Gulf Savannah Tours Darwin to Cairns via Lost City 14 days – via Ngukurr / Roper Bar, Pungalina – Seven Emu Sanctuary, Cape Crawford, 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), Cruise Lawn Hill Gorge, Adel’s Grove (2 nights), Bourke & Wills Last Camp 119, Normanton, Gulflander & Savannah Lander Railways, Karumba, Gulf Carpentaria sunset cruise, Cobbold Gorge and gorge cruise, Undarra Lava Tubes to Cairns.
CAMPING OR ACCOMMODATED OR COMBINATION – SELECT ACCOMMODATION AS EXTRAS WHEN BOOKING
Gulf Savannah Way Darwin to Cairns tour 14 days …
Day 1 – Meet us in Darwin and join your fellow travellers at 6 pm for an introduction and drinks at our hotel. Enjoy a delicious meal together getting to know your crew and travelling companions.
Day 2 – Depart Darwin 8am 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. We then depart the highway for Roper Bar and Ngukurr community for overnight BLD
Day 3 – Today we 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. After an informative boat cruise on the river, we enjoy another night at Ngukurr community BLD
Day 4 – Today 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 5 – Lorella 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 6 – 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 7 – We now head east to Pungalina-Seven Emu Station. Seven Emu Station has partnered with a neighbouring property to create the first private nature reserve in the Gulf of Carpentaria, called the Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary. In a landmark partnership between a not-for-profit conservation organisation and an Indigenous landholder, Frank Shadforth has subleased 110,000 hectares of Seven Emu – almost half the area of the pastoral lease – to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC). The station’s cattle are kept out of this conservation zone.
Note that Seven Emu Sanctuary has limited access and may not
be available – alternative nearby will be substituted if unavailable.
The whole sanctuary comprises an unbroken stretch of 305,000 hectares from the sandstone uplands to the coastal waters of the Gulf. It protects a suite of habitats along an important ecological gradient in one of the highest-priority regions in Australia, as well as delivering significant socio-economic benefits for Indigenous communities.
We tour some of the highlights of this property including the in the stockmen’s camp sites overlooking the stunning Robinson River. These authentic rustic camps are made by stockmen as they have for most of their lives. With bough sheds for shelter, open fires and a “donkey” to heat your shower, your camp will be the real deal. From the cliff face – with a sweeping view of the Robinson valley, watch the bull sharks hunting schools of salmon … crocodiles swimming up and down on the hunt …and watch the eagles and jabirus flying below you! Seek out the secretive Purple-crowned Fairy Wrens, Azure Kingfishers and wading birds.
We travel 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, and nearby Aboriginal rock art and caves.Overnight Hells Gate BLD
Day 8 – We travel through forest and river crossings to the large Aboriginal community of Doomadgee, then south to Adel’s Grove for 2 nights. It 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 9 – 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 Adels Grove BLD
Day 10 – Departing Adels Grove we travel via Gregory Downs 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 11 – 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 Cobbold Gorge on Robin Hood Cattle station BLD
Day 12 – Cobbold Gorge is unique, hidden away within the rugged sandstone formations of North Queensland. This gorge is extremely narrow, closing to only two metres in places, with spectacular 30 metre cliffs on either side. The overall length of the gorge is about six kilometres and includes a series of water-holes and rock falls, with the the last 500 meters is accessible by flat bottom boat. Great walks, swimming and relaxing or optional canoeing. Overnight Cobbold Gorge on Robin Hood Cattle station. BLD
Day 13 – Undarra 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 to Cairns for a celebration dinner together at our Cairns Hotel. BLD
Day 14 – After a good nights sleep and an easy breakfast, we can transfer your to airport or other hotels if staying on in Cairns. Tour completes 10am. Or join our Cape York & Thursday Island Adventure
14 days Accommodated or Camping or combination available
CAMPING OR ACCOMMODATED OR COMBINATION – SELECT ACCOMMODATION AS EXTRAS WHEN BOOKING