Devils Marbles in the Northern Territory feature gigantic boulders that have been internationally recognized as the symbol of Australia’s Outback and are a pretty incredible sight to see in this rugged landscape.
Also known as Karlu Karlu, which translates to round boulders, this landmark is part of the aboriginal culture in Australia and as of 2008 when a historic ceremony was held, ownership of these rocks was officially given back to the site’s traditional owners.
Now the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is jointly owned by the traditional owners and the Parks and Wildlife Rangers.
I have put together this complete guide including how to get there, the best time to visit, and what to expect when you arrive.
WHERE ARE DEVILS MARBLES?
Devils Marbles is located in the remote area of Warumungu in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Situated 412 kilometers north of Alice Springs and around 100 kilometers south of Tennant Creek. This attraction is very much in the middle of the Northern Territory.
HOW TO GET TO DEVILS MARBLES
If you’re driving from Alice Springs, the journey by car is going to take you around 3.5 hours, one way.
It’s a pretty remote location so I would definitely advise setting aside the entire day to allow enough time to fully explore this location.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT
Temperatures across the Northern Territory can be extremely high through the months of October to March, seeing 40 degrees in some locations and high humidity can cause you to tire quite easily.
The peak season to visit is in the cooler months of May to August.
With that said, the weather tends to be pretty decent all year round but the time of day I would suggest visiting is morning or evening.
The golden hour light bouncing off of the marbles will make for an absolutely insane photo. Equally, head out in that morning light and capture the sunrise… you’ll be so thankful for the early start.
Heading out early or later on kills two birds with one stone. You get to capture that banging Instagram shot, all whilst staying relatively cool and not overheating.
The desert regions of Australia can be pretty hectic, so it’s important to plan your journey correctly.
If you are planning to head out for sunset, you do have the option to camp overnight to save the long drive back at night.
DEVILS MARBLES FACTS
I thought I would give you a few interesting Devils Marbles facts and some information on the conservation park it’s located in.
- The marbles are believed by the Warmungu Aboriginal people to be fossilized eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. This is widely argued for and against by many people.
- Standing 6 meters high and formed over millions of years, Karlu Karlu is a collection of enormous granite rocks, scattered across the valley south of Tennant Creek. Over time they continue to crack and change in shape. The weather is responsible for a lot of changes in the rocks.
- In 1982 the entire Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve was registered as a sacred site by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.
- It’s one of the most visited reserves/ places in the Northern Territory and in 2007, the Parks & Wildlife Services recorded 96,172 visitors.
- In 1952 a boulder was removed from the site and taken to Alice Springs to form a memorial for John Flynn. This caused a lot of controversies and after 45 years of negotiations, a boulder swap was arranged and the original boulder was returned to its original site in September 1999.
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WHAT TO EXPECT AT DEVILS MARBLES NT
There is more to do at this location than you once thought. From walking trails to wildlife spotting, this place really does have more than what meets the eye.
You have a selection of self-guided walking trails, weaving you in and around the different rock formations, soaking up the atmosphere, and learning about this incredible site of cultural interest.
Information signposts will guide you around the walk and teach you as you go. Be sure to check out the Nyanjiki Lookout for sweeping panoramic views over this unique landscape.
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Whilst on the walking trails, take up a bit of wildlife spotting. The rocks are a cooler, sheltered environment for plants and animals.
On the rocks, you may spot black-headed goannas and you may also see Zebra Finch throughout the reserve.
Remember to always be respectful of the wildlife and the environment by keeping your distance.
You can also expect to see information signs dotted around the reserve to keep you on track and informed during your visit.
A few housekeeping rules to remember:
- Pets are allowed but have to remain on the leads.
- Pets are not however permitted on the campground.
- Stick to designated paths and tracks as this is a protected site of cultural and historic value.
- If you’re hoping to get that banging drone shot, think again. Unfortunately, Drones are not allowed.
- Fires are only permitted in the designated fire pits. During the dry season, you may experience fire bans and it’s so important to respect those bans. The dry climate in the Northern Territory is a breeding ground for accidents with fires.
DEVILS MARBLES CAMPING
It’s possible to camp here with a selection of camp and caravan sites available. Additional fees do apply if you wish to camp and you can book online in advance.
Public toilets and picnic tables are also available.
DEVILS MARBLES HOTEL
For those of you who would prefer to stay in a hotel when visiting, you’re in luck!
The Devils Marbles Hotel is just 8km south of Karlu Karlu and has a variety of accommodation options available including single-room cabins, ensuite rooms, deluxe cabins, and a caravan park with powered sites.
There is also an on-site restaurant, bar, fuel, and swimming pool for all visitors.
Head to their website www.devilsmarbleshotel.com.au to book online in advance.
WHAT TO PACK FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY
When visiting NT, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
Must-Have Travel Essentials
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FINAL THOUGHTS – THE DEVILS MARBLES AUSTRALIA
You can easily see away a day here at Karlu Karlu, soaking up the historical importance and admiring this rare rock formation.
It’s important to stay safe, especially in this harsh climate of the Northern Territory. So as long as you ensure you’re carrying plenty of sunscreen and water as well as an insect repellant and suitable clothing, you’re really going to enjoy your time here.
If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
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This trip was in association with NT Tourism and Backyard Bandits.