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Cairns to Broome Via the Savannah Way

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The Savannah Way captures some of the most incredible scenery Australia has to offer and is a popular route for those looking to rent a travel van to explore Australia.

Beginning in the tropical northern city of Cairns, this Savannah Way Australia road trip covers 3700+km over 14 days, finishing in the pearl farming town of Broome in Western Australia. Experience the incredible beauty of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, the monsoonal rainforests and thermal pools of the Northern Territory, and the rugged red outback of Western Australia, all in this ultimate Top End road trip.

Top Tip: As these northern regions experience very heavy wet seasons in the summer months, it's a good idea to book this trip between May and October to ensure the weather is at its best for your Australia road trip.

Travel

14 days


Route

Cairns to Broome

3880km


Best Time of the Year

May to October

Highlights

  • Undara Volcanic National Park
  • Cutta Cutta Caves
  • Nitmiluk National Park
  • Katherine Hot Springs

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Day 1
Cairns to Undara

Distance 260km - Driving Time 3 hours 25 minutes

Pick up the camper at the Cairns maui branch and spend a day exploring this tropical Queensland city. Some of the best things to do in Cairns include:

  • Babinda Boulders. An iconic attraction, Babinda Boulders has fast-flowing creeks that are perfect for swimming
  • Mount Whitfield Conservation Park. Featuring a range of amazing hiking tracks and patches of eucalyptus forest, Mount Whitfield Park is a must visit
  • Cairns Botanic Gardens. Get up close and personal with some of the most beautoful tropical plants in Australia. The Cairns Botanic Gardens is great spot for a picnic
  • Salt House. Salt House is a very popular place to stop for a bite to eat
  • Cairns Lagoon. It can get pretty hot in Cairns. A great option is to wake up for an early morning dip at Cairns Lagoon

For the first night, a great place to stay is Cairns NRMA Holiday Park. If you want to extend your Cairns holiday and spend a little more time exploring Queensland, Australia, another great place to stay is Babinda Boulders camping area. This campsite is easily one of the best secret camping spots in Australia and worth a visit.

Once you’re ready to head out, it’s time to drive 3 hours and 25 minutes inland to Undara Volcanic National Park and spend the afternoon exploring the Undara Lava Tubes. These lava tubes are one of Australia’s greatest geological wonders, boasting the best-preserved and largest lava tubes system on earth.

Settle in and experience the quiet of bushland camping at Undara Caravan Park for the night.

Day 2
Undara to Forsayth

Distance 274km - Driving Time 4 hours

Get up at a reasonable hour and drive 4 hours and 272km to the pioneering country in Forsayth. This town is about as small as they come, with a total of 75 permanent residents. But for a sleepy town, it still has quite a bit to see and do, inclduing:

  • Cobbold Gorge. See the beathtaking natural wonder that is Cobbold Gorge. It’s got great bushwalking, mountain biking and canoeing
  • Stand up paddle boarding. While you’re in the Gobbold Gorge area, have a go at stand up paddle boarding between the sandstone walls
  • Rail tour. Take a rail tour on a rail motor from the 1960s. This is a great way to see the area

Once you’re done for the day, stay at Cobbold campground. For dinner, grab a bite at the licenced bar and bistro overlooking the infinity pool.

Day 3
Forsayth to Normanton

Distance 342km - Driving Time 4 hours 30 minutes

Start the day with the 4.5-hour drive to Normanton covering 342km. This town is best known for its purple pub, but there are a few other tourist favourites worth checking out, including

  • Normanton Rodeo. If you’re in the area in June, Normanton Rodeo is a must see with great entertainment and horse action
  • Mutton Hole Wetlands. If you’re visiting Normanton between November and April, see how the Mutton Hole Wetlands come alive. Bird watching is amazing here
  • Krys the Croc. Get your picture taken with the largest saltwater croc that’s ever been caught in the country. Well, not the real thing, but Krys is a lifesize statue

Now that you’ve finished exploring for the day, stay at Normanton Tourist Park for the night.

Day 4
Normanton to Hells Gate Roadhouse

Distance 495km - Driving Time 5 hours 30 minutes

The Normanton to Boroloola section of the Savannah Way is unsealed and recommended for 4WD only. Luckily 2WD campervans can take the scenic 5.5-hour route via Hells Gate that covers 496km.

Once you arrive, grab a campsite at Hells Gate Roadhouse and see this landscape from above with a scenic flight over the area. When you return, you can choose to have a bite to eat at the roadhouse or head back to your motorhome for a home-cooked meal.

Day 5
Hells Gate Roadhouse to Borroloola

Get an early start to the day to drive the 8 hours and 50 minutes to Borroloola, taking lots of breaks in between. When you do arrive, pop into Waralungku Arts to explore the wide range of arts and crafts, including paintings, sculptures, jewellery and traditional craft items.

Take a well-deserved break after a long day of driving and sit down for a pub-style meal at Savannah Way Motel. Once you’re fed and watered, settle into your campsite at McArthur River Caravan Park for the night.

Day 6
Borroloola

Day 7 brings us the official halfway point in the Savannah Way, making it the perfect day to rest and recuperate. Spend the day enjoying the very best of Borroloola, including:

We think that McArthur River Caravan Park is such a great place to stay if you wanted to park up another night.

Day 7
Borroloola to Daly Waters

Distance 390km - Driving Time 5 hours 30 minutes

Begin the day by driving 5.5 hours to Daly Waters. When you arrive, stop in for lunch at the famous Daly Waters pub. This spot can be easily spotted by the vivid pink flowers in bloom over the entrance. Dine amongst the eclectic mix of memorabilia that adorns the interior walls featuring anything from Irish football jerseys to bras. Then continue exploring the surrounding attractions, including:

Park up for the night at the Daly Waters Pub. Not only do they do great food, but it’s also a great place to stay.

Day 8
Daly Waters to Katherine

Distance 276km - Driving Time 2 hours 55 minutes

Farewell Daly Waters as you drive the 2 hours and 53 minutes to Katherine. Take advantage of the shorter driving day by exploring the natural attractions surrounding Katherine, including:

  • Mataranka. Stop in on the way to Mataranka to swim in the natural thermal pools
  • Cutta Cutta Caves. Stop by the Cutta Cutta Caves to see the limestone stalactite formations 15 metres below the surface
  • Nitmiluk National Park. Visit Nitmiluk National Park to visit Crystal Falls and swim in the rock pools
  • Poprocket Cafe. Eat at Poprocket Cafe. It has a fantastic menu

Once you have finished exploring for the day, grab a powered camping site at Big4 Katherine for the night.

Day 9
Katherine

Enjoy another restful day exploring the small-town charm, history and Aboriginal culture of this region with another day in Katherine, Australia. Some more great attractions include:

Stay at Big4 Katherine for another night and spend the evening relaxing in the on-site spa for your last night in the Northern Territory.

Day 10
Katherine to Kununurra via Timber Creek

Distance 515km - Driving Time 5 hours 20 minutes

Drive 5 hours 20 minutes to Kununurra crossing into Western Australia, stopping in Timber Creek on the way. There are plenty of incredible things to see and do along this leg of the trip, including:

  • Judbarra National Park. Stop by the Judbarra National Park and do the escarpment walk
  • Gregory’s Tree. Check out Gregory’s Tree. Find out why this tree has historic and cultiral significance
  • Timber Creek Police Station. Wander the Timber Creek Police Station. This is an interesting historic site
  • Lake Argyle. Keep an eye out for freshwater crocodiles at Lake Argyle. There’s over 30,000 of them!
  • El Questro Wilderness Park. Check out El Questro Wilderness Park to see thermal springs and waterfalls
  • Mirima National Park. Wander Mirima National Park and check out the beautiful rock formations
  • Hoochery Distillery. Visit the Hoochery Distillery for a tour and something to eat at the cafe

Grab a campsite at the central waterfront Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park for the night.

Day 11
Kununurra to Warmun

Distance 198km - Driving Time 2 hours

If you have time before you leave town, check out the Diversion Dam and Kununurra Museum. Then drive 2 hours to Warmun and spend the afternoon exploring this small Aboriginal settlement. Things to look out for include:

  • Warmun Art Centre. Get inspired at Warmun Art Centre
  • Bungle Bungles. Check out the Bungle Bungles and all the incredible rock formations
  • Piccaninny Creek. Visit Piccaninny Creek area to complete the walks, including The Domes and Cathedral Gorge

Once you’ve had a look around, stay at Warmun Roadhouse. Use the BBQ to cook up a tasty meal.

Day 12
Warmun to Fitzroy Crossing

Distance 450km - Driving Time 4 hours 40 minutes

Start the day by driving 4 hours and 40 minutes to Fitzroy Crossing. This outback town sits on the banks of the vast Fitzroy river and is the perfect base to explore the surrounding attractions, including:

Make your way back into town to stay at the Fitzroy River Lodge. Enjoy a locally inspired meal or choose from a range of Australian classics in their riverside restaurant.

Day 13
Fitzroy Crossing to Broome

Distance 396km - Driving Time 4 hours

Drive the final 4 hours to Broome, where the desert meets the ocean. Brush off the red dirt and experience some of the most popular Australian attractions of this region, including:

Once you have finished exploring this oceanside town, it’s time to drop the camper to maui Broome branch and head home.

Ready for a three-state adventure through the Savannah Way?

A campervan trip from Cairns to Broome has it all, from long stretches of outback to golden sandy beaches. Pick up the camper in Cairns or enjoy this trip in reverse from Broome. If you’re ready for your Savannah Way adventure, check out our range of premium vehicles and book your motorhome today.

If you're looking for other places to visit and aren't sure if they are motorhome-friendly, download the road trip itinerary planner thl Roadtrip App for great tips for travelling around Australia. If you’re looking for more inspiration you can also check out our travel guides.