Gulf Tours from Cairns 2021 - Photo
Gulflander and Savannalander tour packages - Photo
Train trips from Cairns to Gulf Country and Karumba - Photo
Queensland Rail Tours 2021 - Photo

itinerary

Day 1. Sunday – Cairns

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 we board our flight from Cairns to Normanton. On arrival in Normanton, we will transfer to the train station for a 40-minute trip on the RM60, the 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 some free time for lunch at the local pub, we will transfer to Karumba and settle into our accommodation for the next two nights. Overnight: Ash’s Holiday Units or End of the Road Motel, Karumba (B, L, D)

Day 3. Tuesday – Karumba

The morning is yours to enjoy this little town located on the Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s a chance to take a break from the busy schedule to just relax. Walk out to the point or along the estuary or perhaps take an optional morning tour by boat or visit the Barramundi Discovery Centre (both subject to availability). We 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 with a dinner of Gulf mud crab, banana prawns, a specialty fish dish, tropical fruit platters and ice-cold drinks. Overnight: Ash’s Holiday Units or End of the Road Motel, Karumba (B, D)

Day 4. Wednesday – Karumba, Normanton, Croydon, Cobbold Gorge

After 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 bus 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 – Cobbold Gorge

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 a 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 for an Archway Explorer Tour. The Lava Tubes are giant volcanic caverns—the oldest in Australia and the longest on Earth. At sunset, head back to Mount Surprise, and after a hearty roast dinner wander over to the character-filled pub or settle in for some entertainment around the campfire at the village. Overnight: Bedrock Village, Mount Surprise or Undara Experience, Undara (B, L, 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, L, D)

Day 8. Sunday – Cairns, Port Douglas, Cairns

We travel by air-conditioned coach to Port Douglas to shop at the famous Port Douglas Markets. The markets have been trading in locally made handmade goods for almost 20 years – they became a Cotters Market in 1998, guaranteeing that all products are made by the stallholders themselves. We will then ride on the Bally Hooley Steam Train, pulled by one of their two coal-fired steam locomotives, Speedy or Bundy. The locomotives are both over 55 years old, being the Iast ones used by the Mossman Sugar Mill before being replaced by diesel engines to haul the sugar cane from the fields to the region’s mill. We then travel to the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre for a light lunch followed by a walk through the beautiful tropical rainforest in Mossman Gorge itself. Returning to Cairns in the mid-afternoon, enjoy the afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, L)

Day 9. Monday – Cairns, Atherton, Kuranda, Cairns

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we depart for a tour of the lush volcanic region of the Atherton Tablelands. We travel up the ranges south of Cairns to Lake Barrine, an almost perfectly formed crater lake where we experience the rainforest from a cruise boat. We will pre-order lunch before the cruise so that it is ready after exploring this special environment. We will return to Cairns via Mareeba and onto Kuranda, “The Village in the Rainforest”. The Skyrail gondola 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. We should arrive with plenty of time to freshen up and rest before joining Robert and our fellow travellers for 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 10. Tuesday – Tour End

Breakfast is at your leisure in the hotel and then you are free to continue on your way to other awaiting adventures. Tour terminates. All out, all change. Please mind the gap! (B)

dates & pricing

Twin Share Sole Use Departs 2021
$5185 $5870 May 30
Aug 15
Oct 3
  • A deposit of $1000 per person required to secure your reservation
  • Final payment 65 days prior to departure

Highlights & inclusions

  • Three vastly different, character-filled, heritage train journeys
  • Private coach excursions to Port Douglas, Atherton and Croydon
  • Scenic flight over Far North Queensland to the Gulf Country
  • Boat trip to a private sand island in the Gulf for a sunset soiree
  • Fascinating guided Cobbold Gorge and Undara Lava Tube experiences
  • Two days’ gentle travel on the iconic outback Savannahlander train
  • 2 nights at the wonderful Cobbold Gorge resort with excursions
  • Characters, scenery and iconic journeys from the desert to the tablelands and rainforest.
  • 9 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, 3- or 4-star hotels
  • Meals as per itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • Economy Class flight Cairns to Normanton
  • Complimentary drinks with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides
  • Excursion/entrance fees, except those listed as optional in the itinerary

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