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Karlu Karlu

Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve

Northern Territory, Australia Travel

Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
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View our range of Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Olgas, Kings Canyon and other tours. Many of the tours commence from Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Darwin.

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Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve (Karlu Karlu )
Located 393 km north of Alice Springs is the unique formation known as the Devils Marbles or Karlu Karlu (the Kaytetye name), or Karlwe Karlwe (the Warrumungu name).

This collection of gigantic granite boulders, have over the many millions of years been rounded into oval and spherical shapes, some precariously balanced on top of one another. These ‘marbles’ are found in scattered heaps across the wide, shallow valley that make up the 1,802 ha Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve.

Karlu Karlu is located on a sacred ‘Dreaming’ site, of which the Kaytetye say the boulders are ‘the eggs of the rainbow serpent, who passed through the area in the Dreamtime’. The majority of the Reserve is recognised as of great cultural importance to the Warrumungu, Kaiditch, Wogaia and Alyawarre people. Many stories and traditions are associated to the area.

Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve (Karlu Karlu ) © A and H Holden, 2006

The marbles were formed from an upsurge of molten rock that cooled and became solid beneath a layer of sandstone. The solidifying granite caused vertical and horizontal fractures, creating rectangular blocks, which over time due to the action of water, wind and sand rounded the boulder to what we see today.

The large numbers of granite boulders offer refuges and sheltered environments for the local flora and fauna, such as the native Rock Fig and the Fairy Martins (you can see clusters of bottle-shaped mud nests attached from the underside of the overhanging boulders. You may also catch sight of the small Black-headed Goanna (Varanus tristis) and the larger Sand Goanna (Varanus gouldii). Flocks of birds including the Zebra and Painted Finches are also found in the Reserve.

The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve extends along both sides of the Stuart Highway, with the nearest service town being Wauchope 9 km to the south and Tennant Creek 114 km in the north.

Source: Parks and Wildlife Service NT - Devils Marbles

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Central Australian Visitor Information Centre

Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) - Aboriginal

The Indigenous Australians who live around Barrow Creek and Tennant Creek are the Kaytej (Kaytete)1. Their neighbour to the east are the Alyawarre, to the south the Anmatyerre, to the west the Warlpiri and to the north the Warumungu.

Source: Aboriginal Australia Wall Map Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies

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Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) - Activities

Check the NT Parks and Wildlife Services for Ranger based activities...

Source: Aboriginal Australia Wall Map Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

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Karlukarlu (Devils Marbles) Other links and Footnotes

AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal Tribal Database
Open Language Archives Community Search result for Kaytetye/Kaytej.
Wikipedia Some information on Kaytetye and the Devils Marbles.

1 Kaytej - Kaytete Just south of the Warumungu and online research in the AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal Tribal Database display a number of alternative names including: Kaytej, Kaytetye, as described in the Aboriginal Australia Wall Map (compiled by David Horton), Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (
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