The eggs of the mythical Rainbow Serpent.
Aboriginal legend believes that the Devils Marbles are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. The Devils Marbles Reserve is a very important and sacred site for the Indigenous people of Australia.
The Warumungu legend of the native Aboriginal people believe that the Devil’s Marbles are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent laid in the Dreamtime.
The Rainbow Serpent of Aboriginal mythology, commonly referred to as ‘the Dreamtime’, controls life’s most precious resource in the central desert region – water.
Many ‘dreamtime’ stories and traditions of the local Warumungu, Kaytetye and Alyawarre Aboriginal people are linked with this area.
The Dreamtime is the central theme in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is made up of four different parts: the beginning of all things; life and ancestors; life and death; and sources of power in life.
What are the Devils Marbles?
The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is 1802 hectares in size and stretches from horizon to horizon. Varying in size some of the Marbles are up to seven metres in diameter and many of the Devils Marbles appear to be precariously balanced on top of each other.
The Devils Marbles are known as ‘Karlu Karlu’ by the local Warumungu Aboriginal people. Karlu Karlu means ’round boulders’ in the language of the local Warumungu Aboriginal people.
The Science behind the Devils Marbles
Formed about 1640 million years ago these boulders were once part of a solid mass of granite which formed as the Earth’s surface cooled. As the hot magma hardened, granite boulders began to form, cracking and splitting into tightly-fitting towers of rocks.
Erosion played a significant part. Over time the blocks of granite developed horizontal and vertical cracks, splitting into many rectangular blocks and with millions of years of wind and rain eroding them into the magnificent boulders that you see today.
Every marble is different and the colours are rich and vibrant and change in intensity with the sunrise and sunsets.
The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve offers a variety of habitats for unique desert flora and fauna. Exposed sunny areas, shady areas and dark and moist shelters provide cool shelter habitats for many different species of snakes, lizards, goannas and birds.
Take a walk through the Devils Marbles
The Devils Marbles is one of the most extraordinary natural landscapes in outback Australia and one of Australia’s most famous natural wonders.
The Stuart Highway cuts through the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve. The marbles are scattered through the valley on both sides of the highway but are easily accessible for people to explore.
There are story boards throughout the park which explain the formation of the Devils Marbles and the Aboriginal mythology of the area.
It’s one of the most spectacular places in the Territory to experience sunset. The rich golds and reds create a stunning selection of colours against the rich blue evening sky.
Walking through the Devils Marbles in the evening is a surreal experience and one of the ‘must do’ things of a lifetime!
It’s fun to watch the tourists photo-pose themselves attempting to push over or lift one the marbles … shhh, I have some of those photos too!
Where Are The Devils Marbles?
The Devils Marbles are 410 kms north of Alice Springs and 1090 kms south of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Or to make it easier … approximately 4 hours north of Alice Springs and 12 hours south of Darwin. In other words, in the middle of absolutely nowhere!
Where to Stay
I can testify to having one of the greatest steak sandwiches ever, last time I passed through!
Just 8 kilometres south of the Marbles is a quirky little hotel. There’s a range of accommodation to suit most people’s needs and it’s a friendly little place to stop for a meal and stay overnight to break the drive.
Even better, stop in for sunset at the Devils Marbles first and spend the night at the Devils Marbles Hotel.
Tennant Creek is 110 km to the north of the Devils Marbles with a population of approximately 8,000 people. It is the 5th largest town along the Stuart highway.
Tennant Creek has a busy community presence as the service hub for surrounding cattle stations, travelers passing through and the local township. It’s fully equipped with service centres such as hospitals, hotels, caravan parks, supermarkets, service stations, aboriginal art galleries, clubs and restaurants are available.
Camp overnight at the Devils Marbles
Camping at the Devils Marbles is one of the great outback experiences. The quietness of desert at night is calming and the night skies are full of stars.
The Devils Marbles provides a simple bush camp site with no shower facilities but it has toilets, picnic tables and a barbecue pits available. Collecting firewood in the reserve is not permitted so make sure you bring your own firewood. Fires are only permitted in the designated fire pits.
Things to remember
- Camping fees are via an honesty system.
- Pets are allowed on a leash in the day parking area only
- Pets are not permitted in the campground.
- Generators are not permitted.
When visiting the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, use the well worn tracks and pathways and follow the rules of the campgrounds.
Important: All the rocks, cultural items and wildlife on the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve are protected.
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