Savannah Way, Australia – Family Road Trip Ideas
If you ever wanted to go on a road trip with your family and bond with your children, Savannah Way is probably your best option. It’s arguably one of the ultimate road trip destinations and it’s easy to see why. It stretches across the northern part of the Australian continent, from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia.
Since this journey is too taxing for a family with children, we recommend you take a shorter route that ends in Darwin, Northern Territory. You are up for 2,850 kilometers of awe-inspiring sights, incredible landscapes and interesting towns. If you were to drive without stopping, it’d take you nearly two days to reach Darwin. But this is not about beating a record, this is about having an adventure of a lifetime with your family on the Savannah Way.
Before we start, you should probably prepare yourself for a road trip with kids, take a deep breath and switch to Adventure Mode.
Savannah Way – Day 1
As you begin your road trip out of Cairns, you’ll come across Kuranda National Park fairly quickly – it shouldn’t take more than half an hour. The location belongs to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and you can marvel at the incredible open eucalypt forests. Your children will be excited by the visit to Kuranda Koala Gardens, where they can see these gentle creatures up close. This is also where you’ll take a sharp turn southward and pass through Danbulla South Forest Reserve. If you have the time, visit Lake Tinaroo and bring your family to The Crystal Caves. By the end of the day, you’ll get to Undara National Park, a home to the world’s longest lava tube system. This is where you can sleep over in one of restored railway carriages.
Savannah Way – Day 2
The next morning, don’t miss the “bush breakfast” for a solid intake of nutrients before you continue your journey. You’ll keep going south-westward before you hit Cobbold Gorge. It’s a unique formation you simply have to see – it looks like something out of Lord of the Rings movies. You can also hop on a cruise and take a tour through the gorge. Not long after you’ve left the Cobbold Gorge behind, you’ll turn north until you hit Georgetown, Queensland. This is where you can camp out, if you want, as the town has both a tourist information center and caravan park.
Savannah Way – Day 3
Before you leave Georgetown, pay a visit to TerrEstrial and marvel at its extensive mineral collection. The long stretch of the road will lead you through the heart of the bush. Make sure you have enough water and snacks for your gang. Rest at the old gold mining town of Croydon and enjoy some outback history. The quaint landscapes of orange dirt and twisting trees will lead you to Normanton, a small cattle town in the proximity of the northern Pacific shore. This is where you can hop on the historic Gulflander train with your children. You can continue on to Karumba, jump into the ocean and camp out at the Karumba Sunset Caravan Park with other families.
Savannah Way – Day 4
If you are visiting September through November, continue on to Burketown and rent out a room in a motel. The phenomenon you’ll see in the early morning is called Morning Glory – you’ll witness a spectacular swirl of clouds as they roll above you at the speed of 60 kilometers per hour and spread for as long as eyes can see. Journey on to Borroloola and turn south-west again until you reach Heartbreak Hotel, your first accommodation in the Northern territories. It provides high-quality rooms at affordable prices.
Savannah Way – Day 5
Prepare for a long stretch of the road until you’ve hit Daly Waters at the intersection of the Savannah Way and the Stuart Highway. Make sure to visit the famous pub of this historical town and ask around for more details about the fascinating history of this place. Continue driving north-west until you arrive to Elsey National Park. Take a Botanic Walk through the park and visit Mataranka Falls. Mataranka is a community of circa 400 people, and the town itself has a population of about 250. There is a small art gallery and café where you can see the statue of the character of The Fizzler from the book “We of the Never Never”. You can sleep over in a caravan/camping motel Territory Manor that overlooks a placid pond.
Savannah Way – Day 6
Continue driving north until you’ve entered the territory of Kakadu National Park. The whopping 20,000 square kilometers of unique ecosystem will be a spectacular change after kilometers of dirt road. There are also vibrant Aboriginal communities that live there, and some of the residents will happily show you ancient, mind-blowing rock art. Your children are bound to be fascinated by these. There are bustling camps filled with families from around the world, so use this opportunity to meet interesting people. Finally, drive on north until you finally hit the Pacific and the city of Darwin. Make sure to find convenient and affordable share accommodation and enjoy everything this urban area has to offer. It would be the best if you had at least five more days to spend on the city beaches before you leave via Darwin International Airport.