Tour ID: 10040871
This is definately an 9 day adventure through some of the most remote areas of Northern Australia. What you see is so diverse, from rainforests to the vast remote areas of "nothing", a beauty in itself. Visit national parks, stay in little country towns, with charm of their own, and experience the true bush. See below for the itinerary.
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)
9 Days – 8 nights Top End – Cairns to Darwin (The Savannah Way)
DAY 1. CAIRNS TO UNDARA VIA THE ATHERTON TABLELANDS
Inclusions: Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Undara. (ensuite)
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.
DAY 2. UNDARA TO KARUMBA
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Karumba. (ensuite)
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 drive out to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria, famous for its fishing and industry ports for cattle and zinc mining. We finish the day at Karumba.
DAY 3. KARUMBA TO ADELS GROVE
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Adels Grove. (ensuite)
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.
DAY 4. ADELS GROVE
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Adels Grove. (ensuite)
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).
DAY 5. ADELS GROVE TO BORROLOOLA
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Borroloola. (ensuite)
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.
DAY 6. BORROLOOLA TO MATARANKA
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Mataranka. (ensuite)
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 Homestead where you can rejuvenate yourself in the thermal rock pools; we overnight here.
DAY 7. MATARANKA TO KAKADU
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Cooinda. (ensuite)
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. Leaving Katherine, we head to Cooinda in The Kakadu National Park our overnight stay.
DAY 8. KAKADU TO BATCHELOR
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Dinner & Overnight Accommodation at Bachelor. (ensuite)
Today you enjoy a sunrise cruise on the famous Yellow Waters, abundant with many species of birds and the mighty saltwater crocodile. Following this memorable cruise, we enjoy breakfast before heading to experience true Arnhemland with amazing sites including Nourlangie Rock and occupation sites dated in excess of 20,000 years. We explore and view unique aboriginal art & culture, where the art is inspiring, colorful and sacred, from a culture dating back more than 45,000 years and regarded as some of the oldest and finest to be found anywhere in the world recorded on rock walls and inside caves which were once occupation sites and give a fascinating insight into one of the world’s oldest and most unique cultures in this remote region.
This area is filled with spectacular scenery, pristine wetlands, billabongs, birdlife and wildlife. We continue through the Nadab floodplain to the Alligator River to Ubirr where groups of Aboriginal people camped in rock shelters around to take advantage of the enormous variety of foods available from the area. We then travel across the floodplains of the South Alligator River and further through Kakadu National Park to Bark Hut at Annaburroo where we take a short break. From here we head off to the small village of Corroboree before heading off the main road and travel through the Marrakai region crossing the Alligator River viewing Lake Bennett. We then make our way to Batchelor in the Litchfield National Park for our overnight stay.
DAY 9. BATCHELOR TO DARWIN
Inclusions: Breakfast, Morning Tea & Lunch
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 late afternoon – this concludes our memorable tour across two states and over 4,000 kilometres.
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.
• 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
• Leichardt River
• Savannah Way
• Gregory Downs
• Lawn Hill National Park
• Indari falls
• Hells Gate
• Limmen National Park
• Southern Lost City
• Roper River
• Mataranka Springs
• Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge & National Park
• Litchfield National Park
Meals are provided as stated below.
B L D (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).
MT (MT= Morning Tea).
Scenic Flight over The Lost City
9 Days / 8 Nights
7:00 AM Mon
Pick Up from your accommodation is included
This tour is not suitable for children under 14 years of age
This tour also operates in reverse.
Darwin to Cairns
See separate listing
Lake Morris, Atherton Tablelands, Undara Lava Tubes, Croydon, Chillagoe, Clohesy River, Darwin, Katherine Gorge, Litchfield National Park, Lawn Hill National Park, Croydon, Normanton, Hells Gate, Mataranka Springs, Karumba and Burketown
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