I stayed in this place for a couple of months while working in Tennant Creek, and I'm writing this on my last night here. I have a small 'slide-on' caravan that sits on the back of my ute, so I can make no comment on the on-site cabins. However, the place as a whole is certainly well kept, the amenities are clean and in a pretty good state of repair, and someone long ago had the foresight to plant plenty of trees, many of them African Mahogany, that provide good shade.
The sites are well spaced, so you are not jammed up against your neighbours. There is a pool, but I was here during the colder months so didn't use it. However, it's sizable, it's clean and it looks very inviting. The camp shop is well stocked, and the outdoor bar is quiet but comfortable. Staff are friendly and helpful. I became very unwell (not related to conditions at the campsite!), and staff dropped everything and ran me immediately up to the town's excellent hospital.
Most people don't stay long in Tennant Creek, which is a pity. True, it doesn't have a major geographic drawcard like Uluru or the Olgas, but there is interesting country around, and it's great to drive out an hour or two before sunset and watch the rocks and the hills lit up and reddened by the setting sun. The Mary Anne Dam, just north of town, is a great place to cool off in the summer.
People are sometimes put off by the appearance of Tennant Creek. A lot of the businesses have shutters on their frontages, and houses often have high fences, which can make a place look a bit foreboding. There are usually a lot of the local Waramungu people hanging around in the main street and elsewhere, which some people find threatening. However, I've been in town for about five months all up (two of them in the Outback Caravan Park), and I've had nothing but reasonable and good interactions with the Waramungu people. You can learn a lot about their culture if you visit the cultural centre, Nynka Nyunyu. It's well worth a visit, but it's not open on weekends.
This region, the Barkly Region, is an interesting place. Tennant Creek is its main town and contains about half its inhabitants. And, by the way, Tennant Creek is the largest town in Australia that has an Aboriginal majority. The Barkly is the size of Great Britain, which has about 64 million people, but the Barkly only has about 7,000. And among those 7,000 people, there are ten different Aboriginal languages spoken.
In the evenings, there is an older bloke who lights up a campfire, makes billy tea and cooks damper or kangaroo tails or witchety grubs. He tells stories about the area and entertains the visitors. All for five bucks a head. He also works around the Caravan Park, keeping it tidy, and it's well worth having a word with him, especially if you want to look for gold in the hills around town. He knows the spots, and he doesn't mind telling you.
I think the Outback Caravan Park is a fine place to stay. It's just far enough from the main street to keep the noise down, it's spacious and shady, and it's got all the things you'd normally expect. And Tennant Creek, though it's hardly the centre of the universe, is well worth staying for a few days rather than just as a place to break a journey. Hope you enjoy it, I've certainly found it interesting.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This beautifully presented park was established in 1981, and now boasts glorious shady trees with spacious drive-through sites, a choice of grassed camping areas and extensive amenities. A Pool provides welcome relief in the middle of the Territory's Golden Heart. Our cheerful team and commitment to improvements, service and the environment now offers a range of 4 Green Star facilities. Choose from our broad range of accommodation options and spend a few days enjoying the local attractions, relax in our licensed garden cafe and enjoy the camp fire entertainment with Jimmy Hooker's humorous bush poetry and local bush tucker tasting during the High Season only. All needs are provided for, from powered and unpowered shaded and grassy camping and long drive through caravan sites to air-conditioned En-suite cabins with full kitchen facilities, wireless internet, Laundromat, camp kitchen, dump point, fuel, Mini-mart and gas. Free 30min wifi when you check in! ... more less