• New
  • Limited Spaces Available
  • Escorted Tour

North Queensland’s Savannah Explorer

“Vast and historical is one of the better descriptions for the area.”

This is a journey (or more of an adventure) to inland fishing holes, surrounded by country towns rich in mining history and indigenous culture.
Commonly known as ‘The Savannah,’ the region is renowned for spectacular limestone caves and galleries of Indigenous art, the world’s largest lava tubes, rugged sandstone formations and gorges.
At the southern tip of the Gulf of Carpentaria are the settlements of Normanton and Karumba, both relying on the well establish Gulf prawn industry for their survival.
Normanton can also claim the longest intact and operating Burns Philp store in Queensland - the general mercantile store and agency office opening in 1884.

This small group is limited to one sole charter vehicle with an operator of 20 years’ experience.
Travel in a specially designed comfortable 4x4 vehicle that copes well with off-road conditions.
The journey includes some travel by train across the wide Savannah on board the historical ‘Gulflander’ and ‘The Savannahlander.’

The laidback ambience of this North Queensland expanse will captivate.

Your travel itinerary

Tuesday 08 September

Auckland – Cairns

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An early morning departure on Air New Zealand for a direct flight to Cairns. Arrive late-morning and transfer to a centrally-located hotel. Welcome lunch at a local restaurant.

Wednesday 09 September

Cairns – Malanda

Early morning departure travel up the Gillies Range to the Atherton Tableland , stopping at Lake Barrine for a short walk, before travelling on to Herberton. Explore the award-winning Historic Village with more than 50 original buildings, displays, machinery and vehicles, including the schoolhouse, pub and tea rooms. Arrive late afternoon at Malanda Lodge, situated on 11 acres of manicured tropical gardens for a one night stay.

Thursday 10 September

Malanda – Georgetown

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Continue west along the Kennedy Highway towards Mt Surprise where we enjoy lunch and a snake show. Board the ‘Savannahlander’ train with a stop at the former mining town of Einasleigh with time for a beer in the pub or extensive views of Copperfield Gorge. Continue by train to Forsayth and on to Georgetown by coach for a over night stay.

Friday 11 September

Georgetown – Karumba

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Continue west for ‘smoko’ on the shores of Lake Belmore and on to Normanton for lunch. Enjoy famous landmarks including the ‘purple pub,’ Burns Philp General Store, the heritage-listed former warehouse distribution centre from the 1860s and a replica of an 8.63m crocodile. Continue on to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria and enjoy a spectacular sunset cruise.

Karumba and Normanton were the centre of the prawn industry boom in the 60s and 70s in the rich fishing grounds of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Nowadays, restrictions are in place, but the season is still thriving under government control.

Saturday 12 September

Karumba – Lawn Hill

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Return to Normanton with a poignant visit to the Burke & Wills ill-fated expedition camp of 1860s when the group lost their lives in adverse weather conditions returning to Melbourne after reaching the gulf.
We continue across the vast ‘Plains of Promise’ to Leichhardt Falls and Burketown, before arriving at Adel’s Grove for two nights.

Sunday 13 September

Lawn Hill National Park

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A relaxing day enjoying the Lawn Hill National Park, an oasis amid the spinifex-clad Constance Range. Enjoy a cruise up the Lawn Hill Gorge with abundant wildlife, spectacular views of the Indarri Falls and options of swimming or canoe paddle.
Return to Adel’s Grove.

Monday 14 September

Lawn Hill – Normanton

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Today we visit the World Heritage Riversleigh Fossil Fields, a rare treasure of Australian ancient history. Lunch is at Gregory before returning to Normanton.

Tuesday 15 September

Normanton - Cobbold Gorge

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Today we depart from Normanton’s famous Victorian Railway Station on the historic Gulflander RM93 train ride across the Savannah landscape to uniquely-named Critters Creek, Black Bull siding and the former gold mining town of Croydon with time to walk the Heritage Precinct with its wooden buildings, artefacts and outdoor museum. We continue and re-visit Georgetown and Forsayth on the way to Cobbold Gorge.

Wednesday 16 September

Cobbold Gorge – Undarra

Cruise Cobbold Gorge, a beautiful and secluded waterway surrounded by spectacular-carved Hampstead sandstone. Continue on to the famous Undara Lava Tubes, the world’s longest lava flow from a single volcano with huge caves and lava tubes. Enjoy campfire entertainment and accommodation in fully-restored antique railway carriages.

Thursday 17 September

Undarra – Cairns

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After breakfast we have an informative tour of the lava tubes before a scenic and leisurely drive over the tropical Tablelands, stopping off at the magnificent Curtain Fig Tree. Today concludes our 9 day Savannah tour. Overnight in Cairns before departing for Port Douglas.

Friday 18 September

Cairns - Port Douglas

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Leisurely departure from Cairns stopping along the way at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. Arrive in Port Douglas mid-afternoon. Dinner tonight in local restaurant.

Port Douglas: Daintree Rain Forest: Mossman Gorge: sugarcane & coffee plantations: Wildlife Habitat: Four Mile Beach: Flagstaff Hill Lookout or simply relax.

Saturday 19 September

Port Douglas

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Breakfast this morning is with the birds at the wildlife habitat before carrying onto the Mossman Sweet Farm tour for an informative short tour of the sugar cane and coffee plantations. Remainder of day at leisure.

Sunday 20 September

Port Douglas

Day at leisure to continue to enjoy this relaxed resort town and related activities.

Monday 21 September

Port Douglas

Dinner iconDinner

Today the option of a cruise to Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system stretching more than 2,300km along the coastline. Farewell Dinner tonight.

Tuesday 22 September

Port Douglas - Cairns – Auckland

Early morning transfer to Cairns airport for a return flight to New Zealand.


  • Return economy flights with Air New Zealand Auckland – Cairns // Cairns – Auckland
  • 14 nights’ accommodation with en-suite throughout
  • Historic rides on Savannahlander & Gulflander trains
  • Air con 4WD travel
  • International transfers while on tour
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Pukekohe Travel Tour Escort (subject to 20 persons travelling)


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $7,359  $8,979
Early Booking Discount ( 01-03-20) $150
Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount $100

*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment


  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance (please ask us for a quote)
  • Airline and airport taxes (approx $195)
  • Items not specified

Booking Conditions

  • A non-refundable deposit of $800 per person will secure a place on the tour
  • Full payment is due no later than 10 July 2020

Cancellations and Refunds

  • From the date of booking to 10 July 2020– loss of deposit
  • After 10 July 2020– no refund

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is essential. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

General Information


  • A current passport is required, valid six months beyond date of travel
  • No visa is required for New Zealand Passport holders
  • All other passport holders – please ask


  • The Australian Dollar – ATMs available in major towns


How Will You Travel?

There will be a maximum of 23 persons on the 25 seater, fully air-conditioned 4WD Isuzu tour vehicle with panoramic windows, road cam, TV and on-board toilet facilities.
The vehicles are designed for the outback, giving you the opportunity to enjoy Cape York and the Australian Outback in comfort.

The vehicles are also equipped with a portable satellite phone, PA system, first aid kits and off-road equipment.


Ranges from hotel, motel and lodge-style to basic twin share rooms with an en-suite bathroom. The accommodation is the best available in this remote area of Australia.


Continental breakfasts daily. Lunches are picnics of salads, meat and cheese to build your own. Dinners are main course and dessert


Temperatures                          Max                 Min

Cairns                                      28˚c                 20 ˚c   

Karumba                                 34˚c                 20˚c



Luggage space is very limited and should not exceed 10 kg. Please restrict your luggage to one small soft bag (300 x 300 x 700mm) and a day pack per person. NO bags with wheels or hard suitcases. Any excess luggage can be stored at the hotel in Cairns.



Casual gear is a must with a minimal change of clothing. T shirts, shorts, jeans, swim gear, swim towel, rubber-soled sandals or joggers, a warm jumper or jacket, hat, torch, insect repellent. A track suit is most useful.

Health and Fitness

Gulf Savannah tours require a good level of health and fitness. Clients must be independently mobile with the ability to walk unaided on uneven ground.
Clients must be independently mobile.

Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change