From Cairns To Karumba, Normanton, Croydon, Cobbold Gorge, Forsayth, Atherton, Kuranda, Port Douglas. - 9 Nights
- Departing from:
- Karumba, Normanton, Croydon, Cobbold Gorge, Forsayth, Atherton, Kuranda, Port Douglas.
- 9 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 24/09/23 to 04/10/23
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Welcome aboard this character-filled tour, a rare opportunity to explore Far North Queensland’s Savannah country by coach, boat, plane and train featuring Australia’s most eccentric and iconic outback railways. You will fly from Cairns to the Gulf of Carpentaria where your journey continues by train across the wide Savannah on the Gulflander and the The Savannahlander where your journey reveals the rugged outback, over the high tablelands and on down through the rainforest to the coast. Enjoy time in Normanton and Karumba on the Gulf, the stunning Cobbold Gorge, the intriguing Undara Lava Tubes, and finally the holiday hub of Cairns. Your tour is topped off by a day trip to the Port Douglas markets, a journey on the Bally Hooley Steam Railway, and visits to Mossman Gorge and the Atherton Tableland.
Day 1 • Sunday:
Arrive in Cairns and check in to our centrally located hotel. In the evening we’ll meet for a celebratory welcome dinner and drinks.
Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (D)
Day 2 • Monday:
CAIRNS – NORMANTON – KARUMBA
This morning you will be transferred to Cairns airport for our Regional Express flight to Normanton.
On arrival in Normanton, we will transfer to the train station for a 40-minute trip on the RM60*, Normanton Station’s 78-year-old vintage rail motor. One of the highlights is watching the driver start the motor with a crank handle! After exploring Normanton and lunch at the local pub, we will transfer to Karumba and settle into our accommodation for the next two nights.
We then gather in the late afternoon to join the Luxury Sand Island Sunset Dinner Cruise. Our little boat takes off from Karumba out into the Gulf waters. Watch the sky and sea turn to fire while relaxing on Sun Island (tide and weather permitting), an intriguing and completely flat sand cay. We enjoy a light dinner of banana prawns, a specialty fish dish, tropical fruit platters and ice-cold drinks.
*Subject to service running.
Overnight: Ash’s Holiday Units, Karumba (B, L, D)
Day 3 • Tuesday:
This morning after a hearty breakfast, our friends at Karumba host a bird watching boat tour along the river and estuaries including a history of the town from the aspect of the river as the gateway to the Gulf. The rest of the morning is at leisure for you to enjoy the town and take a break from the busy schedule to just relax. You also have the option to visit the Barramundi discovery centre which your tour leader can facilitate.
Dinner this evening is at the popular Sunset Tavern, watching the sun set over the Gulf.
Overnight: Ash’s Holiday Units, Karumba (B, D)
Day 4 • Wednesday:
KARUMBA- NORMANTON – CROYDON – COBBOLD GORGE
After an early breakfast we roll back across the flood plains and grasslands to Normanton and board the legendary Gulflander. Also known as the Tin Hare, the old rail motor has traversed the line between Normanton and Croydon every Wednesday for over a century on a unique line known as, “the line from nowhere to nowhere”. Our driver and guard keep the commentary rolling and the whole experience is a slice of authentic Australian bush travel complete with the odd stop to drop off mail or allow wandering livestock and native animals to cross our path.
We arrive in time for lunch at the Croydon local café and then our coach takes us to the remote out-station of Cobbold Gorge Resort, arriving just after sunset where dinner is hosted on the deck of the restaurant. You are then free to have a nightcap at the bar or wander back to your cabin, marvel at the stars and enjoy the peace and quiet of this wild location.
Overnight: Cobbold Gorge Resort, Cobbold Gorge (B, L, D)
Day 5 • Thursday:
After a hearty bush breakfast, we will join a morning tour and cruise of Cobbold Gorge. Custom-made electric boats glide through the water below the spectacularly sculptured gorge walls in an almost eerie silence, ensuring minimal disturbance to wildlife. There’s every chance of seeing one of the resident freshwater crocodiles!
After lunch we will board our all-terrain vehicle for a tour of Robin Hood Station (supposedly named because it adjoined the Sherwood mining lease), a 1284-square-kilometre cattle grazing property run by third-generation cattleman, Simon Terry and his wife Gaye. On your station tour you will visit the cattle yards, dams and outbuildings, hearing rare insights into the cattle grazing industry and relaxing over a traditional outback ‘smoko’.
