Savannah Way - best places along the way?

Hi community,
I am currently in Darwin and consider taking the Savannah Way to Cairns to start into Cape York before the Wet Season. Thus the question is what are the main attractions/sights/places that I shouldn't miss along the way to Cairns on the Savannah way? Are there any good sidetracks that one should take or maybe detours?

Unfortunately the tourist info in Darwin isn't of any good help and I am reading mostly through online materials. The info said there is an info brochure on the Savannah Way but they don't have it at the moment :-/

Thanks for your help

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Reply By: PGU - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 07:45

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 07:45
Oh sorry I forgot to say that I have been in Kakadu, Litchfield, Katherine and Mataranka so my Savannah Way trip question aims at the route between Mataranka (probably the best place to start) and Cairns
AnswerID: 538543

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 08:38

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 08:38
Don't miss Cobbold Gorge as a great side trip. There is a great campground there and we took our van in. Check road conditions first. Others left their vans at George Town or Mt Surprise and went as a day trip or stayed in accommodation. The geology and history are fascinating and unique. Georgetown has a famous rock museum too. Mt Surprise is a great spot - the Bedrock Caravan Park there is one of our favourites. We enjoyed prospecting for sapphires (found a few too). The lava tubes are worth a visit. In fact we found every little whistle stop along the Savannah Way to be a worthwhile place to investigate - they all have something to offer. Allow plenty of time.
Bitter Springs at Mataranka is a lovely campground with the best swimming in a natural spring. The museum there has some amazing World War 2 photos.
Enjoy your trip. Lynne and John
AnswerID: 538545

Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 12:25

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 12:25
Hi Philipp,
The Western lost city and southern lost city in the Limmen NP are worth seeing. You will need to get a key from the ranger at Nathan River to get to western lost city.
Lorella Springs is a great spot to explore need at least 3 days to see some of it.
Seven Emu has good camping as well.
A little off the track is Kingfisher Camp and then down toLawn Hill is a must.
Enjoy the trip.
Cheers Andy

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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 21:07

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 21:07
Fully endorse the comments re Lorella Springs - it's a fantastic place and we went in for a couple of nights and ended up staying 6 (and would have liked more). Some great 4WDriving and you can camp pretty well anywhere on their million acres. Terrific selection of swimming spots and bushwalks too.
You need to go from Mataranka to Roper Bar (suggest a stop at the Tomato Island campground nearby), then it's an easy day trip into Lorella. On the way out you can spend a bit of time at Borroloola and then head across to Burketown and down to the Gregory River free camp. Also, on the way towards Burketown there is a place called Seven Emus, which we unfortunately missed but I understand it is also well worth a visit.
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Follow Up By: rooster350 - Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 10:34

Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 10:34
Caranbirini Conservation Reserve between Cape Crawford and Borroloola is a great spot to see, apparently much like the lost city formations (which we did not see), we were told at the C/P at Borroloola about it and spent a good 5-6hrs has a lagoon with a bird watch hide as well..very impressed we were, well worth the 40 odd ks back track..cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 19:31

Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 19:31
I'll third that, we enjoyed our time at Lorella Springs. Our favourite if I had to pick would have been Towns River. All the places mentioned we enjoyed as well but went to Manangoora Station instead of Seven Emus.

Kind regards
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 13:04

Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 13:04

An interesting spot, maybe for smoko or lunch, is the 40 Mile Scrub N/P, between Mt Surprise and Mt Garnet.

There's a parking bay, toilets and info board, right on the highway, and the thickest scrub you're likely to see anywhere.


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Reply By: PGU - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 12:29

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 12:29
Ok thank you for all the input... I collected all the places and hope I put them in the right order...

Roper Bar (Tomato Island campground)
Limmen National Park (Lost Cities)
Towns River (Camping)
Lorella Springs (Camping & Park)
Caranbirini Conservation Reserve!
Seven Emu (Camping)
Kingfisher Camp & Lawn Hill Reserve
Burketown (Gregory River free camp)
Georgetown & Cobbold Gorge
Mount Surprise (Bedrock Caravan Park, Lava tubes)
40 Mile Scrub National Park

Thanks for all the advice. If anyone else has some more I would appreciate it of course.


AnswerID: 538737

Reply By: Member - Tassiebrocky - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 20:29

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 20:29
Took the Savannah Way in August. The pies the Bakery are first class at Burketown (was the first for a few weeks) and the coffee next door was good. The place we found great was Chillagoe. We headed north from Mt Surprise and 2/3 of the road was good but with plenty of ups and downs. Got corrugated after we passed a quarry that truck were carting from.
The Hub in the main street of Chillagoe is full of information on the caves, geology and mining. The caravan park offer good shade and facility are Ok. Be warned if you wan't a meal at the pub you have to pre book. The grumpy lady turned away plenty of good trade. The lady aboriginal guide we had on the cave tour we did was excellent with a dry sense of humour.
The drive from there to Mareeba has about 25k of gravel before turning into bitumen.
The Coffee Centre at Mareeba is closed and there are no warnings that it is. Jaques Coffee Plantation Coffee about 5k aloung the road to Cairns is open and have an interesting story to tell and good coffee.
If you are interested in Aboriginal art on the way to the Cape, Jowalbinna just west of Laura is worth a visit. Its best to have a 4WD but Stev the property owner has a "softrider" as he's daily drive. There is a couple of river crossing getting into the camp site. The camp site has seen better day's but offer hot showers and a camp kitchen. Stev has a rather off handed approach but he sure knows his stuff when you get out on a tour with him.
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Reply By: Member - Tassiebrocky - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 20:41

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 20:41
One other thing you need to be warned about is the booking in National parks in Queensland. It has to be done on the web and the web site is a 100% hopeless.
Post a photo of some of the Aboriginal art work from Jowalbinna and a photo of Chillago.
AnswerID: 539031

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