The Central Desert region has an enormous amount of tourism development potential. Visitors to the region want to experience life in the Territory and are keen to learn and experience the rich art, culture, landscape and history of the region.
The Tanami Road, Plenty and Stuart Highways offer spectacular landscapes and many tourists travel through the region every year. Our roads are the gateways to a variety of tourism destinations such as the MacDonnell Ranges (including the Red Centre Way), the Kimberley and Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park.
Tourism development depends largely on the availability of tourism infrastructure, places of interest, and tourism experiences along the way. The region offers an abundance of these experiences and the Council is keen to find ways to develop the tourism potential of the region in partnership with local communities, pastoralists, roadhouses and industries.
Part of the Outback Way, the Plenty Highway is a 498 kilometre outback mostly unsealed road in the Northern Territory between the Stuart Highway and north-western Queensland. The highway passes through the community of Atitjere before heading to the Queensland border. Along the highway are a variety of attractions including the fossicking at Gemtree, the Binns Track and the Harts Ranges. A good introduction to the attractions of the Plenty Highway can be found the Outback Travel Australia website (external site).
- The Outback Way - Australia's Longest Short Cut
- Gemtree Carvan Park and Gem Stone Fossicking
- Harts Range Amateur Race Course
East MacDonnell Ranges
There are a number of beautiful natural attractions within the Council region including Trephina Gorge Nature Park (pictured) and Arltunga Historical Reserve. For more information regarding these attractions please see the NTG's parks website https://nt.gov.au/leisure/parks-reserves/find-a-park-to-visit (external site).
The Central Desert has a thriving art industry with artists drawn from all corners of the region. The Warlukurlangu Artists Association, located in Yuendumu, is one such business that has been operating successfully since 1986.
It is a not for profit organisation and has more than 600 members, all of whom are Aboriginal artists. The art centre is a popular enterprise activity, and provides social, cultural and economic rewards for artists and their families.
Warlukurlangu is a cooperative and provides members with materials to produce their art. The income from sales is shared between the artist and the Warlukurlangu Art Centre. The art centre’s share pays for business operations, special projects such as bush trips where artists and family members go out to visit their country (Jukurrpa sites) up to 300kms away. Warlukurlangu has also started its own community development initiatives and contributes funds to local projects such as the dog program.
Warlukurlangu has grown since it began in 1986 when artists worked at the Adult Education Building. In 1987 the art centre moved to a humble one-bedroom house west of the current Warlukurlangu art centre, and in 1991 the artists moved to the current building which was renovated in 2005. The centre is described as the social and cultural ‘hub’ of the community.
The Akngerrekenhe Art Centre in Harts Range has been operating for nine years. It is a fledging arts centre that caters to a tourist market made up of amateur mining prospectors and fossickers, and people travelling through the Plenty Highway on their way to Alice Springs and western Queensland. The artists are from the region and have recently begun holding workshops in different art mediums to develop a range of art techniques.
The Akngerrekenhe Art Centre gallery has recently been renovated and the centre will be expanded to become a training venue where people will learn about different art mediums and techniques, retail and display skills. The Akngerrekenhe Art Centre is a member of DesArt.
The Warnayaka Art Centre in Lajamanu has worked with a number of important and widely respect artists over many years. The Centre has been closed for sometime but has recently re-opened and celebrated the incorporation of the Warnayaka Art and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation.
The Art Centre focus is on the maintenance and transference of culture. This is achieved through close liaison between artists, elders, educational institutions and other agencies in Lajamanu.