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
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
, 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
In this trek note, we provide Place to Place distances (see Directions tab), a downloadable plot file, and POI files to enable you to use this as your driving itinerary, or as a base guide to add other side trips. As with all ExplorOz Trek Notes
, 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.
To see the route, click on the Map tab. Then use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can also click on the "What to See & Do" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed item to open a separate page (and download) for each Place for further information to enrich your understanding of the area.
If you use the Print button at the top of the page the text from all sections will be reformatted into one easy to read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately). If you are an ExplorOz Member, you'll also be able to download any individually selected Places
(or all in one batch download) as POI/waypoint files to use in your GPS (all popular formats available).
The Savannah Way travels through 19 bioregions across two states (Western Australia
) 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
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.
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
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.
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
) 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
|Broome, Roebuck Roadhouse, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Warmun (Turkey Creek), Woolah (Doon Doon), Kununurra, Timber Creek, Victoria River Roadhouse, Katherine, Mataranka, Roper Bar, Limmen River Station, Lorella Springs Station, Heartbreak Hotel, Borroloola, Hells Gate Roadhouse, Normanton, Georgetown, Ravenshoe, Atherton, Mareeba, Cairns
||Diesel||4cyl 543 litres
||ULP||4cyl 626 litres
||LPG||4cyl 774 litres|
|6cyl 593 litres||6cyl 701 litres||6cyl 681 litres|
|8cyl 593 litres||8cyl 641 litres|
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
Distance from Trek Mid Point 58.77km NW
|Mean Max. °C
|Mean Min. °C
|Mean Rain mm
Best time to travel Ok time to travel Travel NOT recommended
Services & Supplies
The following locations have various services and supplies: Broome
, Roebuck Roadhouse
, Fitzroy Crossing
, Halls Creek
, Warmun (Turkey Creek)
, Woolah (Doon Doon)
, Timber Creek
, Victoria River Roadhouse
, Mataranka Homestead Resort
, Roper Bar
, Limmen River Station
, Lorella Springs Station
, Heartbreak Hotel
, Hells Gate Roadhouse