Gulf Savannah Way Darwin to Cairns Accommodated Tour 9 Days

From AUD AU$7,995.00
  • Duration: 9 Days (approx.)
  • Location: Darwin , NT
  • Product code: 10GDC9

Gulf Savannah Tours Darwin to Cairns via Lost City 9 days - via Ngukurr / Roper Bar, Lost City, (optional heli flight)  Caranbirini Nature Reserve, Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, Hells Gate, Borroloola, Riversleigh Megafauna Fossil Fields, Lawn Hill National Park, (now Boodjamulla National Park), Adel’s Grove, Gregory Downs, Bourke & Wills Last Camp 119, Normanton, Gulflander & Savannah Lander Railways, Karumba, Gulf Carpentaria sunset cruise, Undarra Lava Tubes, Millaa Millaa Falls to Cairns.


Gulf Savannah Way Darwin to Cairns tour 9 days …

Day 1 – Depart Darwin 8 am via Stuart Highway to Pine Creek (gold and railway history –  and great coffee and cakes at the Railway Cafe) then Katherine, NTs 3rd largest town. On to Mataranka for the Elsey’s history of “We of the Never Never” fame and optional dip in the nearby hot springs. Overnight Mataranka  LD

Day 2 – We Depart the highway for Roper Bar and Ngukurr community and take a helicopter flight to visit the “Ruined City”, a vast sandstone rock formation, with guidance from traditional owners sharing the significance of this special place – also known as Baroonja. Enjoy a look around Roper Bar on the banks of the Roper River and the border of Arnhem Land. Connect with the local indigenous culture and people, and the more recent steamboat history (supplying the building of the Overland Telegraph Line in the 1860s & 70s) and popular fishing destination. It was also a major cattle droving route from the grasslands to Queensland and southern markets and includes some of the Durack’s massive cattle drive to the Kimberley. 

We head to the Limmen National Park for a walk and optional swim at scenic Butterfly Falls – and a morning cuppa.  Its then on to the “Southern Lost City” for a 4-6 km walk among these stunning giant columns of sandstone. Enjoy lunch here  before heading further south to overnight at Lorella Springs Wilderness Park  BLD

Day 3Lorella Springs is a huge 4,000-square kilometre (one-million acre) Outback Australia cattle station surrounded by the Limmen National Park, Aboriginal land, and many kilometres of pristine Northern Territory Gulf of Carpentaria coastline, rivers and waterways. It has numerous beautiful rock pools and thermal pools for swimming and we check out Flying Fox swamp and the latest popular spot, Nannys Pool. Enjoy a relaxing adventure day here with the birdlife before overnight. BLD

Day 4 – We continue south through the Limmen National Park to arrive at the township of Borroloola for supplies. At Borroloola we view the museum and history of this once wild frontier town, now a popular fishing destination. The population is around 800 (about 200 whites and 600 Aboriginal), with Aborigines living in camps around the town. Borroloola has some very different Aboriginal cultures ie the Yanyuwa and Mara are ‘saltwater people’ from the nearby islands while the Kurdanji and Karawa people are ‘mainland people’.The town is also the main support town for the McArthur River mine – one of the world’s largest zinc, lead and silver mines, situated about 70 kilometres southwest of Borroloola. We head toward the Gulf and visit King Ash Bay on the MacArthur River –  a top spot to experience the atmosphere of the Gulf and a shady lunch place by the river. Time permitting and passengers keen, we visit the Lost City near Cape Crawford, (optional heli flight) and the Caranbirini Nature Reserve for more sandstone pillars.The Lost City can be explored by helicopter from base at the Heartbreak Hotel at Cape Crawford, with an amazing 15 or optional 30 minute flight over these ancient sandstone pillars, formed when all this area was underwater. Overnight at Boroloola BLD

Day 5 – Today we head east over several river crossings, passing the Redbank (copper) Mine via Westmoreland (uranium deposits) and enter Queensland at Hells Gate, where police were stationed to provide escorts for settlers to the escarpments of Hell’s Gate, beyond which the Aboriginals were considered fierce. Hells Gate is the routes most western settlement in Queensland and now is a popular stopover with a grassy oasis and refreshments.

We travel through forest and river crossings to the large Aboriginal community of Doomadgee, then south to Gregory Downs, our base to explore Adel’s Grove which was originally gazetted in 1904 as a Miners Homestead Lease. In 1920 Albert de Lestang took up the property as an experimental Botanical Garden (hence the name “Adel” arose from Albert’s initials). Albert planted many species of trees and shrubs and supplied the Botanical Gardens of the world with the seeds produced by his nursery. This is adjacent Lawn Hill National Park (now Boodjamulla National Park) where we walk, canoe or swim in the beautiful lagoon and river with waterfalls.

Day 6 – Today we take a tour to visit the amazing Riversleigh Megafauna Fossil Fields and immerse in this unique landscape. Alternatively enjoy a relaxing day of walks and swims – your choice. Overnight Gregory Downs BLD

Day 7 – We travel to Burke & Wills last camp 119, an historic site with a fascinating history and stories to tell. Enjoy a break in the frontier town of Burketown, named after Burke of the Burke and Wills Expedition of 1860 who reached the gulf near here in February 1861. Burketown was established in 1865 to service new pastoral holdings established in the region.

We reach the Leichardt River, named after Ludwig Leichardt who walked this country in 1845. We check out the Leichardt Falls then travel across the “Plains of Promise” named when H M Brig Beagle (the famous ship which had carried Charles Darwin on his voyage) visited here in 1841. On to Normanton, and view the old Burns Philp store, and the 1870 railway history from the goldrush days, plus the Purple Pub. Arriving  Karumba on the edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria, we enjoy a sunset river cruise. Karumba was the base of the gulf Barramundi and prawning industry and home to many salt water crocodiles. Overnight Karumba BL – Dinner at own expense in local restaurant – great fresh fish and prawns here !

Day 8 – We follow the Gulflander Railway line via the Gulf Development Road through Croydon which in goldrush days had 7000 people and 122 pubs.Travel via  Georgetown and the multi award winning, Terrestrial – the Ted Elliott Mineral Collection, the largest minerals collection in the world. Overnight Georgetown BLD

Day 9Undarra Lava Tubes tour. The Undara Lava Tubes were formed some 190,000 years ago when a major volcano erupted, its molten lava flowing down a dry river bed. As the top layer quickly cooled and crusted, the fiery magma below continued to flow through the tubes taking it further and further from the volcano. The Undara tubes are the world’s longest lava flow.

The word Undara means ‘a long way’ in the Aboriginal language. One of the lava flows from Undara extends over 160 kilometres (or 100 miles). This makes it one of the longest lava flows from a single volcano on our planet in modern geological time. The original tube formed by the flow extended for approximately 100kilometres, and several sections are accessible. After our 2 hour tour and tasty lunch, we travel via the Atherton Tablelands visiting the Millaa Millaa Falls on our route to Cairns for a celebration dinner together. BLD Accommodation own arrangements.