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The Savannah Way

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Sean Scott grabbed his camera and headed for one of Australia’s most spectacular 4WD routes: Cairns to Lawn Hill on The Savannah Way.

We started from just north of Cairns and headed west towards Mount Surprise.

The road from Cairns took us through a very tropical environment but quickly changed to savannah country, and the first stop was to explore the lava tubes in Undara Volcanic National Park. The park has Australia’s longest lava tube and was an awesome experience.

With no moon and no light pollution it was the perfect time to get photos of the night sky, so we camped out there for two nights and absolutely loved it.

Not far from the lava tubes at Undara is the Kalkani Crater.

Checking out the crater at sunrise meant a pre-dawn hike but was well worth doing.

Hidden Gems

The second stop on the trip was Cobbold Gorge, and on the road out we stopped in at Mount Surprise. It was another nice spot on the road and allowed some fossicking for gems at O’Brien’s Creek.

Cobbold Gorge was truly an oasis in the outback on The Savannah Way. The gorge was spectacular from every

angle. You can stand-up paddle board through the gorge, walk over a glass bridge that sits over the main part of the gorge, and/or take a guided tour on an electric boat through the gorge itself. We saw a huge freshwater croc and also took a flight over some incredible sandstone country. The infinity pool in the afternoon just topped it off.

Fish Food

The road out to Karumba is where the outback meets the sea.

It’s right up in the gulf country and an incredibly beautiful part of Queensland. It’s also an epic place for barramundi fishing and, if you’re lucky, there’s a good chance of seeing the famous Morning Glory cloud as well.

One of the world’s most extraordinary meteorological phenomena, the Morning Glory cloud is a shockwave in the atmosphere which can be up to 2km high and attracts glider pilots and hang gliders from all over the world. It’s incredibly spectacular to see.

The sunsets at Karumba and Burketown were beautiful, too. They were some of the best glowing skies I’d ever seen. We also saw crocodiles, emus, kangaroos, birds and got the chance to do some fishing. If catching the fish doesn’t hold so much appeal, there’s also the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, where visitors can hand feed the barra.

The camping was beautiful and cool at night at that time of year, so it was perfect. There were also plenty of places to find and have all on our own.


Boodjamulla National Park was the end of the road for our Savannah Way roadtrip, but it definitely didn’t disappoint. I loved this part of Queensland and there’s just so much to see. The beautiful gorge in Lawn Hill was epic. You can canoe all the way up the gorge and there are camps in the National Park as well.

Just up the road from the gorge is Adel’s Grove, which has some awesome camping areas under a really nice canopy of trees next to the grove, and that allows a retreat from the heat in the middle of the day. Right next to the grove you can relax in the tractor tubes and there’s a rope swing for more adventurous people.

The Savannah Way ticked so many boxes and is a true tropical north Queensland experience. It took me from Cairns to Lawn Hill, and this was only the Queensland leg. It was incredible and I absolutely loved it. I stumbled across many hidden gems along this trip and I think that’s also part of the adventure.

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