Savannah Way

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBroome
FinishCairns
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable for4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance3867.51 km
Minimum Days11
Average Speed73.24 km/hr
Driving Time2 days 4 hrs 48 mins
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Page Updated: 28 Jan 2016
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Description

The Savannah Way is over 3,700kms long, and thus, could possibly be done in as little as 3 days. Although that said - why would you do that!! Make the most of it, and give yourself a couple of weeks to absorb the interesting towns and spectacular attractions along the way. Although most of the trip is sealed, making large sections doable for 2WD sedans; there are sections where a 4WD is required. This includes the stretch between Borroloola and Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria (with some sections impassable during the November to April ‘wet season’). Generally, the Savannah Way is an easy to follow route that features clear signage, interpretative displays, maps and brochures, as well as a comprehensive visitor information centre network for travellers.

This fascinating drive passes through some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery, including 4 World Heritage Areas and 15 National Parks - ideally suited for the ultimate getaway!!! Marvel as you journey through diverse and spectacular landscapes featuring ancient gorges, rock pools, waterfalls, salt pans and hot springs. All the things to do and see within this trek are near infinite, although beginning from Broome, the highlights of this trip in respective order could include: Geikie Gorge and the vast flood plains of the Fitzroy River, Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle), Lake Argyle near Kununurra, Timber Creek (the doorstep to Gregory National Park), Katherine Gorge (one of NT’s most scenic natural attractions), the small township of Roper Bar, the remote fishing community of Borroloola, the bird-watching wetlands between Normanton and nearby Karumba, and last but not least - the Undara Lava Tubes (in the Undara Volcanic National Park), which boasts the largest and most preserved lava tubes system on earth.

How to Use this Trek Note

The idea of a Trek Note, is that we provide a recommended route to explore an area with point-to-point guidance and extensive trip planning information about when to go, what to see, and where to camp. However, all the facts and data files are available should you prefer to build your own route/itinerary.

To see the route we recommend, click on the "Map" tab. Then, use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.

Click on the "What to See" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed Place to open a separate page (and download for Members only) to enrich your understanding of the area.

A text list of Place to Place distances (see Directions tab) is given, plus you can download the route file to load into your GPS/Navigator. Go to our shop to obtain the complete EOTreks Route Files download.

If you just want the raw data files (for use with mapping software or to load into a GPS/Navigator), then the track file and waypoints are downloadable for free (Members only), using the Download Treks button at the top of this page.

You can also print this page (use the print icon button) and text from all sections (Description, Preparation, What to See, Where to Stay, Directions, Related, Feedback) will be reformatted into one easy-to-read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately).

Environment

The Savannah Way travels through 19 bioregions across two states (Western Australia and Queensland) and one territory (Northern Territory). The tropical savannah regions, which cover around 1.9 million square kilometres (a quarter of mainland Australia) can be generally described as landscapes of dense grass and scattered trees. Home to hundreds of species of native plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, many of these groups are found nowhere else in the world but within our tropical savannahs. The Gulf Savannah region in particular - is hugely diverse, as it provides habitats within tropical rainforests, rocky gorges, mangrove swamps, wetlands and rivers.

Some iconic fauna and flora you should keep an eye out for are; Wedge-tailed eagles, which have wingspans of 2.5m and are amongst the largest eagles in the world; Camels, as they are an estimated 200,000 ferel camels in the Northern Territory alone, and the Boab tree, which is found in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia and stores water in its bulbous trunk. The town of Normanton in Queensland is internationally recognised as an important location for an estimated third of Australia’s migratory wading birds, such as brolgas and sarus cranes. Another amazing iconic and natural phenomena is the Magnetic termite mounds, which are predominantly found in the Northern Territory are precisely oriented with their narrow edges facing north-south. These mounds are built by tiny blind insects and are oriented so that they get the least sun at the hottest time of the day.

History

The Savannah Way was officially launched at the Australian Tourism Exchange on June 4th 2004 by Queensland Tourism Minister Margaret Keech and her Northern Territory and West Australian counterparts Claire Martin and Bob Kucera. This tourist route across Australia’s ‘Top End’ was coined under a spirit of cooperation and adventure, reminiscent of the pioneers who first explored the region.

