People on guided tour at Undara Lava Tubes

Where to go

Gulf Savannah & Outback

Discover Where the Outback Meets the Sea

A vast untouched region stretching from the east coast right across the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Gulf Savannah is dotted with geological wonders, historic mining towns and legendary fishing spots.

As you travel here you start to slow down, to feel the heartbeat of the region and get a glimpse of just how amazing it is

Bram Collins – Undara Experience

Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla Pational Park


The Savannah Way is one of Australia’s great road trips, an epic journey across the top of the country running 3700km through three states and territories from Cairns to Broome. On the way, it passes through 15 National Parks and five World Heritage Sites, across vast cattle stations and through historic mining towns. The section of the route from Cairns to Darwin is largely sealed, meaning it’s relatively easy to explore this vast region.

The Savannah Way

savannahlander train


For a different take on the landscape, hop aboard a train. The legendary Gulflander is the train that goes “from nowhere to nowhere” on a one-of-a-kind line connecting Normanton and Croydon. The Savannahlander runs in a four-day loop from Cairns to the old goldfields town of Forsayth.

Train experiences


Ancient geological wonders create an extraordinary landscape. Be awed by the sheer walls of Copperfield Gorge near Einasleigh, walk through the world’s largest lava tubes at Undara or explore the rugged sandstone formations of Cobbold Gorge. Don’t miss the Riversleigh fossil deposits outside Mount Isa, which are some of the richest and most extensive in the world, dating back 15-25 million years, and the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park, home to spectacular limestone caves and galleries of Indigenous art.

Geological wonders

Fossicking in the Tropical North Queensland Outback


Miners were some of the first to settle this region, flocking here in search of gold, silver, tin and lead during the 19th century. The region is also rich in gems like agate, quartz, topaz and amethyst. Purchase a Fossickers License and head to one of the many fossicking sites in the region.

Discover Gems

Castnetting Karumba


This is also the place to meet genuine Outback characters. Join them for a beer in a tiny country pub or chat about the journey ahead at a remote roadhouse on the Savannah Way. They’ll be able to recommend the best fishing spots around Normanton or the best place to buy fresh prawns straight from a trawler in Karumba. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation.


  • Clear skies and few artificial lights make for some of the best stargazing in the country. From late September to early November, the incredible Morning Glory cloud formations – long straight lines of cloud – stretch for thousands of kilometres across the Gulf of Carpentaria.

  • The fishing is incredible around the Gulf Savannah, with barramundi found all over the region. Catch bountiful blue salmon, grunter and bream around Karumba, and sweetlip, coral trout, parrot fish and red emperor off Sweers and Mornington islands.

  • Don’t forget your binoculars – it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise, especially in the wet season. Some 20 wetlands across the Gulf Savannah attract thousands of migratory birds. Mutton Hole Wetland is home to brolgas, whistling ducks and sarus cranes.

Discover the Gulf Savannah

In the Gulf Savannah region you can hop aboard two of Australia’s great train journeys, discover ancient fossils, fossick for gems and meet a host of authentic Outback characters.

dirt road on the Savannah Way
Gulf Savannah & Outback
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Why the Undara Lava Tubes should be on your must-see list

Some adventures are off the beaten track and others, like the Undara Lava Tubes, are underneath it. You’ll need to dip below the earth’s surface, to explore these famous 190,000-year-old lava tunnels that point to an explosion when 23 cubic kilometres of lava flowed for 160 kilometres, carving a natural playground south-west of Cairns.

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7 road trips you don’t want to miss

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From scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest to flying to an ancient aboriginal rock art site or undertaking an epic helicopter pub crawl, take to the sky on your Tropical North Queensland adventure.

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Aerial of Kalkani Crater at sunset

Getting here

  • dirt road on the Savannah Way

    By car

    Self-drive or hire a car and journey along the Savannah Way. The route is accessible with a two-wheel drive, although four-wheel drive vehicles can venture off the grid and discover the many loop roads of the Gulf Savannah and Outback region.

  • The Gulflander crossing a bridge

    By rail

    Queensland Rail’s, Savannahlander departs Cairns weekly for Forsayth with touring options available along the itinerary. The Gulflander famously travels from nowhere to nowhere, travelling from Normanton to Croydon once a week with a return fare also available.

  • River channels aerial

    By air

    REX Regional Express offers direct flights from Cairns to Normanton, Burketown, Doomadgee and Mornington Island. Charter flights are also available to Undara, Forsayth and several other locales.

  • Bus in Karumba

    By bus/coach

    Trans North Bus & Coach Service operates the passenger and light freight service from Cairns to Karumba servicing many regional towns en route. They also provide bus links for the Gulflander and Savannahlander rail services.


The perfect spots for a little R&R.


#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR

Come with us on an outback adventure to @cobboldgorge 🧡🌴 #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr #gulfsavannahoutback
POV: you're heading to a luxury lodge that'll have you craving an outback adventure (aka Mt Mulligan Lodge) 🏜️✨

🎥 @ashleighbridget #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr
We’re back in Gulf Country, because where else would you want to be in winter? 💁☀️ Located on Ewamian country, @cobboldgorge is certainly one gorgeous gorge. Once you’ve spent the day quietly flowing through ancient sandstone cliffs, settle in for the night at #CobboldVillage to really round off your outback experience 🏕️

Did you know ⁉️ Cobblold Gorge is eco certified, so you can rest assured that you’re doing good for the planet while you explore 🌱

📸 @cairnsdiver #exploretnq #explorecairnsGBR #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland #gulfsavannahoutback
It's not every day you can explore the outback while it's lush & green, but here in the tropics that's just what you'll get! 🌴🛶 The Gulf Savannah and outback is open and waiting for you to explore 💙🌿

⚠️ Some areas of the Gulf Savannah have been impacted by recent flooding events and may not be able to receive visitors at this stage. The best way to support the region is to start exploring the areas that are open and ready for you to visit. Please check traffic conditions before you travel.

📸 @slightlylostau #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #gulfsavannah #outbackqueensland #drivenorthqueensland
It's not every day that you get to see the tropical outback looking a lush green like this & caves full of water, but right now that's what you'll get when you visit @undaraexperience! 🌴🏜

#exploreTNQ #exploreCairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

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