Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 46- Tennant Creek to The Devil's Marbles

Another leisurely packup. We are getting the hang of it all now and can be up and on the way by 10 with no stress or rush at all. Headed straight out to the Devil’s Marbles which is only 100km south of Tennant Creek. We had debated about whether we would see it this time around (seeing as we really should be heading north) or see it when we leave the Territory. But we are just as likely to do a loop out to Kununarra and the Tanami Desert and link up back at the Alice when we leave as go straight back down and if we do that then the only thing between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs that we really wanted to see was the Devil’s Marbles so we decided to go the quick drive down now.

We were not sure what the camping area would be like and we knew it would be hot so we were really hoping there might be some shade. We lucked out and there were a few shady trees. And even better we were the first campers there so we got to pick two nice sites with a gazebo shelter in the middle. And there was a good breeze blowing that went right through the van so it was quite pleasant. Or it would have been quite pleasant if it were not for the flies that swarmed all around you and got in your mouth and nose and eyes and stuck on your skin and you could swat and blow and wave your arms at them and cover yourself in Bushman and swear and blink and spit and they still keep on coming!!! Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!
Anyway, we did a quick set up and then sat around in the shade for a bit. Jordy, when we managed to convince him to get out of the sun, did some drawing. Darcy climbed around on the picnic table under the gazebo or sat and ate in his portacot.
We were going to wait until later when it was cooler before we went for a walk but the boulders surrounding us were too hard to ignore so we decided to just go for a quick wander. Jordy was straight up the rocks and peering into the caves. When he climbed to the top of the first big rock he said “Phew, I‘m puffed! We‘ve climbed hundreds of metres! We‘re high up here!“ hehehe. Tim helped him to climb right to the top of the next pile so he could see out over everything and he thought that was pretty exciting. From up high you could actually see a rim of boulders almost circling the Marbles but way way out on the horizon near the surrounding ridges. The variety of boulders was amazing from the round ones to some really angular pointy bits and some that are almost rounded slabs piled on top of each other. You can see where some boulders have split and slid into a new position and then weathered away. We ended up wandering from nearly an hour before heading back to camp. We chatted to a few other campers (pretty much everyone out here is traveling long term) did some wildlife spotting (including an inquisitive dingo) and Darcy napped while we waited for the sun to drop. Around 4:30 we drove the few hundred metres from the camping side over to the day parking side of the marbles where there are information signs and stuff around a little walkway. Still too hot for Darcy so Tim stayed near the truck with him while the rest of us wandered and climbed. Apart from the main walking trail around the boulders there are also a million little trails worn by previous visitors that meander in and around the rocks and you could spend days just seeing it all. As it was Tim took the kids back to camp and Mum, Dad, and I meandered our way up, down, and around all the way back to camp. The rocks turned a wonderful deep red as the sun set. I was up amongst a big pile of rocks taking photos of the changing colours and could only see in one direction. When I finally climbed down and looked over at the sun it was just peeking over the horizon!!! And I wanted a sunset photo!! I was not near anything half decent for a photo so I ran ran ran back to the mass of boulders near the camping area and climbed super fast just in time to catch the sun disappearing over the horizon. Bugger! LOL!
Tim had the kids bathed when I got back and we were having last nights leftovers for dinner so we had a quick dinner and then sat around outside in the cooling air. The flies thankfully disappeared with the sun and the breeze picked up. We lit a fire and lazed about under a million stars in the crystal clear sky. A lone dingo made an appearance and Dad left out a bucket of water for it. It was not shy at all and came really close to us (actually, it was hanging around too close while I was having a shower outside and Tim had to stand guard for me).

I went in to the van when the kids went to bed but the others sat up for a while and enjoyed the sky show. The dingo started howling at 10:30 and woke Darcy (bastard) so that was the end of it for me. An early night so I can be up for sunrise tomorrow.

Even though the massive boulders are visible right from the highway and, if you did not want to stay overnight, you could drive past and do a quick walk around them and still get an idea of what they are like, I think staying overnight and having the chance to stroll all around the different sections and climb up on top of the massive piles of rocks makes it just magical. I am both amazed and grateful that the traditional owners still let us have unlimited access to such a sacred site. The Marbles are certainly one of the more amazing natural wonders I have ever seen.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, some great pics chelle. The marbles look amazing. And you're all looking a lot more tanned than when you left...well...except for Tims head! haha