The Gulf Savannah; a land of real outback characters, bush pubs and wild yarns, wedge-tailed eagles and wallaroos, hot springs and cool rivers. Discover a rich history of Aboriginal culture, of explorers and pioneers, of gold rushes and railways.
With an area of 425,000 square kilometres, it is the region of northern Australia which is drained by its mighty seasonal rivers into the Gulf of Carpentaria. It's bounded in the east by the Great Dividing Range and in the west by the Arnhem Land escarpment, some 1400kms across, and represents about half of northern Australia's tropical savannahs.
The dry savannah landscape, typified by vast grass plains, open eucalypt forest and the ever present acacia (wattle), abounds with wildlife and is the epitome of the classic Australian scene.
Apart from the diversity of environments, the Gulf Savannah cradles many significant natural and cultural features. The well known Undara Lava Tubes are the world's longest and largest, Cobbold Gorge's 135 million year old history etched in sedimentary sandstone continues to fascinate geologists, the historic "Gulflander" train and its Normanton Railway Station delights train-buffs and passers-by, while spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge is rapidly becoming the new "must do" for seekers of soft adventure.
The region's economy has been predominantly based in cattle along with prawn fishing on the Gulf of Carpentaria and gold in bygone years. Mining is continuing its influence with the multi-million dollar Century Zinc mine south west of Burketown.
These days tourism is playing an ever increasing economic role with many pastoralists opening their cattle properties to tourists.
Visit the Gulf Savannah to capture the emotion and romance, tragedies and triumphs of Australia's amazing outback.
The Savannahlander Train
The Savannahlander is a train journey which begins in Cairns, Australia. It is one of the great rail experiences of the world as it rattles its way from the coast, up the scenic Kuranda Range (the Kuranda scenic railway) including stops at Barron Falls and Stoney Creek, through World Heritage listed rainforests to Kuranda. It then continues on through the agricultural areas of the Atherton Tablelands then into the Gulf Savannah region, to Outback Australia.
The Gulflander Train
Out on the Gulf the terrain is flat and harsh. The quietness is almost deafening and broken only by the squawk of a native bird or a wandering beast. An occasional ‘Willy-Willy’ disturbs the landscape but otherwise time almost stands still. Then, from the silence, a soft groan becomes louder and a distinctive clackety-clack heralds the arrival of the Gulflander , the Tin Hare.
A journey on the Gulflander is a tour back in time. To times when a padded seat was a luxury and roads were bullock tracks. To an era where gold was the currency and home was a canvas & sapling humpy. To a generation where children were born in the dust and education was the school of hard knocks.
Kakadu & The Top End
Kakadu is the largest National Park in Australia and one of the largest in the world at 19,804 square kilometres. By comparison, Yellowstone National Park in the USA is only 8,806 square kilometres. Kakadu is bigger than New Jersey and has approximately the same area as Wales, and attracts about 200,000 visitors each year.
The first stage of Kakadu National Park in 1981 was included on the World Heritage List due to its special features - its size, various plant and animal species and its rich aboriginal culture.
Kakadu extends approximately 200km North to South and 100km East to West. It is of international significance as it protects virtually a complete river system - the South Alligator River.
Kakadu holds an estimated 7,000 Aboriginal art sites, some dated between 10,000 and 30,000 years old; illustrating the culture over thousands of years. There are also archaeological sites showing the aboriginal occupation, possibly 50,000 years old.
The park boasts over 1,600 plant species, 60 species of mammal, 280 species of bird, 51 species of freshwater fish and 75 species of reptile with the crocodile being the most obvious. The park is also home for a number of endangered and rare species of plants and animals.
Within the park, but not part of the National Park itself are the townships of Jabiru, the Ranger Uranium Mine, Dampier Mines, Denison Mines and Koongarra; but most famous of the mines is Jabiluka.
Kakadu also contains four major river systems and their tributaries - East Alligator River, South Alligator River, West Alligator River and Wildman River.
Destination: Gulf Savannah & Outback Duration: 9 Day Tour
The Gulf Savannah ‘Wanderer’ is a 9 day all overland accommodated safari through North Queensland's Gulf Country and lower Cape York, a land of real outback characters, bush pubs, wedge-tailed eagles and wallaroos, hot springs and cool rivers, and a rich history of Aboriginal culture, explorers and pioneers
Destination: Gulf Savannah, Kakadu & Outback Duration: 14 Days
The Kakadu & Gulf ‘Overlander’ is a 14 day all overland camping safari through northern Australia from Darwin to Cairns or Cairns to Darwin. Experience the epic Gulf Savannah region, North Queensland's Gulf Country, the majestic outback vistas of the Northern Territory, and the unique wetlands of Kakadu National Park
Destination: Chillagoe Caves & Outback Duration: Full Day Tour
A naturalist guided 4 Wheel Drive Safari that takes in select highlights of the Tablelands including the Mareeba Wetlands and the Great Aussie Outback including Park Ranger guided Chillagoe Caves Tour and Chillagoe Smelters! Travel in a small group and get off the beaten track!