Road tripper’s guide to Gulf Savannah

20 March 2023
Gulf Savannah Tour

The Gulf Savannah is a unique part of Australia’s ecosystem. It is the only place in the country where the three main ecosystems in Australia meet – the rainforest, desert and Savannah. It has one of the most biodiverse environments in Australia. By far the best way to see this region is on a tour with guides that can educate you about this magical place. It can also be accessed using public transport, with your own car or hire a vehicle that’s best suited for your adventure. If you’re looking for an adventure on your next trip Down Under, check out this beautiful part of tropical north Queensland. It is truly an outback oasis!

Natural Wonders

Stretching along the Queensland coast from Townsville to Bundaberg, The Gulf Savannah is part of the Great Barrier Reef. One of the seven natural wonders of the world and home to some 50 species found nowhere else on earth. The region also contains part of Australia’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, one of only three such sites in Australia and outback Queensland, and hosts more than 1,500 plant species and hundreds more animals (including 10 percent of all bird species).

Waterfalls, the wetlands, goldfields, tropical rainforest and stargazing. There truly are so many beautiful and breathtaking natural wonders in this Australian slice of heaven.

And Ancient wonders too

Cobbold-Gorge-Cruise Gulf Savannah Tour
Cobbold Gorge

Ancient Geological Wonders have helped to shape the unique landscape of the Gulf Savannah. Copperfield Gorge, the lava tubes of Undara (Undara Experience) and Cobbold Gorge are some highlights of this unique part of Australia.

And don’t forget Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park. Here you can visit the extraordinary limestone caves and galleries of Indigenous (aboriginal) rock art.

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill)

This large forest oasis in the middle of the outback contains creeks, waterholes, gorges and sandstone ranges. Erosion over the last millions of years have created the escarpments, gorges and outcrops seen by tourists today. The Waanyi people have lived in the area for at least 17,000 years and it is sacred to them.

Additionally, the oasis contains the World Heritage-listed Site of the Riversleigh Fossil Fields. Many animal bones, dating back millions of years, can be found here.

Savannah Way – Road Tripping at it’s finest

With over 3,700km of outback driving and endless scenery and ample wildlife, the iconic Savannah Way is a must on any road trip. This stretch of country connects Cairns with Broome and contains 15 National Parks and five World Heritage-listed sites.

The Queensland stretch of the Savannah Way (Cairns to the Northern Territory border) provides an amazing and diverse landscape of horizons, ancient gorges, rock pools, hot springs and wildlife.

It is the ultimate road trip!

Train Journeys of the Gulf Savannah

Gulflander Gulf Savannah Tour

When you visit the Gulf Savannah you need to include the trains as part of this unique trip. There are tours that have trains as part of the journey so you’re able to see the best of the area and experience these iconic trains as well. Even if you are self driving the Gulf Savannah region, you need to explore and enjoy the different train journeys on offer in this area. The Gulflander and Savannahlander affectionately known as The Silver Bullet, are well known in the Gulf Savannah and have a variety of pick up and return points. In the area you can discover the Kuranda Scenic Railway. You can also catch the Spirit of Queensland overnight rail from Brisbane to Cairns or return. 

Kinrara Cattle Station Experience Savannah Wetlands

Aerial Shot of Wetlands Gulf Savannah Tour

Stay and enjoy Kinrara Cattle Station, a family-founded and run business set up on the family’s unique cattle grazing property. The nature reserve within Kinrara into a place to welcome travelers and adventure seekers to explore the land, learn more about the area’s unique flora and fauna, and get to know the even more unique inhabitants of Australia’s youngest land. Comfortable private tents with decks. Hot showers for days with communal shower and eco toilet facilities. Activities such as kayaking, walking and helicopter flights over the most amazing wetlands you will see. Well worth a visit. 

A Fisherman’s Delight

Located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Karumba is a town surrounded by wetlands, crocodiles, birds and barramundi. It is well known to fishermen around Australia as the Barramundi fishing capital. If you’re new to the hobby you can also visit the Karumba Barramundi Discovery Centre. Here you will learn all about the Barra. You will also have the opportunity to catch and release them too!

Digging for Gold

Miners flocked to the region in the 19th century and were some of the first to settle. They were in search of gold, silver, tin and lead. Also rich in gems – quartz, amethyst, agate and topaz – there was a wealth of opportunity.

Mount Surprise and O’Brien’s Creek are perfect places to try your luck. So why don’t you give it a go and try your hand at one of the many fossicking sites. Make sure you purchase a Fossickers Licence beforehand though.

Or try your luck at Forsayth. It was once known as the ‘Poor Man’s Goldfield’ because expensive equipment was not needed to search for gold. A highlight of Forsayth is the Night tour where you will hear a local ghost story that will leave you guessing.

The Gulf Savannah is a beautiful place to visit. The scenery is breathtaking, and there are many activities to keep you busy while you’re there. Whether it’s hiking through the rainforest, swimming with dolphins, fishing for Barramundi or fossicking for gold – there’s something for everyone!

Other places of interest are Normanton, Georgetown, Ravenshoe, Burketown, Croydon and the Atherton Tablelands. The list goes on and on providing so many options for travel itineraries. The beauty of the Gulf Savannah is something you truly have to see for yourself!

Want to visit The Gulf Savannah but would prefer a tour? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our guided tours available on