One of the most instantly recognisable features of the outback, the Devil's Marbles (Karlu Karlu) are a symbol of the weird and wild nature of Australia's Red Centre. Formed over millions of years by nothing more than wind and rain, these gigantic granite boulders are up there with Uluru and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) as one of the top adventure destinations in the Northern Territory. Spread over a wide valley, they rise out of the flat landscape in spectacular fashion. The biggest measure is over six meters across, with many stacked precariously on top of each other, seeming to defy the laws of gravity. Others have been split down the middle exposing the glinting granite in their centre. As with much of the landscape in the area, the rock changes colour with the sun, glowing pink at sunrise through to burnt red by sunset, this giving off an eerie light and only adding to the atmosphere.
The marbles have long held great significance to local Aboriginal communities and are traditionally known as Karlu Karlu, meaning literally “round boulders”. Originally, the Karlu Karlu site belonged to the Alyawarre People, but now many other Aboriginal groups have developed spiritual connections to the area and are responsible for its protection. The marbles are a setting for many dreamtime stories.
There are no official hiking trails here but a network of self-guided tracks lead through this geological marvel with information boards explaining how the marbles came to be as they are today. Everyone is unique and with each turn you'll be treated to another spectacular viewpoint, each different from the last. Because of their size and varying shapes the boulders offer a multitude of habitats for wildlife and plants. Some surfaces take the full force of the sun while others are shady and cool, providing moist dark shelters for plants and insects. Life is tough in the outback and these amazing rocks provide a sanctuary for plants and animals alike, including Fairy Martin Birds and Pygmy Spiny-Tailed Goannas.
The Devil's Marbles are a once in a lifetime experience, unique and beautiful and a visit to this remote, weird landscape will stay with you forever.
Jump aboard our 5 day, 4 night Ultimate Central Australia Tour (departing from Alice Springs or Darwin or reverse) to experience all that The Devils Marbles has to offer!