Gulf SavannahEver since cattlemen and gold miners followed last century's intrepid pioneer explorers, this 186,000 sq. km area between the Great Dividing Range and the Northern Territory border has typified the romance of the legendary outback of Australian folklore.
Only now the Gulf Savannah's ancient secrets are emerging, giving new significance to its lonely landscape and more reasons to visit this fascinating, dramatic region.
As a traveller, you'll find enchantment and escape in Savannah grasslands, seasonal wetlands teeming with wildlife, dramatic escarpments, beaches, islands, saltpans and discover crocodile-infested rivers are an adventurous antidote to city life!
This region is highly regarded by bird watchers, with the varied ecosystems providing an ideal habitat for an unusually high number and variety of wading, migratory and resident wood/grassland birds. Ornithologist guides offer a variety of bird watching walks and river cruises, with many property owners allowing special access to bird watching groups.
From Darwin to Cairns, the Gulf is accessible on well developed sealed and unsealed roads and from the south via the Matilda Highway. Self-drive explorers and caravanners will find much to delight them along the route. Drivers are advised to check ahead for road conditions since during the summer months and during the 'wet' some roads may be closed.
If you'd like to have someone else in the driving seat, day and extended tours leave from Cairns and most towns offer excellent local day tours.
Today's Savannah explorers are scientists, intently discovering natural wonders dating back to pre-history. The rarest of geological formations and flora and fauna are protected in national parks and professional Savannah Guides are ever present to offer you accurate information on features of interest.
Special places not to be missed include the Undara Lava Tubes, formed by volcanic eruption 190,000 years ago; Forty Mile Scrub; Cobbold Gorge; Mt Surprise Gemfields; Tallaroo's hot mineral springs and Lawn Hill Gorge, a rainforest oasis set amidst the parched plains. Lawn Hill National Park encompasses the World Heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields, a small section of which is open to the public.
If you have the time, the Gulf is a place to roam at leisure; marveling at giant anthills, watching birds and animals drinking at lagoons, fishing the coast and rivers, fossicking for gems, and exploring abandoned goldfields. There are two memorable train rides through this uniquely picturesque region - the Gulflander and the Savannahlander.
For traveller's accommodation, camping grounds, caravan parks, historic hotels, new motels and lodges are scattered through the Gulf. If you're driving yourself, its advisable to book ahead during the peak periods.