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Tour ID: 10040871

Our Top End Explorer is a fantastic way to experience a memorable journey along the "Savannah Way" from Cairns to Darwin. This tour also operates in reverse from Darwin to Cairns (see separate listing)

8 Days – 7 nights Top End – Cairns to Darwin (The Savannah Way)

Itinerary:

DAY 1
Departing your accommodation, we start our journey by ascending the Lamb Range above Cairns with amazing views over the city and beyond. We arrive at Copperlode Dam and Lake Morris, an extremely picturesque lake surrounded by rainforest-covered mountains; this is Cairns water supply catchment. Our exclusive permit allows us to continue beyond this point and 4WD through rainforest and river crossings. On our journey, we see spectacular plant life in this area including rare King Ferns, one of our earliest vascular plant forms dating back 325 million years. Away from the crowds and in a World Heritage Rainforest area, we visit the Clohesy Boardwalk to view amazing plant life including giant Strangler Fig Trees. Venturing on to the Tablelands, we wind through dairy country to visit Millstream Falls, we take a lunch stop and visit Ravenshoe (pronounced Ravens-hoe) township. West to Mount Garnet sees us traverse cattle and outback countryside on our way to the infamous Undara Lava Tubes for a guided tour of these spectacular tubes. We overnight at Undara (ensuit facilities).
(MT, L, D)

DAY 2
Day two sees us travel across the outback, past Mount Surprise and into Georgetown for morning tea. After an optional stop to view the mineral museum, we continue west to Croydon and enjoy lunch at Lake Belmore, Croydon’s water supply. Our next destination is Normanton on the Norman River. Normanton is home to crocodile statue Krys - Krys was the largest crocodile ever shot in Australia at 8.63m. We take an afternoon tour out to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria, famous for its fishing and industry ports for cattle and zinc mining.
Overnight: Karumba
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 3
After a morning look around the old train station, we keep heading west through the huge cattle stations of the Gulf Savannah region and cross the Leichardt River into Burketown. A tiny battler’s town, Burketown had a population of 173 in the 2006 census! The town is situated 30km inland from the Gulf of Carpentaria and named after explorer Robert O’Hara Burke of ‘Burke and Wills’ fame. We take a drive out to the vast salt flats before detouring off the main Savannah Way down into Gregory Downs for lunch by the river. After lunch, we turn past the Century Zinc Mine and to Adels Grove, adjacent to Lawn Hill National Park. Here, we relax by the lily-covered Lawn Hill Creek for the afternoon; the friendly oasis that is Adels Grove is our base for the next two nights (shared facilities).
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 4
After a late breakfast, we take the short drive to Lawn Hill National Park and have the option of either hiring a canoe to paddle along the cliffs of Lawn Hill Gorge to Indarri falls or bush-walking one of the many tracks around the National Park, or a mixture of both! Returning to Adels Grove for lunch, we have the afternoon to relax by the water with a drink or book in hand. There is also a morning option of a guided tour to the World Heritage Riversleigh fossil fields (own expense).
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 5
Leaving Adels Grove, we travel north up through the gates and rivers of Lawn Hill Station. Back onto the main Savannah Way, we bypass Domadgee and cross through Hells Gate to the eerie rock formations found here. In the late 1800s, police stationed at nearby Corinda provided regular escorts for settlers as far as the rocky escarpments of Hell's Gate, refusing to accompany the travelers past this point because of the fierceness of Aboriginals to the area. We leave Queensland and cross the border into the Northern Territory. You’ll appreciate the vastness of the area as we stop ‘somewhere in the unknown’ for lunch before journeying to Borroloola, a small mining and fishing township on the McArthur River, 50km from the Gulf of Carpentaria. Here, we’ll spend the night (private facilities).
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 6
It’s luxury this morning with ten minutes of sealed road before leaving the bitumen to enter Limmen National Park where we visit the phenomenal rock formations of the Southern Lost City. The erosion of the sandstone escarpment has led to the formation of numerous, large sandstone spires and rounded domes giving it the name ‘lost city’. We cross the Limmen Bite, Cox and Towns Rivers and other numerous wet and dry riverbeds before arriving on the Roper River. We continue through to the old Roper Bar Police Station and Lock Up; this was once where the only crossing was found ‘the Bar’. We head west from this point toward the Stuart Highway and to Mataranka where you can rejuvenate yourself in the thermal rock pools; we overnight here (private facilities).
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 7
After an early start, we continue north with our first stop being Nitmiluk National Park where we take a cruise down the beautiful and rocky, Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge). Nitmiluk is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘cicada dreaming’. From here it’s onto Edith Falls and time for a swim before lunch. The afternoon’s drive takes us through Pine Creek where we look over the gold mine and troubled north-south railway. Venturing further to Adelaide River, we take time to wander through the World War 2 Cemetery and Museum. Adelaide River was home to around 30,000 soldiers during the Second World War and many of those lost during the Japanese bombing of Darwin are buried here. A short drive to Bachelor finds our overnight accommodation - Rum Jungle/Batchelor (private facilities).
(B, MT, L, D)

DAY 8
Our final day on tour and we journey through Litchfield National Park with the first stops being Wangi and Florence Falls for morning tea. Travelling further into the park, we head to Tolmer Falls where we have lunch. The afternoon sees us tour through Tumbling Waters (named after the rapids where gold was discovered) and on to Berry Springs (crystal clear warm springs) before re-joining the highway. We pass through the towns of Noonamah and Palmerston before arriving into Darwin city after a memorable tour across two states and over 4000 kilometres.
(B, MT, L)

Departs: Cairns 0700
Returns: Darwin late afternoon

Please remember that Single Travellers must purchase the optional extra "single supplement" if you prefer your own private room, otherwise you may be roomed with another single traveller.

Seasonal weather conditions and operational requirements may cause a variation in the tour itinerary. The operator reserves the right to subsitute or modify if required Please read our terms and conditions carefully. Departure and Return times are approximate. Tour is not suitable for infants.

More Info

Tour Details

  • Included in price:

    What’s included:
    • Transfers – from and to your accommodation.
    • Interpretation – friendly, knowledgeable guides explain our unique flora and fauna.
    • Personalised – small group tour.
    • Modern 4WD luxury vehicle.
    • All meals as stated in the itinerary.
    • Accommodation as stated in the itinerary.
    • National Park and Site Fees.
    • Attractions as stated in the itinerary.
    • Atherton Tablelands
    • Mount Garnet
    • Undara Lava Tubes
    • Mount Surprise
    • Georgetown
    • Croydon
    • Karumba
    • Normanton
    • Leichardt River
    • Burketown
    • Savannah Way
    • Gregory Downs
    • Lawn Hill National Park
    • Indari falls
    • Hells Gate
    • Borroloola
    • Limmen National Park
    • Southern Lost City
    • Roper River
    • Mataranka Springs
    • Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge & National Park
    • Palmerston
    • Batchelor
    • Litchfield National Park
    • Darwin

    Meals are provided as stated below.
    B L D (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).
    MT (MT= Morning Tea).

  • Available for purchase/hire:

    Scenic Flight over The Lost City

  • Duration:

    8 Days / 7 Nights

  • Departure:

    7:00 AM Mon

  • Departure points:

    Darwin and Darwin Harbour

  • Pickup/departure instructions:

    Pick Up from your accommodation is included

  • Fitness level required:

    Not specified

  • Child policies:

    This tour is not suitable for children under 14 years of age

  • Additional Information:

    This tour also operates in reverse.
    Darwin to Cairns
    See separate listing

  • Destinations:

    Darwin, Lake Morris, Atherton Tablelands, Undara Lava Tubes, Croydon, Chillagoe, Darwin Harbour, Katherine Gorge, Litchfield National Park, Clohesy River, Lawn Hill National Park, Croydon, Normanton, Hells Gate, Mataranka Springs, Karumba and Burketown

Optional Extras

  • Single Supplement

Booking dates