8 Day Awesome Foursome Gulflander & Savannahlander Adventure Tour GVHGSA8

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Total Price from
$3,490 Per Person
Deposit From Only
$700 Per Person
Departs Cairns
Returns Cairns
Difficulty Medium
Group Size 30

Ask about Available Dates

This is a very popular tour – if you need a date that is sold out, call or email to check if there is a cancellation.

8-Day Awesome Foursome Gulflander & Savannahlander Adventure Tour (Cairns Return)

All aboard! If you’re a lover of train travel, this tour is an absolute must-do: 8-Day Awesome Foursome Gulflander & Savannahlander Adventure Tour. Get ready to experience four iconic trains of Queensland on one amazing journey. Experience 4 Iconic Trains of Queensland in the 1 Tour. We discover the Gulflander Train from Normanton, the 1905 Peckett Steam Train, followed by the Savannahlander Train affectionately known as The Silver Bullet, and finally the Kuranda Scenic Railway in Gold Class Style arriving in Cairns.

Combine this with a wonderful Tour Host along with amazing Outback experiences in places like Georgetown, Croydon, Normanton, Karumba, Cobbold Gorge, Mt Suprise, Undara Lava Tubes, Forsayth, Cobbold Gorge & Tours, Karumba Barra Discovery Centre, and Kuranda and much much more makes this tour one of the most unique experiences in Australia.

Travel Option: Travel return from Brisbane on the Spirit of Queensland Overnight Rail Journey to Cairns, ask about this 10-day option.

Alternative Train Tour is the 16-Day Gulf Savannah and Cape York Tour

There are a limited number of SOLO Seats available – please call 07 4051 1120 to check availability. 

 

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Highlights

  • Mt Surprise
  • Georgetown
  • Forsayth
  • Croydon
  • Normanton
  • Karumba
  • Undara Lava Tubes Tour
  • Cobbold Gorge & Tours
  • Karumba Barra Discovery Centre
  • Gulflander & Savannahlander Trains
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway

Inclusions

  • Accommodation & meals as per itinerary
  • Coach touring & commentary
  • Fully Hosted by our friendly staff

Tour Pricing

All prices are per person in AUD.

Twin ShareSingle
2024 Season$ 3,590$ 4,220

Itineraries are subject to change. Travel insurance is highly recommended for all tours in a remote location.  A medium level of fitness required

Prices & Dates

Tour Options  

Itinerary

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change

  • 1 DAY 1 CAIRNS (D)

    Arriving in Cairns mid afternoon. Arrive by 2 pm to give you time to settle in before you will be met by your tour host and coach driver at the motel, with time to freshen up before enjoying a welcome dinner at 6 pm.

    Overnight Double Tree Hilton Cairns

    • Please advise if an accessible room is required.
  • 2 DAY 2 CAIRNS TO UNDARA LAVA TUBES (B D)

    This morning we depart by coach on our journey across the Atherton Tablelands. Our first stop is the historical town of Herberton for morning tea, before travelling back in time as we enjoy a ride on a 1905 Peckett Steam train and wooden passenger carriage! Learn all about the rich tin mining history of the area and the important role the steam train played to keep the industry alive.

    We then pass through Ravenshoe, boasting the highest pub in Qld, with a stop to purchase lunch should you wish. We will then depart to the Undara National Park for our afternoon tour of the Lava Tubes.

    About 190,000 years ago, there was a massive eruption and lava flowed from the Undara Volcano at a rate of about 1000 m3 every second. A lava flow this large could fill Sydney Harbour in six days.  More than 50 caves have been found in the park with most to remote to see but we get to visit the 2 best examples with easy access.

    Overnight Undara Village @ Mt Surprise

  • 3 DAY 3 CROYDON / KARUMBA / BARRA CENTER TOUR / SUNSET OVER THE GULF (B D)

    Departing after breakfast this morning travelling through Croydon for our town tour and on to Normanton as we follow the Gulflander train line.

    Arriving in Karumba this afternoon we visit the interactive and state of the art Barramundi Interpretive Discovery Centre which provides the history, stories, lifecycle and habits of the Barramundi. Discover the wetlands and mangroves and learn about the incredible birdlife and stunning southern Gulf flora

    This evening  you can enjoy a cool drink at the Waterfront Tavern while watching the sunset over the remote Gulf of Carpentaria. We then enjoy an alfresco Reef N Beef Dinner.

    Overnight Ash’s Apartments, End of The Road Hotel or Karumba Lodge

  • 4 DAY 4 NORMANTON / GULFLANDER TRAIN / FORSAYTH (B D)

    This morning we will transfer from Karumba to Normanton Railway Station. Take a journey aboard the legendary Gulflander for a rail journey unlike any other. Also known as the ‘Tin Hare’, this legendary rail motor is one of the last great characters of the rail world. From wetlands and grasslands to arid Savannah territory, the Gulflander travels through countryside that most people will never see. This nostalgic rail journey is the perfect way to discover an area steeped in pioneering history and heritage.

    Disembarking the train at Blackbull Siding and following Morning Tea, we board the coach for Croydon and a lunch stop before making our way to Forsayth and check into our accommodation. Time to refresh before our dinner this evening.

    NOTE: Try a Goldfields Ale which is uniquely brewed especially for the Goldfields Pub

    Overnight Overnight Finnegan’s Rest @ Forsayth

  • 5 DAY 5 DAY AT THE GORGE & CRUISE (B D)

    Following breakfast this morning you will be transferred by 4wd Coach to Cobbold Gorge where you will be amazed as you delve into a geological process which began 700 million years ago.

    This is an unforgettable highlight of your trip to outback Queensland. The tour begins with an informative insight to the geology of the rugged sandstone formations, followed by a guided bushwalk to the top of the escarpment, with the reward of a magnificent view of the gorge below. Then make your way over the newly constructed Glass Bridge for an unforgettable view below into the Gorge. Then glide on custom-made, electric-powered boats in almost eerie silence ensuring minimal disturbance to the wildlife. There’s every chance of seeing one of the large population of resident freshwater crocodiles.

    Some free time following lunch to take an optional Helicopter ride if you wish before we are transferred back to Forsayth in time for our hearty dinner. Please enquire about optional heli costs.

    NOTE: The Escarpment and Glass Bridge Walk is 2.5klm and requires a good level of fitness to complete. Shorter walks are available, however, they are not up to the top of the escarpment. The cruise boats suit low-level fitness.

    Overnight Overnight Finnegan’s Rest @ Forsayth

  • 6 DAY 6 SAVANNAHLANDER TRAIN TO MT SURPRISE / GEORGETOWN (B D)

    The Savannahlander (Silver Bullet) travels between Forsayth & Mt Surprise, giving passengers one of the great rail experiences of the world through the Outback. Stopping at Einasleigh with time to purchase lunch at the pub if you wish before travelling through to Mount Surprise.

    From here we travel to Georgetown for our last night in the Outback! Here we visit the Ted Elliot Terrestrial Centre which houses one of the largest private mineral and rear rock collections in the world.

    Arriving at Latara Motel we enjoy a beverage or two as we watch the sunset over the outback, with time to freshen up for dinner.

    Overnight Overnight Latara Motel in Georgetown

  • 7 DAYS 7 KURANDA SCENIC RAILWAY (B D)

    After our breakfast, we will depart by coach and meet the Kuranda Scenic Railway for our Gold Class Train service traveling through lush tropical greenery to Cairns arriving in time to freshen up for our farewell dinner this evening.

    Overnight Double Hilton Double Tree

  • 8 DAY 8 DEPART CAIRNS (B)

    After breakfast explore Cairns some more before making your way to the airport or train station. There is so much to do and see here.

Please note mobility requirements: clients need to be able to board/disembark coach unaided and carry their own luggage to their rooms.

All accommodations except one hotel on our Gulflander tour are walk-in showers. One hotel on the Gulf tour is a shower over a bath.

Flight Information
Day 1 – flights to arrive anytime into Cairns Airport
Day 8 – flights to leave after breakfast from Cairns Airport
**Flights are not included in the holiday price.

Optional: Spirit of Queensland Train (When departing from Brisbane)

Gulf Train Tour Map Gulf Savannah Tour

Additional Information

Travel Insurance
As a valued customer we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to purchase discounted travel insurance. It is HIGHLY recommended that passengers take out travel insurance. As a valued customer we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to get a free no-obligation quote from Cover-More Travel Insurance.

Credit Card Payments
Credit Card Customer Payment Link enter this link into your browser: pay.travelpay.com.au/AUSTC

If paying via the Customer Payment Link, please ensure you complete all fields and ensure you enter the correct Trip Reference Number, so we can identify your payment.

Credit card surcharges will apply when paying by credit card. We accept all credit cards and relevant credit card fee is applied when the processing: Mastercard – 1.30%, Visa – 1.50%, American Express – 2.20%, Diners Card – 2.75%, International Credit Cards – 3.25%

Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit payments take up to 3 business days to process. Please notify your consultant of your payment once it has been processed.

Commonwealth Bank: Australian Tours and Cruises
Reference: Your Trip Number
BSB: 062-504 Account: 1066 1268
Branch Address: 171 Howick Street Bathurst NSW 2795
In Bank Payment of Cash Or Cheque: Add $5 for bank fees
International Direct Deposit: Add $25 for bank fees
SWIFT or BIC CODE: CTBAAU2S

Luggage Restrictions: 15-20kg per person in a medium sized suitcase (approx 70cm high x 45cm wide x 30cm deep). Soft carry on bag for overnight train and day trips on coach. Weight limits apply for the Roads and Coach.

Tour Review

We have traveled on great trains: the Ghan, the Indian-Pacific, the Trans-Siberian, the Silk Road train and the Rock Mountaineer. And the Savannahlander is as great as any. Not because it is glamorous or luxurious or even air-conditioned, but because it is so uniquely Australian.

The Savannahlander will take you to uniquely Australian natural wonders and introduce you to the hardy, generous and hospitable folk who live in the Savannah of far North Queensland.

You will spend four days being entertained and educated by the Real Aussie drivers who know all of the history of the track, the train itself, the history of the tiny settlements, alive or ghostly, and the ecology and natural history of the unique Aussie animals and plants you might be seeing for the first time.

Your nightly accommodation will be spacious, clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. You will be served generous Aussie outback meals and be offered Aussie wines and chilled local beer which I find the perfect refresher when it’s 95 degrees in the sun.

It is not a fast train, travelling cautiously over rails laid a hundred years ago and on the first day I wondered if it was too long a day. By Saturday I was wanting the trip to go on longer. It is a Great Train Journey and I urge you to rush to book a trip before some Brisbane bureaucrat decides those old rails might as well be ripped up as so many already have been. Melvyn

 

In June and July 2022, my wife and I embarked on a North Queensland rail adventure incorporating the Spirit of Queensland from Brisbane to Cairns and return; the Gulflander from Normanton to Blackbull Siding; the Savannahlander from Forsayth to Mount Surprise and the Kuranda Gold Pass Scenic Railway from Kuranda to Cairns. This was part of a holiday package. The tour was promoted as “The Awesome Foursome” to highlight that the tour included four rail journeys.

This review provides our impressions of the Savannahlander rail trip we undertook on day 7 of the tour. The Savannahlander is a unique rail experience from Cairns to the inland town of Forsayth, departing Cairns every Wednesday morning at 6:30 am and returning to Cairns on Saturday at approximately 6:30 pm, with overnight accommodation in selected towns along the way. The full return trip embraces 850 kilometres of rail travel in classic 1960s “silver bullet” railmotors. I well remember these being utilised on the Lota railway line in Brisbane and as the passenger service from Brisbane to Helidon near Toowoomba many years ago. The railmotor exteriors are almost in their original condition; however, the interiors have been modified for the Savannahlander service and the diesel motors upgraded. The trains are not air-conditioned but the windows can be opened for fresh air. The Savannahlander is operated by a private company on behalf of the Queensland Government with Queensland Rail maintaining the more than 100 year old rail track which they keep in good condition. For our journey, my wife and I travelled in the 2028 Rail Motor. The train rollicked along at a leisurely speed making the experience all the more enjoyable.

Our Savannahlander experience was a much shorter version of around 6 hours from Forsayth to Mt Surprise. However, it still provided a spectacular and unforgettable rail experience. The scenery from the large viewing windows was spectacular with woodlands and savannah grassland, a number of interesting wildflowers, rocky terrain, plenty of termite mounds and lots of Brahman cattle roaming the countryside with the drivers on occasions having to shoo the cattle off the railway track with their train horn. A really good idea was to keep the passenger front seat immediately behind the driver vacant for passengers to have short-term seating to get the view that the drivers see of the rail track up ahead. We had two knowledgeable driver guides in Will and Mike and their ‘on board’ commentary was superb. Will, in particular, had a great sense of humour – his “treatise” about railway toilet etiquette was both instructive, amusing and oh-so memorable. There is no catering on board; however, after an hour’s travel we had a most delightful morning tea at an isolated spot with an efficient morning tea set-up, known as “Café Bloodwood”. The staff served up a great cup of Billy Tea here as well as fruit cake.

From ‘Café Bloodwood’, we enjoyed a further 90 minutes of travel on the train until we reached the charming little outback township of Einasleigh where we all disembarked for lunch at the classic, historic Einasleigh Hotel ( built 1908) at our own expense – we had quite tasty meat and salad wraps and cake with a can of soft drink, for a modest cost. Before lunch, Will suggested we take to short walk along the well-maintained public footpath to the beautiful and spectacular Copperfield Gorge – well worth the effort. Back at the hotel for lunch and what a magnificent hotel it is with a very ornate dining room with loads of interesting memorabilia and a most impressive second-floor verandah where a good view of the sparse township and the parked Savannahlander can be enjoyed. Just prior to arriving at Einasleigh the train stopped at the old Einasleigh Railway Station so that Mike could pick up the “staff”, the token that gives the train exclusive use of the single rail track for the next part of the journey.

Our stay in Einasleigh of 50 minutes was sufficient to stretch the legs, see the Gorge and enjoy lunch and the Hotel.

The journey continued on after lunch for another 90 minutes to Mount Surprise. The train stopped here overnight with passengers heading for Cairns continuing their journey the next morning. This also ended our journey on the train but not our day’s activity because immediately upon arrival at Mount Surprise we headed straight to the famous Lava Tubes at Undara, 30 kilometres east of Mount Surprise, to witness these iconic landforms first-hand. The tubes were created when the Undara Volcano erupted over 190,000 years ago, pouring out enough lava which flowed from east to west.

So after the Lava Tubes, it was an overnight stay at the Bedrock Village at Mount Surprise, heralding the end of our fascinating day incorporating the Savannahlander. We were pleased we experienced this iconic train journey – it is novel, unique, spectacular and something refreshingly different. There is nothing five-star and nothing flashy about the train but it is a great outback experience and a great way to see the Gulf Savannah region west of Cairns.

FAQs

  • Are there concession discounts?
    Pensioners (Australia or New Zealand) and Seniors Card holders (Australia) may save with our concession discounts on selected tours. Ask our friendly team which tours you can get a discount on.
  • Are your tours suitable for pensioners aged 76 and 84 ?
    Yes, Gulf Savannah tour passengers range from children to adult who are 90 years of age. You are travelling to remote areas where there is very limited medical services so you need to ensure you are health, have all your medications and you have taken out travel insurance in case you need assistance.,
  • Do you have any tours on offer during June, July or August ?
    June, July and August are the peak season for Far North Queensland. This is the dry season and most people like to travel north during this time. September is also a great time to visits as there are less tourists and the weather is lovely. There is a lot of wildlife around in September – great for bird watching
  • Is accommodation the night after the tour ends included in the price ?
    No, this accommodation will cost extra.
  • Is accommodation the night previous to the tour departure included in the price ?
    No, accommodation will be an extra cost.
  • Where is the meeting point for the start of tours ?
    The pick up is at the “before tour accommodation” hotel listed in the TRIP NOTES tabs of the specific tour you are looking at. If there is nothing listed please ask one of our helpful team or you will be notified when your tour is confirmed.
  • Do I need to arrive before Day 1 of my tour ?

    Please refer to your specific tour and look in the “Trip Notes” information where it may state this: You need to arrive any time the day prior to Day 1. If this is the case we can organise airport pick up and pre tour accommodation on your behalf, this will be an extra cost.

    Other tours start late in the day on Day 1 so you can arrive that morning which will avoid the extra nights accommodation cost.

    Please refer to the “Trip Notes” information for your specific tour which will explain this further.

  • How do you calculate the number of days for a tour ?
    If you are doing a 4 day tour commencing on April 8th, the first day of the tour is and includes the 8th, plus 9th, plus 10th plus 11th and the tour ends on April 11.
  • Do your tours operate over Christmas and New Year?
    No – most tours in Far North Queensland do not operate during the wet season.
  • Are airfares from my home town included in the cost of the tours ?
    Airfares to and from Cairns at the start and finish of your tours are extra.
  • Payment Options

    Credit Card Payments
    Credit Card Customer Payment Link enter this link into your browser: pay.travelpay.com.au/AUSTC

    If paying via the Customer Payment Link, please ensure you complete all fields and ensure you enter the correct Trip Reference Number, so we can identify your payment.

    Credit card surcharges will apply when paying by credit card. We accept all credit cards and relevant credit card fee is applied when processing: Mastercard – 1.30%, Visa – 1.50%, American Express – 2.20%, Diners Card – 2.75%, International Credit Cards – 3.25%

    Direct Deposit
    Direct Deposit payments take up to 3 business days to process. Please notify your consultant of your payment once it has been processed.

    Commonwealth Bank: Australian Tours and Cruises
    Reference: Your Trip Number
    BSB: 062-504 Account: 1066 1268
    Branch Address: 171 Howick Street Bathurst NSW 2795
    In Bank Payment of Cash Or Cheque: Add $5 for bank fees
    International Direct Deposit: Add $25 for bank fees
    SWIFT or BIC CODE: CTBAAU2S

  • Should I buy travel insurance?

    Travel Insurance
    As a valued customer of Gulf Savannah Tours, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to purchase discounted travel insurance. Recieve a free no-obligation quote online or talk to our staff.