The Savannah Way
There is some truly spectacular scenery along Australia’s Savannah Way where you can discover a sense of adventure! The Cairns to Broome trail is great to visit yearround and offers unique highlights like the Undara Volcanic National Park, Lawn Hill National Park (aka Boodjamulla National Park), Borroloola, Katherine Gorge and Purnululu National Park.
Cairns to Undara
Distance: 264km Driving time: 4.1 hours
To start your adventure, pick up your Britz campervan from the Cairns branch. Head out of Cairns to Undara via Atherton Tablelands, a tropical and unspoilt mountain retreat just an hour outside of Cairns. The Undara Volcanic National Park is one of Australia’s greatest geological wonders, boasting the best preserved and largest lava tubes system on earth. The Undara system of volcanoes has some 164 craters. Around 190,000 years ago, the main Undara crater, the highest and most dominant vent, produced the geological phenomenon, the Undara Lava Tubes. The tubes wind through old riverbeds for a distance of 160 km and can be accessed through the Savannah Guide Outstation at the Undara Experience.
Undara to Forsayth (Cobbold Gorge)
Distance: 185km Driving time: 2.75 hours
After spending a couple of days experiencing Undara, head to Cobbold Gorge, 55 minutes from Forsayth. In order to protect this unique environment, it is only accessible by private tour, which is well worth a book. You’ll be taken through the narrow, meandering gorge on electrically driven boats, and take some time to spot the sheer cliffs, fantastic wildlife and perhaps even a crocodile or two.
Forsayth to Normanton
Distance: 343km Driving time: 4.5 hours
The next morning, head to Normanton and travel 30kms south-west to Camp 119, Burke and Wills’ most northerly camp in their ill-fated expedition to the northern coastline of Australia from Melbourne. The wetlands between Normanton and nearby Karumba are also excellent for birdwatching, particularly just after the summer `wet season.’
Normanton to Hells Gate
Distance: 404km Driving time: 5.4 hours
A word of warning at this point – the Savannah Way from Normanton to Borroloola is unsealed so really only suitable only for 4WD vehicles. Just 50kms inside the Queensland border, Hell’s Gate Roadhouse is the gateway to the Macassan coast and provides accommodation and a campground. If you’ve got time to play with, we’d recommend a little day or two detour from Burketown to Lawn Hill National Park (which is also known as Boodjamulla National Park). As well as the spectacular scenery and wildlife, Lawn Hill also has spaces to view Aboriginal art. Adels Grove nearby has a campground, shop, restaurant and service station so it’d be a good idea to pitch up here for the night.
Hells Gate to Borroloola
Distance: 315km Driving time: 4.2 hours
Get up reasonably early and make your way down to Borroloola, a remote fishing community beside the McArthur River in the gulf region of the Northern Territory. It is famed for unique history, characters and excellent fishing; many visitors use Borroloola as a base for barramundi fishing expeditions. The town is an ideal location to stock up before exploring the gulf region.
Borroloola to Katherine via Roper Bar
Distance: 657km Driving time: 9 hours
This is a long stretch of driving so make time to visit the small community of Roper Bar, situated on the tidal pandanus-fringed Roper River, on your way down to Katherine. About 25kms downstream is the wreck of the Young Australian which was used for towing large sailing vessels carrying supplies for the Overland Telegraph Line in 1872. Katherine is a bustling trade town in the heart of the top end. Home to over 10,000 people, highlights include the Springvale Homestead, NT Rare Rocks, the Katherine Museum, Katherine School of the Air and Katherine Springs. Take a day’s rest from driving and visit nearby Katherine Gorge, one of the Territory’s most scenic natural attractions. There are 13 gorges in the system carved out of ochre sandstone and separated by rapids. The Gorge can be explored by cruise boats, canoes, fixed wing and helicopter flights, bushwalking and swimming. If you’re up for a big day of walking, hike the 66kms along the Jatbula trail to Edith Falls, cruise the Gorges on a 2, 4 or 6 hour cruise, or just have a relaxing lunch at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre.
Katherine to Timber Creek (Gregory National Park)
Distance: 286km Driving time: 3.3 hours
Located on the doorstep of Gregory National Park, Timber Creek is a major stopping point between Katherine and Kununurra on the Western Australian border. Local fish are Timber Creek’s biggest drawcard and the magnificent Gregory National Park is its backyard. Covering an area of approximately 13,000 square kms, Gregory’s awesome landscape is composed of red rimmed escarpment ranges, plunging gorges and intriguing boab trees.
Timber Creek to Kununurra
Distance: 228km Driving time: 2.75 hours
Kununurra is the eastern gateway to Western Australia’s top end. Known as the Jewel of the Kimberley, nearby Lake Argyle is a massive inland sea that spreads out over an area of 1,000 square kms and contains 12 times the water volume of Sydney Harbour.
Kununurra to Turkey Creek (Purnululu National Park)
Distance: 193km Driving time: 2 hours
Purnululu National Park, in the East Kimberley Region of Western Australia, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003, for its outstanding universal natural heritage values. 20 million years of weathering has produced the eroded sandstone towers and banded beehive structures of the Bungle Bungle Range, the geographic highlight of this National Park. There are camping facilities at Walardi or Kurrajong Camp with both sites having toilets and water. We’d suggest spending another day exploring Purnululu National Park and stretch your legs with plenty of bushwalking. For a breathtaking view of the Bungle Bungles take a scenic flight – available from nearby Hall’s Creek.
Turkey Creek to Fitzroy Crossing
Distance: 455km Driving time: 4.75 hours
On your penultimate day, follow the Great North Highway west to Fitzroy Crossing. The town is ~114 metres above sea level and is surrounded by vast flood plains of the Fitzroy River. The magnificent Geikie Gorge National Park is 18kms from the town on a sealed road – here you can get to know the abundant wildlife, go fishing, kayaking swimming or bushwalking- there’s no chance to get bored at Geikie Gorge!
Fitzroy Crossing to Broome
Distance: 396km Driving time: 4.05 hours
Broome was once the pearling capital of the world and drew its population from a range of nations whose people came on the promise of pearls and in the hope of making a fortune. Its colourful history has resulted in a multi-cultural feel. Broome is famous for Cable Beach – all 22 kilometres of it. This is undoubtedly one of the world’s most stunning beaches – a white band of sand bordering a brilliant blue ocean. At this point, you’ve reached the end of the road on this journey (end of the road – get it?! Hmmm..we’ll work on our sense of humour for our next itinerary) Don’t forget to check out all our accommodation options for this trip – and save 10% at these BIG4 Holiday Parks- make sure they know you’re a Britz customer!
- BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park, Cairns
- Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort, Cairns
- Ivanhoe Village Caravan Resort, Kununurra
- BIG4 Atherton Woodlands Tourist Park
Feel free to drop your campervan off at our Broome depot, unless of course you’re continuing your adventure with Britz.
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