The Savannah Way

Leaving Kakadu marked the start of our trip across the Savannah Way. This is a series of roads that lead you from Broome all the way to Cairns. There are a few different routes you can take and we planned to stick to the gravel roads that ran as close to the Gulf of Carpentaria as much as possible.

On our way to Katherine for the night we stopped at Edith Falls. We would have liked to stay at the campground at the falls but unfortunately it was already full when we arrived at lunchtime. So instead we made a few sangas before beginning the walk up to the falls.


Edith Falls

The falls were lovely however we couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed after all the amazing places we had been on the Gibb River Road and Kakadu.  The crowds of people everywhere probably didn’t help the situation much either. It reminded me a little of Litchfield National Park. Beautiful but too crowded for those of us who enjoy a little personal space and tranquility! To top it all off I slipped on a rock on the way down from the falls and hit my knee on another rock, leaving it bruised and sore but, thankfully, that was all.  Nothing a bag of frozen veges out of the freezer couldn’t fix!

That night we stayed the night in Katherine so we could explore Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) the next day.  At the Gorge,  Lockie and Phil did a walk up to the lookout, while Lily, myself and my still sore knee opted for a easier stroll along the banks of the river. There were cruises and canoe hire also available to take you along the gorge but in this instance we opted to save our dollars. The cost of doing all the touristy stuff can really add up after a while.

That afternoon we made our way South along the Stuart Highway to Mataranka, famous for its thermal springs. We stayed at Bitter Springs for two nights which gave us time to explore and swim in the springs and drive to Mataranka Springs one afternoon to enjoy a swim there as well. Both spots were lovely and we made the most of being able to swim before heading back into croc country and the no swim zone!

Our next stop was Daly Waters. We took a little 320km detour so we could have a night at the infamous Daly Waters Pub.  This little pub in the middle of nowhere is full of memorabilia left there by people who have passed through and enjoyed a session. We enjoyed the equally famous Beef and Barra meal and danced the night away to the live music. The kids had fun finding out about The history of Daly Waters when the barmaid gave them each an activity book which required the kids to explore the pub to find information and fill in the questions in the book. It was a fantastic night and so worth the extra kays to experience it.


Rockin’ out at the Daly Waters


Hangin’ at the Bar

Finally, it was time to set off on the more remote part of our journey along the Savannah Way, The Roper Bar Road. We headed back North to Mataranka where we stopped again for lunch and a few supplies. Then we were off Eastbound on the gravel again. We stopped briefly in Roper Bar and then headed along the river to find ourselves a campsite for the night. We finally pulled into a campground by the Roper River where we had the place to ourselves for the night. It was great to sit around a campfire in such a beautiful spot and not have to worry about the kids being too noisy. We cooked a damper and some potatoes on the coals and thouroughly enjoyed our simple, but delicious dinner! The next morning we awoke to mist settled all around us and over the river, it was a little eerie, especially as it was almost silent as well.

Continuing along The Roper Bar Road and through Limmen National Park, we headed for Lorella Springs Station. Stopping at Towns River, Limmen River Fishing Camp for lunch and at Butterfly Springs for a quick look along the way.


We finally arrived at Lorella Springs Sation in the afternoon and immediately knew that we were going to enjoy a few days there. Some places just have a good feel about them and this was one of those.


Lorella Springs is a working cattle station where you camp pretty much anywhere on the property you like. We set up camp in the main campground near a creek. We had a campfire every night and cooked more damper with some red claw that a guy camped near us had caught in the creek and given to us.


Lunch is served!

One day we took a day trip to explore some of the station, which we were allowed to have free run of.  We drove out to Nudie Hot Springs (thankfully not for nudists!), saw billabongs and drove across the Cascades water crossing.

After leaving Lorella Springs we crossed the Northern Territory Border into Queensland and headed towards Hells Gates Roadhouse.


The closest we could find to a border crossing sign on the Savannah Way!


The next day we continued on to Lawn Hill National Park where we stayed at Adels Grove. We spent two days at Adels Grove where we explored the Lawn Hill Gorge.  We took a walk out to Indarri Falls, which took us along the edge of the gorge and offered some spectacular views of Lawn Hill Creek cutting its way through the gorge.  Slowly we made our way down to the falls where we sat and enjoyed watching the fish, flowing water and people canoeing past.


Indarri Falls and Lawn Hill Gorge

That afternoon we decided to hire some canoes ourselves and went canoeing down the river at Adels Grove.  Lockie tried his hand at fishing at the same time but lost the only bite he got when Phil spotted some pigs on the other side of the bank and took off rowing after them to get a better look!


Lily looking over Lawn Hill Creek at Adel’s Grove

Our next stop along the Savannah Way was Karumba.  To get here we drove up to Burketown and across to Normanton, continuing on to Karumba.  On the way we stopped at Burke and Wills Camp 119.  This was the final camp for the doomed Burke and Wills expedition in their journey North towards the Gulf.  They didn’t get much further than this and left their marks (called Blazes ) on trees around the camp (called ‘Dig Trees’).  Most of the marks are now gone but some of the trees are still standing with little plaques to show which member of the party had carved each tree.


Continuing on to Karumba we arrived for our three night stop in the late afternoon.  It was a lovely little spot, packed to the rafters with seasonal travellers who make the trip every year to fish.  We spent our three days exploring the town and generally enjoying the laid back holiday feel.



Lockie caught two Pikey Brim in the creek as well as a mud crab on his fishing rod.

After Karumba it was time to make our way to Cairns, stopping in at Normanton to check out the huge crocodile replica of the largest croc ever caught in the world  and the Purple Pub.

We then Camped overnight at Mount Surprise on the way to Cairns, a lovely little spot.  The  drive from Mount Surprise to Cairns was fantastic, winding through the Atherton Tablelands.   It was a huge change of scenery from the rest of the Savannah Way!

We finally arrived in Cairns to be greeted by my Mum and Dad (Nanna and Grandad) who were already there and had flown from Perth to catch up with us.  Stay tuned to hear all about our Cairns adventures up in the next blog!

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. You’ve been everywhere man

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great adventure, loving your blogs they are fantastic !!!

    Liked by 1 person

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