The three ministers signed a Memorandum of Agreement to work together to develop and promote the route - a 3700km route linking Broome in Western Australia, Katherine in the Northern Territory, and Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. The project, which has been jointly funded under the Drive Tourism and Federal Government Regional Tourism programs, have provided more than half a million dollars to make the route more ‘tourist friendly’, including erecting directional road signage, interpretive panels, and publishing dedicated route brochures, map, and a trip planning website - namely: www.savannahway.com.au

Over 80 per cent of the 3700km route has been sealed, but for more adventurous drivers an alternative 4WD unsealed route can also be taken. The route passes through some of Australia's most spectacular scenery, including five World Heritage areas, 15 national parks, the world's longest lava tubes, historic gold mining towns, Outback cattle stations, Australia's oldest pub and a wealth of indigenous culture.

Preparation

For detailed checklists & advice regarding remote area travel, you are strongly encouraged to read the following articles: 4WD Driving Skills & Rules; What to Take; Recovery Gear Needs; Spare Parts and Tools; Food & Water; Water Tank; Long Range Fuel Tanks; Suspension; EPIRB; HF Radio; UHF Radio; Satphone; Staying in Touch as well as Travel Etiquette; Care for the Environment; Snake Bite Treatment; Outback Survival; & Driver Fatigue.

Official track reports are reviewed weekly and you'll always find the latest report in the ExplorOz Road Conditions section.
The Savannah Way needs to be well planned before undertaking such a long journey. The route is one of Australia’s newest ultimate self-drive adventures, with clear signage, interpretative displays, maps and brochures, and a comprehensive visitor information network for travellers.

Consider taking adequate fuel, water and supplies, and plan the stops where you can fuel up, and even stay overnight to rest. It’s a good idea to carry sun protection, sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid kit, and sufficient clothing for the time of the year. Staying in contact in the outback is vital, and while mobile phones will work in many towns, staying in contact by radio, satellite phone or carrying an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is advisable. Obtain current maps of the route, and if you are venturing off the main road into Aboriginal lands, you will need to enquire about permits - contact the local tourist centre for more information.

It is important to take heed of the road conditions, as it can vary from bitumen to gravel and dirt, and can be affected by climatic conditions. It is best not to attempt the route in the wet season from January to March in any vehicle, because you might get stuck for many days or even weeks. Although the most scenic time to travel is in Summer, as this time of year produces lush green foliage, clear, full-flowing waterways and greater numbers waterbirds in the surrounding wetlands. Unfortunately, one of the challenges of travelling in summer is that some of the main routes will be closed. Alternate routes are available and access is possible throughout the year, although certain areas may be temporarily impassable following prolonged periods of rain. Check the road conditions for each state before departing: There are some good PDF brochures on the Savannah Way, including maps and safety information, which is available for download. Please click: Savannah Maps and Brochures.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolRoebuck Roadhouse, Doon Doon Roadhouse, Victoria River Roadhouse, Hells Gate Roadhouse.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 543 litres4cyl 626 litres4cyl 774 litres
6cyl 593 litres6cyl 701 litres6cyl 681 litres
8cyl 593 litres8cyl 641 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Travel is best between April and September. In the wet season, from December to March, high sporadic rainfall means the conditions of the unsealed roads can change rapidly - often causing closures.

Closest Climatic Station

Elliott
Distance from Trek Mid Point 58.77km NW
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C37.636.735.634.431.328.428.331.335.438.039.138.6
Mean Min. °C24.123.822.219.515.912.311.213.217.420.823.424.3
Mean Rain mm133.2159.486.623.57.34.73.01.16.022.849.196.1
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Map

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What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

