Tennant Creek A stopover full of surprises
Spend a few quiet days under the blue skies of Tennant Creek. Learn about the indigenous culture, mining history and original cattle kings.
Pull in at Tennant Creek, a friendly hamlet on the main artery between Alice Springs and Darwin, and discover a rich history shaped by gold mining, Aboriginal culture and the NT’s original cattle kings.
A rich, ‘golden’ history
Australia’s last gold rush took place right here in the 1930s, earning the town its title of ‘the Territory’s heart of gold’. Re-live the gold rush era on an underground tour at the Battery Hill Mining Centre, which houses Australia’s last operating ten-head gold stamp battery. Try fossicking for your own gold to take home.
Trawl through gold mining artefacts and memorabilia at the Tuxworth-Fullwood Museum, which was once a camp hospital during WWII.
Explore the stone buildings of the Telegraph Station. Constructed in 1872, the Tennant Creek station was a link in Overland Telegraph Line that connected the outback with the rest of the world.
Strong Aboriginal culture
Listen to the local Warumungu people’s legend of ‘Nyinkka’, the spiky tailed goanna that shaped the town, at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre. This centre is considered one of the best in the Territory and includes a gallery of Indigenous art from the region, cafe and opportunities to find out more about Aboriginal life, history and land.
Join in a song at the Winanjjikari Music Centre, where contemporary music is produced and performed by Aboriginal musicians. Watch the action at the recording studio and take home a CD of original music.
Visit the sacred women’s dancing site at The Pebbles, a spectacular granite formation north of the town that’s known as Kunjarra to the Warumungu people.
Relax in the natural surroundings
Pack a picnic and follow the walking track through the Honeymoon Ranges to Lake Mary Ann. Your reward is a cool swim in the picturesque reserve.
Stockman in the saddle
Join in the fun of bull and bronco riding, barrel racing, a ‘stockman’s challenge’ and camp draft events at the annual Barkly Goldrush Campdraft Challenge in October.
Can Tennant Creek be done as a day trip?
We don’t recommend Tennant Creek for a day trip. The best way to experience Tennant Creek is to include it in a road trip through the Territory.
Do I need any passes or permits to visit Tennant Creek?
No, you don’t need any passes or permits to visit Tennant Creek.
How do I get around Tennant Creek?
Everything is walking distance in Tennant Creek itself. To check out the many sights around the town, you’ll need to drive yourself or book a tour.
How do I get to Tennant Creek?
Tennant Creek is easily accessed by car – you can drive north from Alice Springs, south from Katherine, or east from Queensland. Greyhound buses and tour operators also come through town. Air North operates regular flights from Alice Springs or Darwin.
How far is Tennant Creek from Alice Springs and Darwin?
Tennant Creek is the perfect stopover when heading north from Alice Springs (4.5 hours’ drive or 507km), or south from Katherine (6.5 hours’ drive or 674km) or Darwin (10 hours’ drive or 988km).
What are the major attractions at Tennant Creek?
Discover Tennant Creek’s history at the Battery Hill Mining Centre, or the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station. Just north of Tennant Creek you can cool off at Lake Mary Ann on your way towards checking out Kunjarra (The Pebbles). Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) is one hour south.
What should I bring with me to Tennant Creek?
When making the drive, always carry plenty of drinking water and a first aid kit. Be sure the petrol tank is full before setting off.
When is the best time to visit Tennant Creek?
May to October has cooler days and nights, while there’s a greater chance of rain from November to April. You’re likely to experience blue skies most of the year, so any time is a good time to visit.
Where should I go next from Tennant Creek?
Head north to Katherine, Darwin and the Top End – including Arnhem Land, Kakadu and Litchfield National Park. Or take the road south to Alice Springs and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Things to see & do in Tennant Creek
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