Karlu Karlu – Northern Territory’s greatest scenery

Karlu Karlu – Northern Territory’s greatest scenery

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 11/16/2015

Reading time: 3 mins

The long and arduous drive to Alice Springs would be incredibly dull if it weren’t for the many amazing sights that you can view along the way. But throughout this 1500km route, there are no sites quite as famous, or as impressive as Karlu Karlu.

Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles, is an 1800-hectare conservation reserve. Hundreds of rocks scatter the ground, and while it may not sound exciting, these rocks are an incredible sight. The Devils Marbles are one of Northern Territory’s geological wonders. Forming millions of years ago, they were all initially one piece that found its foothold on the earth as molten rock.

Over aeons, erosion began to carve its way into the rock. Slowly over time the rocks began to disconnect, and as they did, curious shapes began to emerge from the wreckage. Karlu Karlu is the Warumungu name for these rocks. The name directly translates to ‘round boulders’, which is exactly what these are. The huge boulders are scattered across the landscape just like a large bag of marbles.

Spiritual Significance

This area is of enormous cultural and spiritual significance to Australia’s indigenous people. It’s entirely clear why the moment you step foot on the dusty landscape with these magnificent boulders all around you. The atmosphere is almost otherworldly as you stroll among the granite giants. While there may not be any clear paths or trails, the area is clear enough for you to guide yourself. Remember to be respectful as you explore this mesmerising landscape, and do not climb any boulders.

Due to this destination’s incredibly remote location, the only way to view it at sunset and sunrise is to spend a night in the campgrounds. There is no better way to enjoy these rust-coloured rocks than to experience them as the sun sets over the horizon. The midday sun drains the colours from the rocks, but when the earthy red colour of sunset paints the boulders in its radiant light, the view is sure to take your breath away. And once the last golden droplet of sun has vanished, you can lie Devils Marbles back and enjoy the night sky, as the stars shine and dance above you in an ever-glistening waltz that is undisturbed by the bright lights of nearby cities, there is no better way to feel in touch with the beauty of nature.

Visiting Karlu Karlu is an essential activity to add to your list of things to do in Northern Territory, there is nothing quite like wandering through these spectacular boulders, awestruck by their beauty.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.