Showing 13 Places

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

Showing 35 Places

Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Broome to Milliya Rumurra6.61 kmN15° 4 min
Milliya Rumurra to Roebuck Roadhouse27.17 kmE77° 20 min
Roebuck Roadhouse to Bedunburra76.73 kmE72° 1 hr 50 min
Bedunburra to Great Northern Hwy & Derby Hwy68.74 kmE89° N/A
Great Northern Hwy & Derby Hwy to Great Northern Hwy & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd172.72 kmE104° N/A
Great Northern Hwy & Fairfield-Leopold Downs Rd to Fitzroy Crossing43.09 kmSE125° 27 min
Fitzroy Crossing to Mount Campbell14.08 kmS159° N/A
Mount Campbell to Kellys Pass81.66 kmSE134° N/A
Kellys Pass to Ngumban Cliff Lookout1.65 kmE102° N/A
Ngumban Cliff Lookout to Lamboo Gunian174.22 kmE73° N/A
Lamboo Gunian to Great Northern Hwy & Tanami Rd2.23 kmNE53° N/A
Great Northern Hwy & Tanami Rd to Halls Creek16.27 kmNE46° 11 min
Halls Creek to Palm Creek, Great Northern Hwy27.16 kmNE35° 18 min
Palm Creek, Great Northern Hwy to Little Panton River, Great Northern Hwy20.99 kmN14 min
Little Panton River, Great Northern Hwy to Upper Panton River, Great Northern Hwy9.84 kmN343° 8 min
Upper Panton River, Great Northern Hwy to Leycesters Rest44.15 kmNE24° 32 min
Leycesters Rest to Spring Creek7.2 kmNE37° 5 min
Spring Creek to Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access0.67 kmNE61°
Great Northern Hwy & Purnululu NP Access to Fletchers Creek, Great Northern Hwy12.45 kmNE32° 9 min
Fletchers Creek, Great Northern Hwy to Warmun (Turkey Creek)40.41 kmNE26° 28 min
Warmun (Turkey Creek) to Telegraph Creek20.26 kmNE23° 16 min
Telegraph Creek to Bow River, Great Central Hwy9.27 kmN360° 6 min
Bow River, Great Central Hwy to Doon Doon Roadhouse62.46 kmN356° 41 min
Doon Doon Roadhouse to Dunham River Rest Area25.15 kmNE36° 17 min
Dunham River Rest Area to Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy35.92 kmNN/A
Great Northern Hwy & Victoria Hwy to Cockburn Rest Area0.51 kmW254°
Cockburn Rest Area to Kununurra West Rest Area32.12 kmE70° 19 min
Kununurra West Rest Area to Dunham River, Victoria Hwy4.71 kmSE129° 3 min
Dunham River, Victoria Hwy to Kununurra7.61 kmE82° 6 min
Kununurra to Emu Creek Community7.11 kmSE132° N/A
Emu Creek Community to Saddle Rest Area 102.99 kmE101° N/A
Saddle Rest Area to Desmonds Passage6.3 kmNE57° N/A
Desmonds Passage to East Baines River52.24 kmE68° N/A
East Baines River to Timber Creek57.14 kmE75° N/A
Timber Creek to Muringung3.17 kmS163° N/A
Muringung to Victoria River Roadhouse88.32 kmE85° N/A
Victoria River Roadhouse to Sullivan Campground17.28 kmE78° N/A
Sullivan Campground to Noel Buntine Memorial 51.25 kmNE45° N/A
Noel Buntine Memorial to Vince Connoly Crossing68.21 kmNE35° N/A
Vince Connoly Crossing to Tony Green Crossing23.2 kmNE51° N/A
Tony Green Crossing to King West Rest Area 3.18 kmN18° N/A
King West Rest Area to Katherine31.49 kmNE39° N/A
Katherine to King Rest Area47.98 kmSE117° 31 min
King Rest Area to Mataranka Station43.79 kmSE121° 25 min
Mataranka Station to Stirling Mill Rest Area0.46 kmE109°
Stirling Mill Rest Area to Mataranka14.6 kmSE133° 9 min
Mataranka to Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort8.71 kmE90° 7 min
Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort to Mt Price Rest Area146.18 kmE81° 1 hr 33 min
Mt Price Rest Area to Roper Bar38.42 kmE83° 29 min
Roper Bar to Leichhardts Caravan Park0.84 kmNE63°
Leichhardts Caravan Park to Roper Bar0.84 kmSW243°
Roper Bar to Queensland Crossing21.13 kmSE156° 16 min
Queensland Crossing to Lomarieum Lagoon46.54 kmE72° 37 min
Lomarieum Lagoon to St Vidgeon Ruins0.54 kmSE132°
St Vidgeon Ruins to Towns River48.66 kmSE130° 36 min
Towns River to Cox River37.52 kmSE155° 29 min
Cox River to Maria (Wamungku) Lagoon12.72 kmE77° 13 min
Maria (Wamungku) Lagoon to Limmen River Campground7.43 kmNE58° 11 min
Limmen River Campground to Maria (Wamungku) Lagoon7.43 kmSW238° 11 min
Maria (Wamungku) Lagoon to Cox River12.72 kmW257° 13 min
Cox River to Burketown Crossing21.26 kmS161° 18 min
Burketown Crossing to Southern Lost City51.93 kmS171° 46 min
Southern Lost City to Lorella Springs Station47.19 kmNE64° 52 min
Lorella Springs Station to Batten Creek82.73 kmS174° 1 hr 23 min
Batten Creek to Leila 1st Crossing35.69 kmS185° 31 min
Leila 1st Crossing to Cape Crawford15.16 kmS161° 13 min
Cape Crawford to Heartbreak Hotel0.62 kmSE125°
Heartbreak Hotel to Leila Crossing (Carpentaria Hwy)15.82 kmNE59° 10 min
Leila Crossing (Carpentaria Hwy) to Leila Hill1.82 kmE71° 1 min
Leila Hill to Borroloola99.73 kmNE38° 1 hr 6 min
Borroloola to Burketown Crossing3.87 kmSE142° N/A
Burketown Crossing to Snipe Lagoon6.01 kmE73° N/A
Snipe Lagoon to Echo Gorge218.86 kmSE131° N/A
Echo Gorge to Wollogorang30.3 kmE99° N/A
Wollogorang to Savannah Way, NT-QLD Border5.26 kmE92° N/A
Savannah Way, NT-QLD Border to Westmoreland34.38 kmSE117° N/A
Westmoreland to Lake Morgan4.48 kmS159° N/A
Lake Morgan to Dilldoll Rock12.72 kmSE136° N/A
Dilldoll Rock to Hells Gate Roadhouse1.67 kmSE119° N/A
Hells Gate Roadhouse to Savannah Way & Doomadgee Access82.07 kmSE137° 2 hr 50 min
Savannah Way & Doomadgee Access to Savannah Way & Wills Dev Rd73.76 kmE82° 2 hr 57 min
Savannah Way & Wills Dev Rd to Burketown25.9 kmNE57° N/A
Burketown to Leichhardt Falls70.58 kmSE147° N/A
Leichhardt Falls to Burketown Rd & Savannah Way2.59 kmSE118° N/A
Burketown Rd & Savannah Way to Armstrong Waterhole99.58 kmE69° N/A
Armstrong Waterhole to Savannah Way at Little Bynoe River15.28 kmNE59° N/A
Savannah Way at Little Bynoe River to Normanton37.44 kmNE51° N/A
Normanton to Glenore Crossing25.07 kmS163° N/A
Glenore Crossing to Blackbull Campground69.56 kmE98° N/A
Blackbull Campground to Croydon60.39 kmSE120° N/A
Croydon to Turkey Knob Hill13.75 kmSE114° N/A
Turkey Knob Hill to The Jump Up10.38 kmE79° N/A
The Jump Up to Gilbert River Bridge48.53 kmE86° N/A
Gilbert River Bridge to Georgetown74.77 kmE98° N/A
Georgetown to Mount Surprise92.12 kmE79° N/A
Mount Surprise to Forty Mile Scrub National Park60.07 kmE85° N/A
Forty Mile Scrub National Park to Mount Garnet63.36 kmNE32° N/A
Mount Garnet to Innot Hot Springs15.43 kmE86° N/A
Innot Hot Springs to Archer Creek Rest Area12.87 kmE78° N/A
Archer Creek Rest Area to The Millstream Rest Area0.28 kmW249° N/A
The Millstream Rest Area to Ravenshoe15.51 kmE77° N/A
Ravenshoe to Atherton53.2 kmN358° N/A
Atherton to Tolga Recreation Reserve4.43 kmNN/A
Tolga Recreation Reserve to Rocky Creek Camp area6.76 kmNW336° 6 min
Rocky Creek Camp area to Walkamin7.02 kmNW331° 9 min
Walkamin to Mareeba15.42 kmN359° N/A
Mareeba to Cairns67.45 kmE78° N/A
Broome to Cairns3867.51 km  2 day 4 hr 48 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

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