Region: Gulf Country

Truly the last frontier in Australia, a trek to the northernmost tip of Australia is the ultimate journey for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts and it isn't difficult to see why. It is a wild and sparsely populated wilderness area that is best visited by visitors during the dry months from April to December, and then preferably with a 4WD vehicle.

Extending from the Great Dividing Range in the east, to the Northern Territory border in the west, the Gulf Savannah region covers an area of 186,000 square kilometres - true safari country featuring golden savannah grasslands abounding with wildlife. The Gulf Savannah, renowned for its distinctive coastline and wild and sparsely populated wilderness, is rich with history of gold rushes, bushrangers and wandering Aboriginal tribes.

Visitors can explore deserted ghost towns and small isolated communities that serve the mining, pastoral and fishing industries. As one travels further west, lush tropical rainforests give way to an ever-changing landscape of open woodlands and savannah grasslands, dramatic volcanic landforms, rugged escarpments and cool, fresh-water gorges.

How To Get There

If heading for the Gulf of Carpentaria by road, it is bitumen all the way to Karumba from Bourke, NSW (1,948km via Mitchell and Landsborough Hwys.), Cairns (752km via Gulf Development Rd) or Brisbane (2,156km via Warrego and Landsborough Hwys. and Burke Development Rd.

If attempting the drive off the bitumen outside of the months of August and September, don't even think about driving it unless you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and have some experience in fording flooded rivers and beating your own path through the bush.

After rain, the roads are generally impassible, so check road conditions before starting your journey.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit the region is between May and November in the dry season. Even then, August and September are the only months to tackle the Cape on your own if you are not an experienced 4-wheel driver. No matter what time of the year, after rain the roads are generally impassible, so check road conditions before starting your journey. You will also need to get permits to camp in certain areas around the Cape York Peninsula, which can be purchased at both the EPA and RACQ in Cairns.

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