directions_busTours & Packages in Darwin, Cairns City, Mataranka & Karumba
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Journey from Cairns to Darwin on an all-inclusive small group expedition along the Savannah Way

Helicopter touring, gulf cruising, wilderness lodge stays, Gulflander rail travel and more!

Take the road less travelled on the remote Savannah Way from Cairns all the way to Darwin. This all-inclusive tour includes all meals, all attractions, helicopter touring, gulf cruising, wilderness lodge accommodation, a journey on the historic Gulflander railway, and so much more!

FROM
$11,075PP
Get your quote
DURATION
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14 nights
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • hotelAccommodation
  • local_activityAll inclusive
  • free_breakfastDaily breakfast
  • directions_busDay tours
  • restaurantAll meals
  • local_activitySelected entry fees
  • restaurantSelected meals

About this holiday

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Slide 1 of 10
Millaa Millaa Falls, Queensland

Tour Highlights

  • Spend two nights at the new wilderness lodge on AWC’s Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Take a scenic helicopter flight to the coast and cruise the Calvert River
  • Travel the remote Savannah Way and spend three nights at Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, a spectacular million-acre cattle station on the Gulf
  • Discover the Southern Lost City in Limmen National Park on an included helicopter flight and guided walk
  • Take a guided tour through the mind-blowing lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park and overnight in unique train carriage accommodation
  • Take a magical sunset dinner cruise on the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • Travel through the Atherton Tablelands and visit Millaa Millaa Falls
  • Swim in pristine thermal pools
  • Cruise the historic Roper River

Inclusions

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Outstanding Value Inclusions

  • Small Group Size - 22
  • All meals including all breakfasts, lunches and dinners while on tour
  • All attractions, entry, cruise and national park fees
  • Travel aboard a 5-star All Terrain Mercedes Benz Coach
  • 13 nights of good to excellent quality accommodation
  • Services of a professional 2 person crew: Tour Driver and Tour Director
  • Outback Spirit Explorer Pack featuring handy travel items.

Accommodation

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Slide 1 of 3
Pungalina Wilderness Camp
  • Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns
  • Undara Experience, Undara Volcanic National Park
  • End of the Road Motel, Gulflander
  • Hell's Gate Roadhouse, Hell's Gate
  • Pungalina Safari Camp, Seven Emu Sanctuary
  • Lorella Springs Station, Lorella Springs Station
  • Territory Manor, Mataranka
  • Knotts Crossing Resort, Katherine
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Darwin

Travel dates

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The 2023 season commences in April and ends in September.

  • April - from $11,075 per person twin share
  • May - from $11,755 per person twin share
  • June - from $11,655 per person twin share
  • July - from $11,655 per person twin share
  • August - from $16,655 per person twin share
  • September - from $11,075 per person twin share

Call our travel advisors today on 1300 414 198 to book your space before they sell out.

Itinerary

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Day 1 - Your Adventure Begins in Cairns

Upon your arrival at Cairns airport today, you will be met by your friendly and professional Outback Spirit Tour Driver and Tour Director. We’ll then check in to the luxurious Shangri-La The Marina. Tonight, join us in the hotel restaurant for a sumptuous welcome dinner and meet your fellow adventurers. 

  • Stay: Shangri-La The Marina
  • Included Meals. Dinner

Day 2 - Atherton Tablelands – Undara Volcanic National Park

 Departing Cairns early, we trek west and drive through the scenic Atherton Tablelands. Visit beautiful Millaa Millaa Falls before continuing to Undara Volcanic National Park, which protects the longest lava tube cave system in the world.

Today a local Savannah Guide will take us on a tour through the lava tube cave system. Created when the Undara Volcano erupted over 190,000 years ago, the lava that poured out was enough to fill Sydney Harbour three times over. The lava flows lasted a long time, which allowed the outer edge to cool while the interior kept flowing, creating the tubes seen today.

This afternoon we arrive at Undara Experience and check in to our unique accommodation, consisting of restored railway carriages*. The lodge has recently been fully renovated and upgraded, with all rooms now featuring private ensuite bathrooms.

Tonight, enjoy dinner in the outdoor style restaurant as the outback sunset fades into a clear starlit night. 

*Train carriage accommodation cannot be guaranteed. Other accommodation types used include modern and spacious pioneer cabins.

  • Stay: Undara Experience
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3 - Karumba 

This morning we depart Undara and head west to Croydon passing by Blackbull and travel through to Normanton. Enjoy some of the local sights including Krys the croc and the Purple Pub before heading into Karumba. Located on the banks of the Norman River, Karumba came to importance in the 1930’s when it became a stop-over point for flying boats on the run from London to Australia.

This afternoon we enjoy a special Sand Island sunset dinner cruise in the Gulf. Dine on local seafood while watching a sensational gulf sunset. (Includes wine and beer. Alternative meals are available). We overnight at the End of the Road Motel.

  • Stay: End of the Road Motel
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4 - Karumba - Barramundi Centre - Gulflander

This morning we discover the amazing secrets of the mighty barramundi at The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, the only hatchery in the world to breed the Southern Gulf strain of this iconic fish! The brand new interactive and state-of-the-art Interpretive Centre provides the history, stories, lifecycle, and habits of these sought-after fish.

This afternoon we join one of the last great characters of rail travel – The Gulflander. This historic little train takes us on a journey from Critters Camp through to Normanton. From here we head back to Karumba and enjoy our second night at the End of the Road Motel. 

  • Stay: End of the Road Motel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5 - Karumba - Hells Gate

Today we follow the Savannah Way across the Gulf. Stop at Camp 119, the most northerly camp of the Burke and Wills Expedition of 1860/61. The exhausted party of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills set up camp close to the seasonal Little Blynoe River, in the hinterland of the Gulf of Carpentaria, in their attempt to cross Australia from south to north. It was the northernmost point of their ill-fated expedition. From here we head to Leichhardt Falls (no swimming).

After lunch we'll make our way north and re-connect with the Savannah Way via Doomadgee. From here we head towards the Northern Territory border, arriving at Hell's Gate Roadhouse late afternoon. Tonight, we stay in new and modern accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. 

  • Stay: Hell’s Gate Roadhouse
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6 - Hell’s Gate - Seven Emu Sanctuary

This morning we enjoy a tour of the station at Hell’s Gate. Located on Cliffdale Station, Hell’s Gate takes its name from a gap in the escarpment one kilometre south. After lunch on the station, we continue along the Savannah Way and cross the border into the Northern Territory.

Not far into the Territory we turn off and head north into Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary and check in to our new safari camp. Built by Outback Spirit in 2019, the camp features unique safari tents with ensuite bathrooms and covered decks, the perfect spot for a three-night stay to discover the area.

Together the two properties cover a combined area of around 305,000 hectares and include coastal monsoon rainforest, tall paper bark forests, palm fringed wetlands, deep gorges, and coastal flood plains. The sanctuary is home to over 40 species of mammals, 190 species of birds and 95 species of frogs and reptiles.

Over the next two days, we'll explore Pungalina-Seven Emu Sanctuary and learn about what makes these two properties such important ecological habitats in northern Australia.

This afternoon we enjoy a visit to 'Bubbling Sands', a thermal pool located not far from the safari camp. We'll also visit the old homestead before returning to camp for dinner and drinks around the campfire. 

  • Stay: Pungalina Safari Camp
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7 - Exploring Pungalina - Seven Emu Sanctuary

Our first full day at Pungalina-Seven Emu Sanctuary is highlighted by a scenic helicopter flight over the sanctuary, following the spectacular Calvert River all the way to the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. We then take a scenic cruise on the Calvert River and experience some rarely seen but truly spectacular scenery.

In between activities you'll have the opportunity for a dip in the beautiful thermal creek that runs past the safari camp. Its waters run at a constant 32 degrees, making it a perfect place to relax and soak up the pristine environment. 

  • Stay: Pungalina Safari Camp
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Please note: Conditions include a weight restriction of 110kg for the helicopter flights.

Seven Emu is owned by Mr Frank Shadforth with 110,000 hectares of the property leased to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy for conservation. Pungalina is wholly owned by AWC.

Day 8 - Exploring Pungalina- Seven Emu Sanctuary

Today is our final day exploring this very special, and very remote part of Australia. We'll enjoy an informative ecology tour with trained AWC staff based at Pungalina-Seven Emu Sanctuary. The tour gives us the opportunity to learn more of the valuable work undertaken by AWC within the sanctuary, caring for the flora and fauna endemic to this region.

This afternoon we return to the safari camp where you can relax, swim in the thermal creek and take in the surrounds for our final night at Pungalina. 

  • Stay: Pungalina Safari Camp
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9 - Savannah Way – Borroloola – Lorella Springs Wilderness Park

This morning we return to the Savannah Way and make our way west to Borroloola on the McArthur River. We then pass through Limmen National Park before arriving at the turn off to Lorella Springs. From here it's a 30km drive to Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, a spectacular one million-acre pastoral lease that stretches right to the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. We arrive late afternoon and settle in for our three-night stay in this extraordinary location. The accommodation at Lorella Springs has recently been upgraded and now comprises a mixture of different rooms and cabins, all with private ensuite bathrooms. 

  • Stay: Lorella Springs Station
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10 & Day 11 - Exploring Lorella Springs Station

Over the next two days we explore all the wonders of Lorella Springs Wilderness Park. Visit pristine thermal springs, take a helicopter flight over the Southern Lost City and head all the way to the coast for a walk along the shores of the Gulf - a truly surreal experience that beautifully complements the sunset cruise in Karumba and helicopter flight at Pungalina. At the end of each day's adventures, join your station hosts at the bar for happy hour and mingle with other like-minded explorers journeying across the Gulf. 

Stay: Lorella Springs Station

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12- Lorella Springs to Mataranka

Our travels today take us along one of the most remote sections of the Savannah Way. Used extensively by drovers in the 1870’s, thousands of cattle have walked this route on their way from Queensland to the Northern Territory and the Kimberley.

We’ll pass through the dramatic scenery of the Limmen National Park and take a guided walk into the geological wonder of the Southern Lost City to see this geological wonder from the ground. Then we continue heading north along the Savannah Way towards Roper Bar. This afternoon we press on to Mataranka following the Roper Highway for our overnight accommodation at the Territory Manor in Mataranka. 

  • Stay: Territory Manor
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13 - Mataranka to Katherine

This morning we enjoy a visit to Mataranka’s deep, sandy bottomed thermal pools for a swim amongst the Livistona palms. There is no better way to start the day! From here we make our way to Katherine. This afternoon we take a 2 hour boat cruise on the Katherine River Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. We check into our accommodation in Katherine at Knotts Crossing Resort and reflect on another wonderful day in the Top End! 

  • Stay: Knotts Crossing Resort
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14 - Katherine – Darwin

This morning we enjoy a leisurely start before the final stretch of the journey to Darwin. Departing Katherine, we'll pass through Pine Creek and Adelaide River before arriving in the Territory's capital early afternoon. After checking in to your harbour view room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on the Esplanade, enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure before boarding the Charles Darwin for a delicious Territory-style sunset dinner cruise and celebrate a truly amazing trip! 

  • Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 15 - Farewell

After breakfast enjoy a leisurely morning before being transferred to the airport, or to your accommodation if staying on in Darwin.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note the above itinerary is subject to change without notice.

Questions

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Interested in sharing a room with a stranger? In this case, you will still pay the single supplement but one month prior to travel, you will be contacted if there is someone of the same gender who is also willing to share. If you both agree to share, each single supplement will be refunded. Due to privacy, we cannot disclose any information about the other guest. Please note, that you are unable to change back to a single room once this has been arranged.

We recommend that you take Travel insurance for unexpected incidents - Ask our Travel advisors for Insurance details.

Can i travel if I require special assistance or mobility aids? Passengers are required to have a reasonable level of mobility to be able to board and alight the coach unaided. Due to space restrictions aboard our coaches, we are unable to accommodate passengers who require the use of wheelchairs or walkers. Vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair ramps or lifters. Passengers requiring physical or mental assistance must be accompanied by a companion who is willing and capable of providing such assistance.

Passengers can bring a walking stick, however we recommended that it be telescopic/collapsible for ease of storage.

Can I bring a sleep Apnoea (CPAP) Machine? Please advise us in advance if you require a sleep apnoea machine, so we can request the most appropriate room for you. Your machine can be brought as additional luggage.

Couldn't find an answer to your question? Ask us!

Fine print

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Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply