Tennant Creek Destination-Information Listings
Barkly Tablelands Area
The vast Barkly Tablelands stretch east of Tennant Creek into Queensland and, at more than 280,000 square kilometres, cover about 20 per cent of the Territory's land mass.
The Barkly is known for its golden grasslands and wide blue skies that give it that distinctive sense of the space and freedom of the outback. Vast cattle stations are located on the Tablelands, some as large as European countries, and this region is well known for the epic cattle drives of yesteryear that passed through en route to Queensland.
One of the biggest events on this region's calendar is the Brunette Downs Races, a bush race meet held in June on a station 350 kilometres north east of Tennant Creek. Visitors fly in from all over Australia for the four-day bush race meet that has a distinct outback flavour.
The Barkly Homestead at the junction of the Barkly and Tablelands highways is the only service centre in the tablelands and provides a welcome respite on the long drive to or from Queensland.
From its humble beginnings as a gold rush and cattle town, Tennant Creek has grown into a flourishing regional centre of around 3500 people. Located along the Stuart Highway 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs, the town has a number of interesting attractions, and is the main service centre for the surrounding Barkly Tablelands and its sprawling cattle stations.
Tennant Creek's gold rush of the 1930s was the last in Australia's history, and at one time it was the third-largest gold producer in the country. Visitors can take a tour through an underground mine at the Battery Hill Mining Centre and even fossick for your own gold to take home.
Built in 1872, the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station is a collection of historic stone buildings. It was part of the Overland Telegraph Line that linked Australia with the outside world. The station is 11 kilometres north of town, and has a self-guided walk with interpretative signage that explains the region's telegraph communications and pastoral history. The station is particularly beautiful just before sunset when the golden light for which the region is known lights up the stone walls.
The town's colourful history is also on show at Tuxworth-Fullwood Museum. Originally built by the Army in 1942 as a bush hospital, the museum has a range of exhibits, including a 1930s police cell, steam traction engine, a reconstruction of a miner's camp and early photographs of the town and its people.
Tennant Creek's award-winning Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Cultural Centre provides a fantastic insight into the strong Aboriginal history and culture of this region. Local arts and crafts are on display and can be purchased from the centre, which is run by the local traditional owners.
Tingkkarli/Lake Mary Ann, 5 kilometres from the township, is a lovely place for a swim and a picnic. There are barbecue facilities, bushwalking tracks and wildlife watching areas, and the reserve can be reached via a walking/bike path that leaves town and winds through t
Tennant Creek and Surrounds
The small town of Tennant Creek sits at the junction of the Barkly and Stuart highways, 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs and 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin. Known by locals as 'Tennant', the town is the service centre for the surrounding Barkly Tablelands, a huge area of grassy plains that house enormous cattle stations.
Tennant Creek has a diverse history, shaped by the Overland Telegraph Line, gold mining, Aboriginal culture and pastoralism.
The site of Australia's last major gold rush in the 1930s, Tennant Creek's mining past can be explored at the excellent Battery Hill Mining Centre, where underground tours shed light on the gold extraction process that made this area Australia's third-largest gold producer.
The town's Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre is an award-winning museum and gallery that showcases the culture of the local Warumungu people. Other attractions include Tingkkarli/Lake Mary Ann, a picturesque swimming and picnicking spot. At the old Telegraph Station you will see stone buildings from 1872 and find out about the town's role in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line.
Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles is a sacred site about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek and is the region's most spectacular landmark. The Devils Marbles consist of hundreds of enormous boulders balanced on top of one another across a shallow valley. The local Aboriginal people call them 'Karlu Karlu', and Aboriginal lore says the rocks are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent.
Kunjarra/The Pebbles, is a women's dancing site located a short drive north of Tennant Creek.
The Davenport Range National Park, accessed via the Barkly Highway, is a fantastic spot for four-wheel driving and camping. You will find some of the Territory's most challenging four-wheel drive tracks, and a series of permanent waterholes that attract plenty of birdlife.
Tennant Creek Area
Tennant Creek is known for its gold mining history. The surrounding region, the Barkly Tablelands, is characterised by wide plains and vast skies, and with a population of 3,000, Tennant Creek is the main service centre for the area.
Located 507 kilometres north of Alice Springs and around 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin, the town has a diverse history, shaped by Aboriginal culture, pastoralism and gold mining.
The site of Australia’s last major gold rush in the 1930s, Tennant Creek’s rich mining history can be explored in the Battery Hill Mining Centre. The Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre is an award winning museum and gallery showcasing the culture of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the area, the Warumungu people. Travellers can stop at a character filled outback pub or roadhouse for an insight into a unique lifestyle shaped by isolation. Enjoy a swim in Tingkkarli / Lake Mary Ann, explore the historic Overland Telegraph Line, built in 1872, and spend a couple of star filled nights in Tennant Creek area for a truly unique Territory experience.
The mysterious rock spheres of the nearby Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, located 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek, are one of the Outback’s iconic attractions.