Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, Karlu Karlu, Tennant Creek and Barkly Region, Northern Territory, Australia

Nature & wildlife, Tennant Creek & Barkly

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Though Tennant Creek is smack bang in the middle of the outback, it's anything but barren. National parks and conservation reserves are rich with flora and wildlife, while the open mallee scrubland and rocky ranges boast spectacular landscapes and scenery.

Lagoons and waterholes

The only reserve in Australia established for the conservation of Mitchell Grassland communities, Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve is situated in the heart of the Barkly Tablelands. Wander around the area and find an amazing array of birdlife including the rare flock bronzewing pigeon. Other local wildlife you're likely to meet along the way include red kangaroos, dingoes, and numerous rodents and marsupials such as the long-tailed planigale.

Longreach Waterhole (near Elliott) was once a large freshwater basin and is a huge breeding ground for many species of inland birds, from pelicans to straw neck and glossy black Ibis, brolgas and rufus whistlers, to black kites and terns – just to name a few.

Pitch your tent

Set up at the popular camping spot at Renner Springs, which attracts birds through a natural spring, known as Mud Springs. The Old Police Station Waterhole, located in the Davenport Range National Park, is another refuge for diverse species of birdlife and also makes for a peaceful camping spot, or just a swim and a picnic beneath the Paper Barks and Red Gums.

Devil's game

For anyone who appreciates a geological phenomenon, one of Tennant Creek's most famous landmarks, the Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu to the Aboriginal people) is a surreal collection of huge spherical boulders, seemingly left by giants playing a game of marbles. Join a guided walk and learn about the ancient Aboriginal mythology surrounding this fascinating geological marvel as well as at The Pebbles (known as Kunjarra) another granite outcrop formation, which is a sacred site for the local Warumungu people.

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