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6 reasons the Gulf Savannah should be on your bucket list

September 23, 2021
gulf savannah

Are you looking to add some adventures to your bucket list? Well, Australia is home to an endless array of beautiful locations, each one unique. The Gulf Savannah is one of Australia’s most breathtaking places and makes for the perfect getaway perfect for any bucket list. 

The Gulf Savannah is located in north-western Queensland and eastern Northern Territory, covering 186,000 km2. Tours of the Gulf Savannah operate from Cairns to Darwin, and towns within the area include Georgetown and Croydon.

The Gulf Savannah is an untouched region of the outback that holds many sights that you’ll need more than a day to see. Australia’s frontier is ready and waiting for you, and we’ll share with you the six reasons why you need to add this place to your bucket list. 

1. Undara Lava Tubes

The Undara Lava Tubes is a historic landmark in the Undara Volcanic National Park. ‘Undara’ is an Aboriginal word, meaning ‘long way’. This is fitting for a park that holds some of the longest lava cave systems in the world. Following a volcanic eruption almost 200,000 years ago, nature left us with huge tube-like caves systems formed by quick-cooling lava. These caves are home to their own ecosystem, housing various birds, such as owls, bats, wallabies, and snakes.

The Undara Volcanic National Park is so complex with such a rich history that you’ll need a guide to enjoy all it has to offer safely. 

2. Boodjamulla National Park

Previously known as Lawn Hill National Park, this park is within the traditional land of the Waanyi people. Located in the northwest of Queensland, this National Park is home to sandstone ranges, with deep gorges and vast fossil fields. This location is yet another place to encounter Australia’s rich geological history.

This park offers camping facilities and is wheelchair accessible, although some areas may require assistance. Visitors can also canoe or kayak in the park, giving you a whole new view of everything there is to see. There is also a visitor centre within the park, providing information about the park, including its history, flora and fauna, and the best ways to enjoy the park.

You can see ripple marks on the ground in certain areas of the park, hinting at its past, as an ancient sea 1.56 billion years ago! Australia’s geological history is almost too vast to comprehend, but anyone can appreciate how extraordinary this land is when standing where there was once an ocean.

3. Riversleigh Fossil Field

Within the Boodjamulla National Park is an ancient fossil field, cited as one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world. There is a vast variety of fossils to be seen, some dating back 25 million years! The Riversleigh area covers over 10,000 hectares of land, and its huge range of high-quality fossils show us the evolution of some of our most beloved Australian animals.

You’ll also be able to see the fossils of animals you’ve never heard of before and that are long extinct. The area offers camping facilities and has plenty of walking and hiking trails. There are also opportunities for both scenic driving and four-wheel driving.    

4. Gulflander Train

For those wanting to experience the Gulf Savannah uniquely, we recommend checking out the Gulflander Train. Aboard the train, all of the staff are qualified tour guides, enabling you to really appreciate the experience with a wealth of knowledge.

With the railway system being over 100 years old, the train itself has a rich history that includes Australia’s gold rush. This train system was essential for travel back then, and now we’re able to use it to travel across some of Australia’s most mesmerising landscapes. 

The classic Gulflander Train journey is about 5 hours long, travelling between Normanton and Croydon. Stops are made along the way with many photo opportunities, so you will want to remember to pack your camera for this one.

5. Cobbold Gorge

Cobbold Gorge is Queensland’s ‘youngest’ gorge, although being 10,000 years may not sound like it. The gorge is made up of sandstone formations and shows the rugged side of the Queensland landscape. The gorge is narrow, at only 2 metres wide in some areas, and is kept at a constant water level provided by underground springs.

Near the gorge, you’ll find Cobbold Village, an area that provides the comforts most of us are used to. There is also plenty of accommodation if you’re looking to extend your stay, and with so much to see and explore, you’ll definitely want to. It’s also important to know that Cobbold Gorge is only accessible through guided tours to protect the environment.

6. Chillagoe Limestone Caves

In the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park, you’ll find breathtaking limestone cave systems, which first began to form about 400 million years ago. Over time, the limestone deposits have been weathered and reformed by water to create the magical caves you can see today.

Many fossils have been found within the cave systems, including the bones of the extinct giant kangaroo. Other rare animals can be found in the caves, such as the white-rumped swiftlet, a bird found in only five places, as well as spotted pythons. However, tours are led by experienced guides, and much of the tour takes place on raised platforms, so there is no danger going into these caves. Near these caves, you can also find Aboriginal paintings and other unique relics.