The Devils Marbles in Australia are a collection of beautifully shaped granite rocks. Especially at sunrise and sunset, when the rocks turn from brown to red and gold, great photo opportunities open up around the Devils Marbles. Fortunately, our travel plans have changed once more and the Devils Marbles are along our way. Do you want to see some images from the breathtaking nature we found on the Devil’s Playground and how the Devils Marbles change color during sunrise and sunset?
The Devils Marbles or Karlu Karlu, as they are called by the Traditional Aboriginal Owners, are located along the Stuart Highway on the way from Alice Springs to Darwin. There are not many attractions along this stretch of more than 1’000 km and so it’s a great place to take a break.
We have been to Alice Springs several times. In the past we have always avoided the Stuart Highway from Darwin. Since this stretch of road does not offer much, we have always chosen other routes such as the Tanami Track, the Gunbarrel Highway, the Great Central Road or the Simpson Desert. Now it is time for us to stop by the devil’s playground and visit the Devils Marbles.
The Devils Marbles Coservation Reserve is only a few hundred meters away from the Stuart Highway to. After hundreds of miles without scenic highlights, the rock formations of the Devils Marbles are a real pleasure.
The Devils Marbles are a very popular stopover for both foreign and Australian travelers. Many travelers just take a short photo stop and then move on. We want to see the beautiful colors during the sunrise and sunset and so we spend the night on the campsite. The area of the campsite is in the middle of the Devils Marbles and the view of the rock formations is amazing.
The campsite is quite large but can fill up relatively quick. I you want to choose a site, you should not arrive too late. We arrive at 4pm and we are lucky. A nice camp spot with a small bush, which offers us a bit of shade, is still available. The sites fill up quickly and at sunset it is quite full.
The Devils Marbles at sunset
After a short break, we set off to walk around the Devils Marbles. From the campsite we follow the Mayijangu Walk, which leads from the campsites to the day use area.
From the day use area we continue along the short Karlu Karlu Walk, which leads around the rock formations next to parking area. On this short trail we see many different rock formations and some of the spherical Devils Marbles.
On the way back to the campsite we find this heap of ornately arranged granite rocks. Once again we are totally mesmerized how creative nature can be.
The sun is slowly getting closer to the horizon and the Devils Marbles already start to change their colors. We walk along the Nurrku Walk to the Northern part of the Devils Marbles Reserve. From the lookout we can see nicely formed rocks which offer a great photo opportunity at sunset.
The trail leads through the landscape covered by spinifex grass, which is peppered with the rock formations of the Devils Marbles. The rocks are all different but they all have the same rounded shape.
The sun is now rapidly approaching the horizon and the warm light transforms the landscape. The Devils Marbles change their colors and start to shine. Also the Spinifex grass starts to glow golden and the rocks look as if they were glowing too.
Shortly before sunset the round rocks light up once again, before they get pale and brown.
The beautiful colors during the sunset are even more intense due to the smoke of the surrounding brush fires. The smoke transforms the sunset into a spectacle of colors. It gets dark quickly and we rush to the campsite. We go to bed early because we don’t want to miss watching the sunrise over the Devils Marbles.
The Devils Marbles at sunrise
We have set the alarm that we do not miss the sunrise in the morning. I wake up before the alarm rings, the sun is not visible yet, but it is already red on the horizon. I grab my camera and follow the Nurrku Walk to the north because I really like the rocks in this area. I am looking for a good spot to watch the sunrise and prepare my camera.
It was bitterly cold along the Canning Stock Route at sunrise. Here the temperatures are much more pleasant. I only wear a T-shirt and shorts and it is already pleasantly warm. The sun is rising over the horizon. The rocks of the Devils Marbles are illuminated and lighten up. It is a magical moment and I enjoy the wonderful change of colors and the peaceful atmosphere in the early hours.
On the way back to the campsite I have to stop several times to take more pictures.
Just before I reach the campsite, I turn right from the trail and climb up to the viewpoint. From here I have a nice overview of the area and the Devils Marbles. The stacked rocks between the campsite and the day use area have already fascinated me yesterday. I like to take a closer look in the morning light.
Through the Mayijangu Walk I reach this extraordinary formation of stacked granite rocks. At a first glance, one might think that it is the work of humans who artificially stacked the rocks. But the individual rocks are so big that this can hardly be. Once again nature has created a very extraordinary art object.
At the foot of this rock formation stands a rock that looks like a huge egg. How did the rock get this shape and still balances in this place?
I take one more photo and then it’s time to go back to the campsite. Breakfast is calling. What a great way to start a new, exciting day here at the Devils Marbles in Australia.
The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve / Karlu Karlu
The Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is located 115 kilometers south of Tennant Creek on the Stuart Highway. The small reserve of only 18 square kilometers offers a day use area, a campsite and various walking tracks.
The day use area is equipped with toilets and a shaded shelter. Here you will find information about the creation and history of the Devils Marbles. If you are lucky, you can also use the free Internet offered here (it did not work when we were there).
The campsite provides basic infrastructure for travelers. There is a shelter with information boards, picnic tables, fire pits, toilets and camp spots. The camp spots are on gravel and most of them have no shade. Camping at the Devils Marbles costs AUD 3.30 per person.
The walks in the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
The Karlu Karlu Walk is a 400 meter circular walk that starts at the day use area. If you only have limited time, this is the hike you need to do. Because here you will find a lot of great rock formations along a short distance.
The Mayijangu Walk is an 800 meter long circular walk that connects the day use area with the campsite.
The 200 meter hike to Nyanjiki Lookout starts at the campsite and leads to a lookout on the rocks. The view of the landscape of the Devils Marbles is gorgeous, especially at sunrise and sunset.
The Yakkula Walk is a 1.5 kilometer circular walk that starts at the campsite and leads around the rocks in the east of the area.
The Nurrku Walk is a 4 kilometer circular walk which can be started either at the day use area or at the campsite and leads to the northern part of the rock formations. In this part walkers find lots of beautifully shaped rocks. There are hardly any other people on this slightly longer walk and you can enjoy the rock formations in peace.
How did the amazing Devils Marbles form?
The formation of the extraordinary landscape and rock formations of the Devils Marbles dates back to as early as 1’700 million years. Back when lava, the basic substance for the Devils Marbles, was pushed to the surface of the earth. For the past millions of years the elements of water and wind have shaped the landscape as we can admire it today.
On the official website of the Northern Territory Coverment you will find a list of all national parks and up-to-date information about the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve.
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How do you like the photos of the Devils Marbles? Do you find the extraordinary rock formations exciting or rather boring? Would you stop and have a look at the Devils Marbles during an Australia trip?