Tennant Creek Region - N.T.
The town of Tennant Creek is virtually central to the Tennant Creek region and rests along the Stuart Highway on one of only two major roads that divide the whole district.
The town itself is comprised of around 3,500 residents nearly half of the regions 8000 or so, who are predominantly Aboriginal. There are few towns in the region, more a collection of pastoral leases, indigenous communities, outstations and mining camps.
Mining (predominantly gold) has played an important part in the development of the region, both historically and currently although cattle grazing is the most obvious industry in the area.
The Barkly Tableland is a seemingly endless sprawl of Mitchell Grass covering 240,000km² of prime pastoral land. It's a piece of agricultural country the size of the United Kingdom and constitutes the major division of the Tennant Creek region.
The Devil's Marbles are the districts most notable attractions, rounded boulders of various sizes balanced across a generally featureless landscape. Being directly adjacent to the Stuart Highway they are one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Northern Territory.
The Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre is central to Tennant Creek's tourism outreach and offers a retail shop, museum and gallery featuring local arts, performances and history.
Facts about The Tennant Creek Region
Population: 8,100 approx.
Climate: Warm Desert with nearly 500mm of rainfall.
Geography and Flora: Mulga, spinifex scrubland and black soil plains of Mitchell Grass to the east. Undulating landscape broken by low topped granite hills and, at times, unusual rock formations such as the Devil's Marbles. Southern region tending to sandy scrubland.
Fauna: Australian Bustard, Red Kangaroo, Flock Bronzewing Pigeon, Pictorella Mannikin Finch, Red-chested Button-quail, Dingo, Long Tailed Planingale, Plague Rat.
Tennant Creek Region Attractions
- Devils Marbles.
- Mary Ann Dam.
- Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre.
- Battery Hill Mining Centre.
- Historic Wauchope Hotel.
- Old Telegraph Stations along Stuart Highway.
- Kelly West Meteorite Crater.
- Davenport Range.
- Old Police Station Waterhole.
- Whistleduck Waterhole.
- Wycliffe Well UFO experience.
- Old Newcastle Waters
- Cape Crawford
- Banka Banka
Important Towns, Settlements and Communities
Tennant Creek, Elliot, Ali Curung, Alpurrurulam/Lake Nash, Ampilatwatja, Wutunugurra, Arlparra, Wauchope, Wycliffe Well.
Getting Around The Tennant Creek Region
The Tennant Creek region is big with only a couple of major sealed roads bisecting the district. While the Devils's Marbles are planted squarely on the highway and easily accessible other places of interest usually involve a detour or excursion of the beaten track.
Services are limited with the town of Tennant Creek being the major provider and with a population of 3,500 facilities are scarce.
The Ghan (train) stops here and regular bus services run north and south between Darwin and Adelaide but the most practical mode of transport is to drive your own vehicle, especially if you want to get out to some of the more remote areas.
Ideally a 4WD camper van will allow you to go practically anywhere (seasonal rain permitting) while allowing you ample opportunity to spend a few nights under the northern skies in what is a very large and very unpopulated part of of the world.
Best Time to Visit
The Tennant Creek region experiences the majority of it's rainfall in the wet season between December and March which also coincides with the hot summer months, making this time of the year humid and uncomfortable if you're unused to tropical type summers.
Rain can also quickly close access roads, the majority of which are unsealed, meaning it's quite possible to be limited to highway travel.
The cooler months between April and September are the most comfortable and also the most accessible although nights can get cool.
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