A Detours and Diversions piece on the UFO capital of Australia, Wycliffe Well in the Nothern Territory

Look, up in the sky . . .
Wycliffe Wells, NT


The cynical among us may question why, if super-intelligent beings from another planet were to come to earth in order to check out what humans are up to, they’d choose a tiny roadhouse in the middle of the desert as their main point of reference. Perhaps try a big city, fellas; you’ll probably get a much better idea of things. Watch all the films – those aliens have got the right idea. Smash a few major icons, pulverise a couple of famous suburbs – we’ll soon know who’s boss.

However, even the most ardent non-believer would have to admit that, over the years, a disturbingly high amount of UFO sightings have been reported from one little Northern Territory outpost on the Stuart Highway. Whether this is due to people in the middle of nowhere tending to go a little stir crazy or the fact that pretty much the only thing to do out this way is drink copious amounts of alcohol is unclear. There has to be some explanation, however – UFO nuts have rated Wycliffe Well as the fifth biggest hotspot in the world.

To say that the owner of the local roadhouse has leapt on this gimmick with enthusiasm is a categorical understatement. Lew Farkas has turned his modest establishment into a hilariously garish holiday park.

Just in case you weren’t aware that there might be a bit of extraterrestrial activity, Farkas has plastered his property with alien paraphernalia. The walls are covered in UFO, planet and night sky murals, and there are big plastic green men all over the place. There’s a decidedly manmade looking “spaceship” on what passes for a lawn, and cautionary road signs warn that potential UFO landings might present a slight hazard. Whether it’s genuinely where aliens are planning to take over the world from or a stroke of marketing genius, if you’re taking on that long, lonely trip up the middle of Australia, Wycliffe Well’s flying saucer shrine provides a welcome source of light relief.

Wycliffe Well is 375km north of Alice Springs and 135km south of Tennant Creek on the Stuart Highway in Central Australia. If for some reason you’d like to spend a bit of time chilling out in the virtually attraction-free holiday park, you can book on 1800 222 195, (08) 8964 1966

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