People on guided tour at Undara Lava Tubes

Where to go

Gulf Savannah & Outback

Discover Where the Outback Meets the Sea

A vast untouched region stretching from the east coast right across the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Gulf Savannah is dotted with geological wonders, historic mining towns and legendary fishing spots.

As you travel here you start to slow down, to feel the heartbeat of the region and get a glimpse of just how amazing it is

Bram Collins – Undara Experience

Kayaking in Lawn hill gorge

ON THE WAY

The Savannah Way is one of Australia’s great road trips, an epic journey across the top of the country running 3700km through three states and territories from Cairns to Broome. On the way, it passes through 15 national parks and five World Heritage Sites, across vast cattle stations and through historic mining towns. The section of the route from Cairns to Darwin is largely sealed, meaning it’s relatively easy to explore this vast region.

The Gulflander travelling through the outback

MAKE TRACKS

For a different take on the landscape, hop aboard a train. The legendary Gulflander is the train that goes “from nowhere to nowhere” on a one-of-a-kind line connecting Normanton and Croydon. The Savannahlander runs in a four-day loop from Cairns to the old goldfields town of Forsayth.

On boat in Cobbald Gorge

THE AWESOME ANCIENT

Ancient geological wonders create an extraordinary landscape. Be awed by the sheer walls of Copperfield Gorge near Einasleigh, walk through the world’s largest lava tubes at Undara or explore the rugged sandstone formations of Cobbold Gorge. Don’t miss the Riversleigh fossil deposits outside Mount Isa, which are some of the richest and most extensive in the world, dating back 15-25 million years, and the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park, home to spectacular limestone caves and galleries of Indigenous art.

Fossicking in the Tropical North Queensland Outback

GO FOR GOLD

Miners were some of the first to settle this region, flocking here in search of gold, silver, tin and lead during the 19th century. The region is also rich in gems like agate, quartz, topaz and amethyst, and there are a number of sites where you can try your hand at fossicking.

Man fishing near Karumba

GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS

This is also the place to meet genuine Outback characters. Join them for a beer in a tiny country pub or chat about the journey ahead at a remote roadhouse on the Savannah Way. They’ll be able to recommend the best fishing spots around Normanton or the best place to buy fresh prawns straight from a trawler in Karumba. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation.

Tips

  • Clear skies and few artificial lights make for some of the best stargazing in the country. From late September to early November, the incredible Morning Glory cloud formations – long straight lines of cloud – stretch for thousands of kilometres across the Gulf of Carpentaria.

  • The fishing is incredible around the Gulf Savannah, with barramundi found all over the region. Catch bountiful blue salmon, grunter and bream around Karumba, and sweetlip, coral trout, parrot fish and red emperor off Sweers and Mornington islands.

  • Don’t forget your binoculars – it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise, especially in the wet season. Some 20 wetlands across the Gulf Savannah attract thousands of migratory birds. Mutton Hole Wetland is home to brolgas, whistling ducks and sarus cranes.

Discover the Gulf Savannah

In the Gulf Savannah region you can hop aboard two of Australia’s great train journeys, discover ancient fossils, fossick for gems and meet a host of authentic Outback characters.

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What’s On

There’s a full calendar of classic country events on in the Gulf Savannah, from barra fishing competitions and rodeos to a Bushman’s Ball and Opera in the Outback.

Wandering through the grass in the outback

Getting here

  • Driving in the Gulf Savannah

    By car

    Self-drive or hire a car and journey along the Savannah Way. The route is accessible with a two-wheel drive, although four-wheel drive vehicles can venture off the grid and discover the many loop roads of the Gulf Savannah and Outback region.

  • The Gulflander crossing a bridge

    By rail

    Queensland Rail’s, Savannahlander departs Cairns weekly for Forsayth with touring options available along the itinerary. The Gulflander famously travels from nowhere to nowhere, travelling from Normanton to Croydon once a week with a return fare also available.

  • Flying over the Gulf Savannah

    By air

    REX Regional Express offers direct flights from Cairns to Normanton, Burketown, Doomadgee and Mornington Island. Charter flights are also available to Undara, Forsayth and several other locales.

  • Bus in Karumba

    By bus/coach

    Trans North Bus & Coach Service operates the passenger and light freight service from Cairns to Karumba servicing many regional towns en route. They also provide bus links for the Gulflander and Savannahlander rail services.

Stay

The perfect spots for a little R&R.

 

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