After Daly Waters we arrived in Tennant Creek! We stayed at a local caravan park in town, where we enjoyed the pool and topped up with groceries. Tennant Creek was once the third biggest producer of gold in Australia! There are still spots around where you can try your luck to find some gold - so Kurt was keen to have a detect!
On our first day bush camping, Kurt found GOLD! Yippee! It was only a very small piece but gold none the less! The pure excitement on his face was priceless! We were the only ones set up at our camp for kilometres, so it made for a peaceful spot. We did however meet another avid gold prospector whilst camped. Steve was driving through and stopped for a good 3 hour chat. He told us his gold stories, travel tales and gave Kurt heaps of great tips in regards to prospecting. We stayed a further 2 days detecting, but nothing else was found and it was quite hot! 38 degree temperatures aren't that fun to detect in.
Next stop was the Devils Marble's. Now they actually allow people with dogs to park in the Day use area which was a pleasant change! Although we decided it was too hot to do the walks when we arrived, so we opted to go down the road to the Devils Marbles Pub to set up camp and come back later in the afternoon to check out the Marble's. Rusty chilled in the comfort of our air-conditioned caravan whilst we returned to explore the Devils Marble's.
There was a lot of bushfires around the area, which provided some unique photo opportunities. We walked around took in the beauty of the Marbles. Its quite amazing to see the rock formations and how they are all balancing on top of one another. We watched the sunset from the lookout point, then headed back to watch the NRL semi-finals at the pub.
We hit the road the next day and stopped into the UFO centre for a look. It's was fun to look around the roadhouse and see the reported sightings etc. We slowly trekked down the highway and pulled up camp for the night at Aileron Roadhouse. The small township is home to a large aboriginal sculpture atop of the hill (you can't miss it if driving past on the highway). They also have a large sculpture of an aboriginal mother and daughter outside the local art gallery.
It proved to be a nice overnight spot. Reasonably priced, we had a nice green grassy site which was heaven under our feet. The roadhouse had a full bar and swimming pool. Washing machines were free to use. In the morning we climbed atop of the Aileron hill for a closer look at the sculpture and view of the surroundings. The next day we had our sights set on another fossicking area outside of gemtree. We spent 2 days there, searching for zircon's - originally having no idea what we were looking for, after one day another keen fossicker arrived and kindly showed us what we were looking for. We were close. It was tough labour, but we left with a good handful of zircons.
We headed up the road and did some more fossicking at a different part and found some red garnets! Some more gems which we were stoked about! Headed east and eventually made it to Arltunga! A town which is rich in mining history and played a pivotal part in the development of central Australia! We also happen to arrive on the hottest September day on record at 38 degrees.
Arltunga is a definite must, it has heaps of old mines to explore, old buildings from the original township, including the police station and a single jail cell. We also used this as a base to go for a day trip and explore Ruby Gap Gorge! The most remote gorge we have ever been to, but oh so worth it! The 2 hour drive out is spectacular and the gorge itself is stunning! You definitely need a 4WD with high clearance to access it, as there are some tricky parts.