The Savannah Way is one of Australia's ultimate adventure drives, traversing the top end of Australia and linking Cairns in Tropical North Queensland with the historic pearling town of Broome in Western Australia, via the natural wonders of Australia's far north. Some sections of the road are suitable for 4-wheel drive vehicles only, but others are sealed, making it possible for anyone with a motor vehicle to complete sections of the drive.
The journey is rich with natural wonders, passing through an amazingly diverse and spectacular landscape of wide horizons, ancient gorges, rock pools, hot springs, and abundant wildlife as well as the endless horizons of the Gulf Savannah and the Northern Territory after which the drive is named.
The route follows a sealed bitumen road on two of its three main sections - between Cairns, Qld and Normanton, Qld, and between Ngukurr, NT and Broome, WA. The road between Normanton and Ngukurr is unsealed and its condition varies with the time of year. On unsealed roads, fine dust can conceal deep potholes and dust reduces visibility. Staying in contact in the outback is vital. While mobile phones will work in many towns, staying in contact by radio, satellite phone or carrying an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is advisable. Always check road conditions prior to travel.
Length: 3,501 km
Suggested return journey: can be driven clockwise or counter clockwise, and is often completed as part of a round-Australia trek in either direction.
Minimum duration (one way): total travelling time is around 48 hours in the dry season, so allow a minimum of 5 days to travel from one end to the other.
Bungle Bungle Ranges
Atherton Tableland; Undara Lava Tubes; Gregory Ranges; Qld Channel Country; Normanton; Lawn Hill National Park; Riversleigh fossil site; Hells Gate; Borroloola; Roper Valley; tip of western Arnhem Land; Mataranka Hot Springs; Katherine Gorge; Timber Creek; Kununurra; Halls Creek; Bungle Bungle Ranges; Geikie Gorge; Windjana Gorge; Tunnel Creek; Broome.
What You Will See
Travelling from east to west, the Savannah Way begins at Cairns, passing through the Atherton Tableland before reaching the Undara Lava Tubes. The drive continues west along the Gulf Developmental Road, through treeless plains of Mitchell grass to Georgetown (gemstone fossicking), Gilbert River, Croydon (old gold mining town) and on to Normanton and Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria.