The Savannah Lands

The Savannah Lands are as their name implies savanah country - red dirt / rock plains stretching for thousands of kilometres over much of the country. Vegetation is mainly sparse Eucalypts scattered over long grassy outcrops - grey & brown most of the time but surging to lush green after infrequent rainfalls. In fact people living in this region refer to the "wet season" as the "green" season. The terrain is mainly very flat and roads are generally straight & level for upwards of hundreds of kilometres a stretch. The Savanah Lands in the Cairns Region stretch west of the Atherton Tablelands - the main access road being west out of Atherton on the Kennedy Higway and right onto the Gulf Development Rd or west out of Mareeba on the Bourke Development Rd - the two routes meet up at Normanton becoming the Savanah Way and continuing on to Broome in Northern Western Australia after crossing right through the Northern Territory. Distances are huge out here, and it is advisable that only larger vehicles (preferably 4WD) be used. The roads are not all bitumised.

The Savannah lands can also be accessed by train - Queensland rail service runs a railcar service every Wednesday out of Cairns travelling via Mt Surprise (Undara Volcanic Park), Cobold Gorge, Chillago and finishing at Forsayth. The journey takes 4 days but is magnificent and can be combined with a Gulflander trip with a bus transfer between Forsayth and Croydon for the return to Cairns.

The Savannah Lands are not for everyone - those used to living in large densely populated cities can feel a little 'out of their tree' with all the 'openness' and quiet. But there are a number of places of uniqueness and wonder such as the Undara Volavanic Park & Cobold Gorge. And the opportunity to meet the wildlife at home.