The Savannah Way is the passage of roads that links Cairns in Far North Queensland with Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley. The 3700 kilometre route links 15 National Parks and five World Heritage areas.
In order to remain on sealed roads, a requirement for campervan and car rental, our itinerary varies slightly from the Savannah Way without detracting from the experience and will take you through a 4000km top end odyssey.
Distance: 4025km Download: Cairns to Broome self-drive itinerary
This journey should only be undertaken during the dry season and not the wet when roads are often impassable. Rental vehicle companies do impose restrictions on where and when their vehicles can be utilised – check before travelling.
Planning is important, be prepared. As you will be travelling in remote areas with limited mobile phone coverage in some areas it is critical that you take important supplies with you including spare water, food and any prescription medication. The
Pick up your campervan or car in Cairns today. Allow at least an hour in order to familiarise yourself with the vehicle before you leave the branch.
Cairns is home to many of the natural wonders found in Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef. Try snorkelling amongst the vibrant reef and colourful fish, or visit Green Island an hour or so ferry ride out of the Cairns Marina.
just north of Cairns can be found Palm Cover, Port Douglas and the Mosman Gorge leading up to the Daintree Rainforest one of the world's oldest and untouched rainforest habitat.
Stay: Cairns Holiday Park
Depart this morning and follow the National Highway A1 to Gillies Highway/ Riverstone Road/ State Route 52 in Gordonvale. Continue along the Gillies Highway/ State Route 52 to Malanda. Continue to Minnamoolka. Continue on National Route 1 to Undara.
Explore the Undara Lava Tubes, large underground walkways. Climb down into the depths of this volcanic rock and see this natural geological wonder for yourself. They are the world’s longest and largest tubes, and transport you back to the time of the dinosaurs. There are also plenty of bushwalks and opportunities to spot some wildlife, especially at sunset.
Distance: : 262 km, 3 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Outback Caravan Park and Camp Ground
Depart this morning and take the National Route 1 and Forsayth-Georgetown Road to Forsayth.
Take a cruise through Cobbold Gorge and float peacefully by the ochre cliffs. The tour guide will take you through the geological and natural features of this sacred place, with added bonus of spotting some local wildlife including crocodiles. After your tour, try one of the many bushwalking trails, which will provide some great opportunities to go bird watching and take photos.
Distance: : 184 km, 2 hours 15 minutes
Stay: Forsayth Tourist ParkDay 4. Forsayth to Normanton
Depart this morning and return to Forsayth-Georgetown Road. Continue onto St George Street. Turn left onto National Route 1, and stay right to remain on it. Turn right at National Route 1/ National Route 83 and follow until Normanton.
Take a ride on the Heritage listed Gulflander, affectionately know as the ‘Tin Hare’. Speed through some of the most untouched pieces of land, from the wetlands to the orange Savannah territory. Take the Billy Tea and Damper tour for a truly authentic Australian experience during your afternoon tea of Billy tea, coffee, damper and scones.
Whilst in town, take a selfie with Krys the Crocodile, a lifelike replica of the largest crocodile to be caught in Normanton. It will shock you how large the animals can get, longer than most humans.
Distance: : 343 km, 4 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Normanton Tourist Park
Depart this morning and head southwest on the National Route 83 towards Haig Street. Turn left onto National Highway A2. Turn left onto Sheaffe Street and then turn right into Cloncurry.
Cloncurry has two great museums to offer for people passing through. The first one is the John Flynn Place, which honours John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The service aims to provide medical assistance to those who live in remote places. The museum also commemorates the early pioneers of radio, and the work of Alfred Traeger, who invented radio that can be used in the outback.
The second museum is the Cloncurry Unearthed Visitor Centre and Museum. Here, you can learn the histories of the town, including the adventures of the explorers Burke and Wills. You can even see Burke’s own water bottle, as well as photos and other memorabilia.
Distance: : 383 km, 5 hours
Stay: Discovery Parks – Cloncurry
Depart this morning and take the National Highway A2 to Camooweal.
Camooweal is the last town before heading into the Northern Territory, with a population of only 197. The Camooweal Caves are just south of the town, where a series of caves have developed over millions of years. However, experienced climbers should only climb these caves. Enjoy relaxing in the remoteness of a small outback town, and watch the sun set over the sparse arid ground.
Distance: : 311 km, 3 hours 15 minutes
Stay: Camooweal Roadhouse Motel & Caravan ParkDay 7. Camooweal to Barkly Homestead
Depart this morning and head west on the National Highway A2 towards Austral Street. Continue onto National Highway 66 and cross into the Northern Territory until you reach Barkly Homestead.
Take in the Northern Territory and the outback at the Barkly Homestead. Enjoy seeing native animals run in the wild, or watch a world-famous sunset. Have dinner at the Barkly Bar and Grill, and have one of their popular steaks. Recharge and ready yourself for the driving of the next day.
Distance: : 450 km, 4 hours 50 minutes
Stay: Barkly Homestead
Depart this morning and return to the National Highway 66. Turn right onto National Highway 87. Continue along National Highway 1 until you reach Daly Waters. This is the longest stretch.