You can also take an optional helicopter joy flight to see this spectacular country from the air.
Overnight: Cobbold Gorge Resort, Cobbold Gorge (B, L, D)
Day 6 • Friday:
FORSAYTH – MOUNT SURPRISE
Staff from Cobbold Gorge Tours will transfer us to Forsayth where we board the Savannahlander for the first stage of its 500-kilometre journey to Cairns. Departing Forsayth Station, the terminus of the Chillagoe Railway and Mining Company line built in 1910, the train traverses the Newcastle Range and later, pauses for lunch at the iconic Einasleigh Pub right beside the vast Copperfield Gorge. In the mid-afternoon, the train pulls into Mount Surprise where we will transfer to Undara Volcanic National Park to visit the Lava Tubes, giant volcanic caverns—the oldest in Australia and the longest on Earth. At sunset, head back to Mount Surprise, and enjoy dinner at the village or wander over to the character-filled pub or settle in for some entertainment around the campfire at the village.
Overnight: Bedrock Village, Mt Surprise (B, D)
Day 7 • Saturday:
MOUNT SURPRISE – CAIRNS
The second leg of the Savannahlander journey to Cairns has us boarding early at Mount Surprise. The journey is full of rugged scenery, and we’ll make a few stops: lunch at the Railway Hotel, Almaden; Dimbulah for afternoon tea; Barron Falls and the grand Barron Gorge; and finally, into Cairns in the evening. We will stay at the centrally located Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, D)
Day 8 • Sunday:
CAIRNS – COOKTOWN
After breakfast today we head north to Cooktown. We will reach Cooktown in the early afternoon, after checking in to our hotel, we set off on a walking tour in search of the town’s railway relics. Some elements are still available to be viewed, long after the closure of the railway lines in 1960. This evening enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Overnight: Cooktown (B, L, D)
Day 9 • Monday:
After breakfasting this morning we’ll set out on a walk-through of Cooktown Botanic Gardens. We then head high in the hills outside town on a magical, award-winning rock art tour of ancestral sites, with a local guide. Here they share the stories behind the art and explain how the paintings speak of the essence of life and the lore of their people. Your day of sightseeing ends with a visit to see the coloured sands at Elim Beach. The evening is free at leisure.
Overnight: Cooktown (B, L)
Day 10 • Tuesday:
COOKTOWN – KURANDA – CAIRNS
After breakfast today we head south to Cairns, where you spend your final two nights on tour.
The journey takes us out in the hinterland of the Palmer River stopping at Bob’s Lookout which offers a wide vista of views back towards Mount Lewis and Mount Carbine and over towards Mount Mulligan. We also have some down time at the Palmer River Roadhouse.
We will reach Kuranda “The Village in the Rainforest” in the early afternoon. There is time to explore this iconic rainforest clad town before we take the ever-popular Kuranda Skyrail Gondola down the mountain. It is a special experience that takes us down to the coastal plain, flying over the canopy of the rainforest and marvelling at the wonderful views across the ranges and out over the Coral Sea. Our coach will be waiting at the bottom to transfer us back to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, L)
Day 11 • Wednesday:
CAIRNS – ATHERTON HERBERTON – CAIRNS
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart for a tour of the region of the rich Atherton Tablelands. We start by travelling south across the Sugar Cane fields then up the steep Gillies Highway to the lush forests and farming country of the tablelands. First stop is the excellent Mining Museum and then we take the short run to meet the team at the Herberton Historic Railway Museum. Here we learn about the restoration work and history of the railways of the tablelands before sampling it ourselves with a run along the old line to the astounding Historic Village. You have time to explore the vast collection and witness a variety of big machines in action. We return via Mareeba and the mountain road back to Cairns.
We should arrive with plenty of time to freshen up and rest before enjoying a delicious three-course farewell dinner at the scrumptious Raw Prawn on the colourful Cairns esplanade.
Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, L, D)
Day 12 • Thursday:
Breakfast is at your leisure in the hotel and then you are free to continue on your way to other awaiting adventures. Tour terminates. (B)
- 12 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, 3- or 4-star hotels
- All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
- Breakfast Daily, 7 lunches and 9 dinners
- Complimentary drinks with welcome and farewell dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides and your experienced and knowledgeable host
- Economy Class flight Cairns to Normanton, 15 Kilo luggage allowance
- Excursion/entrance fees except those listed in the itinerary as optional
- Drinks with meals (except for welcome and farewell dinners)
- Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
- Transport to/from Cairns for tour start and end
- Travel insurance