Midway by road between Alice Springs and Darwin, Tennant Creek is
known as the Territory’s heart of gold; a reference to the
friendliness of its people and the area’s gold mining history.
Where is it?: 995 km south of Darwin, 503 km north of Alice Springs
on the Stuart Highway, 26 km south of the junction of the Stuart and
The town’s goldmining history remains, and is captured at
sites around the town such as the Battery Hill Mining Centre (1.5 km
east). This mining heritage complex houses extensive displays on the
town's mines and the surrounding Barkly region.
The National Trust property, Tuxworth-Fullwood House, was
constructed during World War II as a troop hospital. Today it houses an
archive of local photographs, memorabilia and a vast collection of
mining era artifacts.
The Australian Inland Mission Church was built in 1934. It survives as a fine example of the 'Sydney Williams' style.
Tennant Creek Social History Museum documents the history of this
historic mining town. McLaughlin Minerals Collection, housed in the
original tin building of the Battery Hill site, is home to a collection
of mineral samples from all over the world.
The oldest living culture on earth is showcased at the Nyinkka
Nyunyu Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre. Displays include local art,
artifacts and examples of both bush tucker and bush medicine.
The surrounding region has numerous places of interest for travellers including the Attrack Creek Historical Site (74 km north).
The Pebbles (96 km north) are granite boulders, the smaller
relatives of the Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles). Known to the Warumungu
Aboriginal people as Kunjarra, The Pebbles are a sacred site and
women’s dancing place for the Munga Munga Dreaming.
Threeways Roadhouse and Tourist Park (24 km north) sits at the
junction of the Stuart and Barkly Highways. There is a memorial nearby
to Rev. John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Banka Banka (100 km north) was the first operational pastoral lease
in this region, and a supply camp during World War II. The station
offers visitors an outback experience and hosts a grassed campground
The John Flynn memorial, at the junction of the Stuart and Barkly
Highways (26 km north), is one of many in the Northern Territory
dedicated to John Flynn (1880-1951), founder of an airborne medical
service providng emergency and primary health care to people living in
Tenant Creek homestead (11km north east) incroporates the old stone
telegraph repeater station (built 1871). The station stands beside the
seasonal creek which gave the town its name. The creek was named after
John Tennant who helped fund the initial exploration journeys of John
Mary Ann Dam is a popular recreation spot, easily accessible from
town by road or bicycle track and popular for swimming, barbecues,
picnics or bush walks.
Bill Allen Lookout, 2 km past the Battery Hill Mining Centre, offers
clear 360 degree panoramic views of Tennant Creek and the surrounding
A number of national parks and conservation and historical reserves
make for great adventures in and around Tennant Creek. Visit for a day
or, where available, set up camp and stay in these places of cultural
significance, diverse wildlife and spectacular landscapes.
The Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) rock formation (104 km south)
are a collection of massive granite boulders strewn across a valley
south of Tennant Creek. Standing at up to 6 metres high and formed over
millions of years, they continue to crack and change. The mythology of
the local Warmungu Aboriginal people declare the boulders to be the
fossilised eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. Wander around the site
along the network of informal walking tracks. Here you'll find many
species of local plants and animals and the large clumps of rocks
create a variety of miniature refuges and sheltered environments for
wildlife such as fairy martins and spiny-tailed goannas.
Spend a day out in the Davenport Ranges, which mark the boundary
between the traditional lands of the Warumungu, Alyawarre and Kaytetye
people. Their traditional connections with the land are strong and many
artefacts can still be found in the area today. Campers, nature
lovers and 4WD enthusiasts will love the abundant four-wheel drive
tracks, camping and picnic facilities, as well as walking trails and
swimming spots. The area is an important refuge for fauna, especially
water birds, owing to the extensive network of waterholes.