Daly Waters is the original Australian pub. Nowhere else will you find something so quintessentially Australian. From the décor, to the food and people, you will find Daly Waters becoming a second home. They serve the classic Aussie meals such as parmas and steaks, but also don’t be afraid to try some kangaroo or crocodile.
Distance: : 567 km, 6 hours 15 minutes
Stay: The Daly Waters Pub
Depart this morning and take the National Highway 1. Turn right onto Chamber Drive, and then left onto First Street to enter Katherine.
Discover Katherine through its waterways, and take a cruise through the mighty Katherine Gorge. View the landscapes as it slowly changes throughout your journey in Nitmiluk National Park, and try and spot the local wallabies. If you’re up for something more adventurous, hire a canoe or kayak, and drift along the water.
The Top End is notorious for its crocodiles, so why not take a croc-spotting tour and see them for yourself. Visit one of the crocodile farms and research facilities, and watch the crocodiles jump out of the water as they are fed. A terrifying but mysterious animal, you will learn about its history in the indigenous culture, as well as the protective measures in place for the animals.
Distance: : 273 km, 3 hours
Stay: BIG4 Katherine Low Level Caravan Park
Depart this morning and head southwest on Giles Street towards National Highway 1. Turn right onto National Highway 1, and follow until you reach Timber Creek.
Timber Creek is the perfect place to stop off before reaching Western Australia. Relax in the Gregory National Park, and maybe even have a go at a spot of fishing. Recharge and refuel before heading out driving the next day.
Distance: : 286 km, 3 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Wirib Store & Tourism Park
Depart this morning and head northwest on National Highway 1 towards Wilson Street. Turn right onto Messmate Way and follow until you reach Kununurra in WA.
Take a trip to the El Questro Wilderness Park and see everything, from waterfalls and rainforests, to sandstone ranges and gorges. Try one of their self-guided hikes along the Emma Gorge Trail. The 1-hour walk takes you up close to the 65 metre high waterfall, where you can have a swim to cool off from the day.
Distance: : 228 km, 2 hours 40 minutes
Stay: Discovery Holiday Parks – Lake Kununurra
Depart this morning and head south on Coolibah Drive towards Banksia Street. Take a left onto Ivanhoe Road, and then right onto the National Highway 1. Turn left onto the Great Northern Highway/ National Highway 1, and look for signs to Halls Creek.
Head northeast and visit the Bungle Bungle Range in the Purnululu National Park. The Bungle Bungles are giant orange and black striped beehive shaped mounds that change colours during the day as the sun passes over them. Explore the terrain on foot and try some of the bushwalking trails in the park, including the Piccaninny Gorge Lookout. Here you can see great views of the Bungle Bungle Range, and the gorge below.
Distance: : 359 km, 3 hours 40 minutes
Stay: Halls Creek Caravan Park
Depart this morning and head southwest on National Highway 1 towards Hall Street. Turn right onto Forrest Road, and you will reach Fitzroy Crossing.
Fitzroy Creek is in the perfect place to see many natural wonders, found in the surrounding national parks. Visit the Tunnel Creek National Park and explore the 750-metre limestone tunnel, as carved out by the water. Take a flashlight and get ready to have wet feet as you climb through the cave underneath. Some permanent pools of water are home to freshwater crocodiles. Freshwater crocodiles are usually harmless, provided you do not annoy them. However, there is nothing wrong with remaining cautious.
The Geike Gorge National Park is only 20 km outside of Fitzroy Crossing, and has some beautiful walking and swimming spots to enjoy. Walk along the sandbanks, and maybe try some fishing. Once again, freshwater crocodiles can be spotted in this area, so remain cautious of your surroundings.
Distance: : 289 km, 2 hours 50 minutes
Stay: Fitzroy River Lodge & Caravan Park
Depart this morning and return to the National Highway 1. Continue along Broome Street, and at the roundabout, take the first exit onto Short Street. At the next roundabout, take the first exit onto Carnarvon Street. At the final roundabout, take the second exit onto Chapple Street/ Grey Street.
Spend the day at Cable Beach, one of Western Australia’s premiere beaches. The pristine sand and turquoise waters contrast with the red ochre cliffs, and produces a magical landscape perfect for photos. The beach stretches for 22 kilometres, so you are sure to find your own peaceful place to enjoy the sunset. For something a little different, take a camel ride tour at sunrise or sunset.
Allow up to 60 minutes to return your campervan.
Distance: : 396 km, 4 hours
Stay: Cable Beach Caravan Park
DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans. DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only.
Special caution and planning should be taken when travelling in remote areas to ensure sufficient provisions, fuel and prescribed medicines are carried.
Weather conditions can make sealed roads impassable particularly during the northern Wet season. All rental vendors in Australia have restrictions on where their vehicles can be taken, therefore it is recommended that you consult with your vehicle provider on your intended journey when collecting your vehicle. Travelling where restrictions are imposed voids all insurance cover.
You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk.