Cairns to Normanton – Self Drive Itineraries
Please use the Places to Visit pages on this site to tailor itineraries to your interests and available time. Information Centres can suggest additional experiences for those taking more time to travel.
7 Day Itinerary: Cairns to Karumba
Day 1 – Cairns to Atherton Tableland
Travel from Cairns into the cool Tropical Tablelands to explore some rainforest and waterfall walks. Pick up some local produce including coffee, wine and tea. Drop into the Visitor Information Centres en route to help choose your favourite Tableland experiences and a suitable venue to stay for a night or two. Just 25km south of Ravenshoe, on an unsealed road you can take a short walk to overlook the impressive 293 metre Tully Falls at Tully Gorge.
Day 2 – Atherton Tablelands to Undara
Take a dip in the Innot Hot Springs and visit the Forty Mile Scrub National Park to understand the changing landscape. Turn west onto the Gulf Development Road (Savannah Way) and head to the Savannah Guide Station at Undara for a variety of tour options accessing the largest lava tubes system on earth.
Day 3 – Undara to Mount Surprise
Head from Undara to Mount Surprise ask about fossicking with a guide or just a licence. O’Briens Creek is the most accessible site. Meet some locals at the pub after finding your treasure.
Day 4 – Mount Surprise to Cobbold Gorge
Next stop is Georgetown to see the world-class mineral collection at TerrEstrial, and leave the bitumen to visit the majestic sandstone cliffs of Cobbold Gorge, a Savannah Guide Station located on a privately owned family cattle property.
Day 5 – Cobbold Gorge to Croydon
Stop for a break at the Cumberland Chimney. Built by Cornish masons, it is all that remains of a crushing plant for the surrounding gold mines. The waterhole here is home to abundant birdlife. Walk the historic streets of Croydon Historic Village and drive the 4km to Lake Belmore for a refreshing dip.
Day 6 – Croydon to Normanton
Arrange your trip to include an experience on the Gulflander train (Thursdays Croydon to Normanton) then explore Normanton’s historic past.
Day 7 – Normanton to Karumba
Spot Brolga, Jabiru and Herons between Normanton and Karumba before an afternoon’s fishing or cruising. Finish the day with a glorious Gulf sunset. *If you are returning to Cairns, consider splitting the highlights between your westward and eastward journeys and add an alternate route via Forsayth and Einasleigh.
3 Day Itinerary: Cairns to Karumba
Day 1 – Cairns to Undara
Head through the Tropical Tablelands with a stop at Lake Barrine before reaching the Undara Lava Lodge for an afternoon tour.
Day 2 – Undara to Croydon
Explore the Gulf towns of Mt Surprise and Georgetown’s TerrEstrial Centre on the way to the former gold town of Croydon.
Day 3 – Croydon to Karumba
Stop at Normanton’s historic railway station and perhaps take a short train experience before heading to Karumba for a sunset barramundi dinner.
You’ll find more itineraries here: