#9 Driving on the Savannah Way
Let's drive on the Savannah Way:
This week, I enjoyed a part of the famous Savannah Way which links Cairns to Broome (Western Australia). Focused on the Queensland’s bit, I explored the “accessible” Outback, on the doorstep of Cairns.
Wide range of accommodations
(Huts, tents, railway carriage, camping...)
Eating and Drinking
- Bush Breakfast
- Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro (Lunch & Dinner)
What to do?
- Undara Experience:
Guided tours of lava tubes and so much more:
- Undara National Park:
Visiting Undara Volcanic National Park
The first day driving to Undara was just spectacular, we got to see so many landscapes in only one day!
I just loved it, from the rainforest, to the valley, crossing plateau, dairy farms and beautiful clear lakes (Lake Eacham +++) or even hot springs (Innot Hot Spring Gem Field)! This was incredible, looking through the window and having the impression to be at home, in the Jura, where the grass is so green. But all the sudden, the landscape changed again, we reached the Savannah, termite mounds, endless dry steppes and this was clearly not the Jura anymore!
My Night in a old train...
We spend the night at Undara Experience, which is a great touristic complex in the middle of the NP.
Here you can either camp, rent a swag, sleep in a luxury hut or even spend an unforgettable night in an old railway carriage! What we did and which was fantastic, so out of the ordinary. The site is just perfect to go on holiday in family or with your mates, there are accommodation for every budget.
Then everyone can meet around the campfire to sing or listen to stories, some nights they also play Opera in the bush.
The breakfast is also served in the bush and like the old days, with the billy and bread toasted in the fire :-) Was a nice touch!
But what there is to visit in this NP?
Undara is volcanic and got the largest lava tubes in the world. We visited the Archway and Ewarnin tubes during a guided tour, this was pretty impressive to go into them and walk along in the dark, saying hello to the micro bats. Something really good to do also is to go for a sunset tour with wine and cheese, finding a nice spot and simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery, the aussie savannah is magical
With the rangers, I had the opportunity to go on the top of the Racecourse crater, which is a pretty fabulous moment as well.
I’m short of adjectives to describe my adventures…
Cobbold village: for all budgets, from camping to nice huts
Eating and Drinking
Cobbold Bistro (Breackfast, Lunch & Dinner)
What to do?
- Walk and boat tour in Cobbold Gorge
- Robin Hood Cattle Station Experience
- Helicopter scenic flight upon Robin Hood Cattle Station and Cobbold Gorge
On the road again to reach Cobbold Gorge
Was time to keep going our drive, now off to Cobbold Gorge. After a day on the unsealed roads, we were happy to arrive and settle down for 2 nights in Cobbold village.
An outstanding property managed by Simon and Gaye Terry and part of the Robin Hood Cattle Station. 10000 head of cattle, 1284 square kilometers and a geological wonderland.
5 hours from Cairns, I can just highly recommend to everyone to go there, these two days were amazing and a highlight in my new job adventure! Swimming pool is just what you need after your tour in the stunning Gorge or at the cattle station. The big trampoline is also supra cool and I can say we used it a lot! So much fun, we were like kids again! Having a juicy cocktail on the terrace is very much appreciated too! I didn’t want to leave the place and maybe because it reminds me somehow my childhood in the family owned farm…
*Best adventure so far: mustering cattle on a chopper
Oh yes, I got the chance to get on the really small helicopter with Brendan to go mustering cattle! Woo I can honestly say that this was the most impressive thing I have ever done so far and one of the best too! He knows how to handle the chopper and I’m glad I didn’t get sick at all!! Good performance as we did 360, back and forwards and so many other moves! Observing this massive country from the air was unforgettable!
I want to go back to this idyllic location where birds show up in the morning while you have breakfast or sing for you during the day!
Chillagoe / Mt Surprise
Chillagoe Observatory and Eco Lodge: chill out atmosphere
Eating and Drinking
Chillagoe Observatory and Eco Lodge Restaurant
(Breackfast, Lunch & Dinner)
What to do?
- Snake Show at Planet Earth Adventure
Tel: 4062 3055
- Fossicking with Pete and Pam and also an online shop with Pam’s jewels creations: www.thegemden.com.au
- Limestone Caves
Off to Chillagoe and stopover to
My trip had to keep going and now direction Chillagoe, with a stop at Mount Surprise. Fancy holding some snakes? Come and meet Russel at Planet Earth Adventures, he has a lot of them and does some shows. Cuddling a carpet python was a special experience!
Maybe are you more into gems? No problem, Pam & Pete are passionate about fossicking and offer you wonderful digging tours or can teach you how to facet your own gem and so much more! The fields around are so rich, it would be a pity not to give it a try! Don’t hesitate to call them, they are really nice people, who love sharing their passion.
After all these adventures, we arrived at Chillagoe and spent the night in the Observatory and Eco Lodge. A good night sleep was needed before our last day full one in the area.
Caves National Park:
As its name indicates this NP features caves but not random caves, no fantastic ones! Chillagoe lies within a belt of limestone and offers amazing subterranean worlds, which are now protected.
You can visit the different caves with a ranger during a tour. 22 degrees all year long, this is the perfect place to be during the hot days and this is just stunning. As always the rangers provided the site with very good infrastructures to make your visit comfortable and safe.
After this beautiful wonderland, we were off to the Chillagoe smelters, which played an important role in the great age of the mining industry from 1870 to 1914. As an industrial heritage, they are now part of a protected area too.
On our way back to Cairns, we stopped at Mareeba, well knowed for its agriculture.
We enjoyed our lunch time to go for a tour in the Australia’s oldest coffee plantation, The Skybury Coffee Plantation. I learnt what I always wanted to know about the origin, life cycle and harvest of coffee, even if I’m not a coffee addict, this is something to do and just having lunch in their bistro is great! They built an amazing timber house with breathtaking views over the countryside. Gourmet food and magnificent scenery, what else for a perfect lunch?
A stop to the Golden Drop Winery ended our trip on a high note. Did you know that you could do wines from mangoes? The Nastasi family will be pleased to tell you all about it and wine tasting is also possible. They have a wide range of Wines, Port, Sparkling and Cellos. Delicious...
Easy and accessible Outback: