signposted and easy walks, the colours of the landscape are a dream and the changing colour of the rocks rival a sunset at Uluru. You also get fantastic clear starry nights without light pollution to enjoy this beautiful part of Australia day and night.
Enjoy the journey