Outback & Gulf Savannah - Things To Do

Cairns Activities

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Cairns Activities

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The Outback & Gulf Savannah - Tropical North Queensland Holiday Destination

The Gulf Savannah stretches from the border of the Northern Territory east to the Great Dividing Range and covers an area of around 186,000 square kilometres. This spectacular region in north Queensland takes you away from the ocean and to wide open spaces of the outback, bushland, historic frontier towns and range of different activities to keep you on the move.

Here you will find World Heritage fossil fields, rolling grasslands, ancient aboriginal rock art, historic mining centres, gem fossicking centres and some of the best fishing Australia has to offer.

The area can also be accessed via normal cars unlike further north so you can take your time and drive through this beautiful and diverse region.

Outback & Gulf Savannah Accommodation

There are plenty of small historic country towns in this region that offer accommodation. You may not find any 5 star luxury resorts but there are plenty of options from kitsch motels, farm stays, friendly bed and breakfasts, backpacker hostels, camp sites and caravan parks. There's a range of options and we can promise you'll thoroughly enjoy the best in country hospitality.

Things to Do & Places to Visit in The Outback & Gulf Savannah

Mount MulliganThere's an endless list of things you can do in the Gulf Savannah region. Fishing, gem fossicking, exploring bushland, four wheel driving, educational attractions, wandering through historic towns, visiting lava tubes and so much more. The Savannahlander is a train service and a brilliant way to explore this region as it takes you from coastal Cairns and winds through the Kuranda Range and then on through the savannah to the outback. It's a wonderful way to see the region as you'll get to hop on and off at interesting places like the Chillagoe Caves, Cobbold Gorge and the Undara Lava Tubes. This train may not be the fastest in the land but the slow pace it travels lets you gaze in wonderment at the ever changing landscapes.


Chillagoe is an old mining town which was built back in the 1870's at the start of the mining boom and stayed buzzing until around the 1920's. There's a array of sights to see here including the big smelter that sits in the middle of the old town. You can learn about the region's mining history in the museum, wander through the old cemetery and walk through the old township. There's also some gorgeous outback to explore as you take a walk through the Chillagoe-Montana National Park. In the national park you can join a tour to discover the amazing limestone caves which have a series of stalactite and stalagmite formations. Follow a track and arrive at Balancing Rock formation where you will get to see some ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Chillagoe Caves and Outback Day Tour

Chillagoe Caves and Outback Day Tour

Book Chillagoe Caves and Outback Day TourWith this great value 4WD tour from Cairns to the wonderful Chillagoe Caves, you'll be amazed by the limestone towers and fossillised remains we'll encounter along the way, with natural formations that have to be seen to be believed! Featuring an entertaining off-road adventure that will have you seeing the likes of Emus, Kangaroos, Frill Necked Lizards and more along the way, you'll visit such regional highlights as the Mareeba Wetlands (where we'll enjoy morning tea and a cruise).


Undara National Park and Lava Tubes

Undara Lava CavesUndara Volcanic National Park is one of Australia's most spectacular geological wonders and is located about 300km from Cairns. The National Park sits on the slopes of the McBride Plateau and is home to one of the largest lava tube cave systems which was formed around 190,000 years ago when a volcano erupted. On eruption its molten lava flowed down a dry river bed and cooled to create what we know today as the Undara Lave Tubes.

When we say this tube is long, we mean it as it stretches over 160 kilometres. There are wonderful guided tours and talks that take you through the caves so you can gain the best insight into these marvels. There's also several trails that take you through bush, over streams, past wildlife like the endangered red goshawk and then you can stop for a picnic along the way. 

Gobbold Gorge

Gobbold Gorge is a wonderful natural oasis hidden in the outback. The Gorge was found years ago on a family farm and can only be viewed by joining up to a private tour. You'll be pleased that you have when you get to understand more about this interesting and unique geological landform. Keep an eye out for crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbank and freshwater turtles splashing about. There's accommodation available to hire here and you can cook over a campfire or enjoy the restaurant and bar.

Croydon & Normanton

Croydon was once a bustling goldmining town which catered to the people who mined its 5000 mines with 30 pubs. There's lots to see as you walk through through this historic township including a jail, school, courthouse and of course a pub. You can also have a look at the The Oldest Store in OZ, miners cottages and an old Chinese Temple. To your north-west is Croydon's port down, Normanton. It's still a bustling city and interestingly enough all the old buildings are painted in vibrant, bright colours. Make sure you stop for a cold brew at the aptly named Purple Pub and then take a look at the Big Barramundi and the Big Crocodile which was built to replicate an 8 metre saltwater croc found in the region.


There's a vast array of winding rivers and estuaries in the region which are a perfect place for a spot of supreme fishing. In fact, this area is considered some of the best you'll find in Australia. The Albert River is known to be a hunting ground for huge Barramundi and Black Jew Fish and each year keen fisherman come to Albert, Nicholson and Leichardt rivers to compete in the "World Barramundi Fishing Championship". There's not only fish but also some of the most delicious Mud Crabs you'll ever find so make sure you drop in a crab pot or two.

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    Getting to the The Outback & Gulf Savannah

    There's really only a few ways to really enjoy the Gulf Savannah and Outback and that's by car, coach tour or on the Savannahlander. The beauty of this region is that you don't need a 4WD for this area you can just hire a normal car and drive from town to town, historic sight to national park and go at your own pace. There are a number of bus tours that are informational and whilst they might not give you the freedom of driving your own car they also let you relax and enjoy the sights. As we mentioned earlier the Savannahlander is a great way to visit the country as you'll chugg along in this older train stopping off at all the sights.

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