Landscapes | Fishing | Wildlife
- Savannahlander & Gulflander
- Gem Fossicking
- Cobbold Gorge & Undara
- Ted Elliot Mineral Collection
The Gulf Savannah’s wildly dramatic landscape is steeped in history and culture, and it’s more accessible than you imagine. A vast expanse of tree studded grasslands, meandering rivers and waterfalls merging with wetlands, the ‘Last Frontier’ covers 186,000 square kilometres and, best of all, is inviting and accessible year round. Made up of the six shires of Etheridge, Croydon, Carpentaria, Burke, Mornington and Doomadgee, the region’s main industries are grazing, fishing, mining and tourism.
The Savannah Way
A themed adventure drive from Cairns to Broome through Katherine. The route traverses some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery including four World Heritage-listed areas and over 15 National Parks and covers almost 3700km. All in all, it’s an excellent length for a 14 day adventure across Northern Australia!
People tend to think the roads of the Gulf are only for seasoned adventurers, but this is no longer the case with the road sealed from Cairns to Karumba. 4WDs, motorhomes, caravans and the family car all travel far and well on the highways here. The best time to visit is year round – the two seasons of the Wet and the Dry have their unique aspects and the ‘green’ season of rains is surprisingly comfortable, uncrowded and has abundant wildlife and waterways. It’s always advisable to check all road conditions and acquire current reports before undertaking your journey.
At Undara Volcanic National Park, stop and marvel at the 160km lava tube system – the world’s longest lava flow from a single volcano. Savannah Guides, a network of professionals across the Top End, lead tours into the caves here. At Undara Experience, guests have the choice of camping or staying in the Lava Lodge’s authentic turn-of-the-century restored railway carriages. A 1960 rail motor, the Savannahlander train, comes from Cairns to Forsayth once a week and can be combined with the Undara tour. Another famous train, the Gulflander, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year and tracks from Croydon to Normanton each week.
At Mt Surprise Gems, try sieving and learn how faceting is done. Georgetown (with a caravan park, motel, hotel and museum) features the TerrEstrial Centre; home to a collection of over 4,500 minerals, gemstones and fossils. Cobbold Gorge is a spectacular oasis and wildlife habitat accessible by guided tours. Croydon was famous for its gold rush, but the port for the gold was Normanton which is now the major service centre in the Gulf Savannah. Spend time absorbing the history and scenery here and do go fishing!
Karumba, at the Norman rivermouth, is the centre of prawning and barramundi – don’t miss the Barramundi Discovery Centre here or the spectacular sunsets at Karumba Point. Beyond Karumba and Normanton lies Burketown, Gregory, and Boodjamulla National Park’s spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge and the World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields.
BP Roadhouse & Tourist Park & Motel
A clean & green Tourist park with a range of different accommodation choices including powered sites, campsites, shared facility cabins or ensuite motel. The caravan park offers an 11mtr swimming pool & spa, laundry facilities, two sets of amenities & bbq areas. The cafe/restaurant provides meals and take-aways and is BYO. BP fuel is available and we accept BP and all major credit cards.
Mt Surprise Gems / The Gem Den
Mount Surprise is Far North Queensland's only fossicking information hub. Take a choice of tours or go alone and hire or buy your own equipment. See how gems are cut and set. There is plenty of information available covering the six gem and gold fossicking areas and the possibility of finding topaz, aquamarine, quartz, peridot, moonstone, agate, fluorite and gold is enormous.
Just what is the Undara Experience? Set in the Gulf Savannah country, Undara is as ancient and alluring as the continent itself, the Undara Lava Tubes stand as silent sentinels to our pre-history. Here you can walk in the path of a volcano and sleep cocooned in an antique railway carriage as your dreams connect you with the essence of this timeless land. It's a place where you can explore natural geological wonders, enjoy the comforts and hospitality of a unique outback setting and where the local wildlife are as abundant as they are at home in their surroundings. In short, Undara needs to be experienced!
Cobbold Gorge Accommodation & Tours
Cobbold Gorge is unique, hidden away within the rugged sandstone formations of North Queensland. This gorge is extremely narrow, closing to a mere two meters wide in places, with spectacular 30 meter cliffs on either side. The overall length of the gorge is about six kilometres and consists of a series of water-holes and rock falls, however only the last 500 meters is accessible by flat bottom boat.
For more information visit www.savannahway.com.au