Spinifex, Sand and Savannah - Big Red to Cairns

Travelling to Cairns has never been quite such an adventure as our eXperienced eXpedition10 crew has planned for this 14 day tour to Tropical North Queensland.

An adventure which begins with flights into Birdsville joining eXpedition10’s ten seat 4X4 small group tour vehicle and support truck which trek north into the savannah crossing vast cattle propertires, then east to reach the tropical coast from Cooktown to Cairns


  • Boulia and Mount Isa
  • Lawn Hill Gorge
  • Burketown and Karumba in the Gulf.
  • Ride the Gulflander
  • eXplore Cobbold Gorge and Undara Lava Tubes,
  • visit Atherton Tableland and Chillagoe
  • fossick for gold in Palmerville
  • Cookdown
  • The Bloomfield Track
  • Daintree Rainforest.

A true eXpedition that promises adventure and magnificent sights - and so much more.

13 days
Maximum Tour Size

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Spinifex, Sand and Savannah (Spinifex_Sand_Savannah.pdf, 751 Kb) [Download]

Day 1           Sunday, 1 May 2022                

Home to Birdsville                                          Meals D

Board your flights today in Brisbane or Toowoomba bound for Birdsville. On arrival, meet you eXpedition10 crew for an onboard orientation tour of Birdsville and a trip to the edge of the Simpson Desert. Watch the sun set from a beautiful outback ridge before returning to town. Tonight you will have a chance to catch up with the locals and fellow travellers at the iconic Birdsville Hotel.

Accommodation Birdsville


Day 2           Monday, 2 May 2022              

Birdsville to Betoota/Boulia                        Meals BLD

Travel north today from Birdsville, passing through some massive cattle properties enroute to Boulia. About half-way through todays journey take a break in one of just three town in the Diamantina Shire - Bedourie (The other two towns are Birdsville and Betoota). Bedourie sits right beside Eyre Creek, in fact during big wets, Bedourie can be surrounded by water and be cut off for weeks at a time. Continuing north, arrive in Boulia and a visit to the Min Min Encounter Centre to learn all about the eerie min min lights, unexplained balls of glowing light which have appeared to travellers in this area for decades.

Accommodation Boulia


Day 3           Tuesday, 3 May 2022              

Boulia to Mount Isa                                       Meals BLD

North of Boulia, take a break in the tiny town of Dajarra. Dajarra was once a thriving transport hub with drovers bringing cattle from as far away as Western Australia to load them on the train. The railway line has long been abandoned but there is still many reminders Dajarra was a railway town. From Dajarra we will take the ‘road less travelled’ to Mount Isa. The former mining town of Duchess still has a pub but little else – and a population you could count on one hand! You can’t drive through here without stopping for a chat at the Duchess Hotel. From Duchess, follow closely to the Great Northern Railway which runs from Townsville to Mount Isa.

Accommodation Mount Isa


Day 4           Wednesday, 4 May 2022       

Mount Isa to Lawn Hill                                   Meals BLD

Take in the view of Mount Isa from the lookout before departing toward Camooweal. Turning from the Barkly Highway we will head north now toward the Riversleigh World Heritage Site, known for fossil deposits among the richest and most extensive in the world, with some fossils dating back 25 million years. Take a one kilometre walk through the park, keeping an eye open for fossils embedded in the rocky outcrop. Not too far from Riversleigh is one of Queensland’s ‘hidden gems’, Lawn Hill Gorge, home for the next two nights.

Accommodation Lawn Hill – eXpedition10 tents


Day 5           Thursday, 5 May 2022            

Lawn Hill    Meals BLD

With magnificent views, a deep gorge with waterfalls, an array of flora and fauna, walking trails, canoeing, swimming and much more, Boodjamulla National Park has so much to offer. We know you will enjoy your stay in Lawn Hill Gorge.

Accommodation Lawn Hill – eXpedition10 tents


Day 6           Friday, 6 May 2022                  

Lawn Hill to Burketown                                Meals BLD

After a relaxing start to the day, we bid farewell to Lawn Hill and travel further north into the Gulf Country depending on road conditions our route to Burketown will be via Gregory Downs or Doomadgee. Upon arrival in Burketown, check into your accommodation then take a drive around this town known for its interesting roll cloud formations. Tonight, eXpedition10 have arranged an exclusive sunset cruise on the Albert River complete with gourmet food platter, beer, wine and soft drinks. Your guide will share dreamtime stories and traditional knowledge of the local Gangalidda people along with unique insights into the local river system with its diverse range of animals and birdlife.

Accommodation Burketown


Day 7           Saturday, 7 May 2022             

Burketown to Karumba                                Meals BLD

Many explorers have ventured into this region in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Savannah with several features bearing their names. Today we will see several such features. We will depart Burketown named after Robert O’Hara Burke, then pause at picturesque Leichhardt Falls, cross the Flinders River before visiting the site of Burke and Wills Camp B/CXIX. Arrive in Normanton, home of the Gulflander – a railmotor affectionately known as "the old Tin Hare". Visit the Normanton railway station and statue to a former, very large local named Krys then, after a fairly short drive, arrive in Karumba for another two night stay.

Accommodation Karumba


Day 8           Sunday, 8 May 2022                

Karumba    Meals BD

Two options are available this morning in Karumba, a relaxing morning to sleep in or, as Karumba has a reputation as a fisherpersons paradise, get up early to join an optional fishing charter. Following lunch visit the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre & Hatchery for a guided tour. This interactive and state of the art Interpretive Centre provides the history, stories, lifecycle and habits of these sought-after fish. Tonight, dinner will be at the Sunset Tavern and as the name suggests is set up in the perfect location to enjoy magnificent sunsets over the Gulf.

Accommodation Karumba


Day 9           Monday, 9 May 2022              

Karumba to Palmerville                                Meals BLD

Leaving the ocean behind us today, travel inland in a north easterly direction to Dunbar Station to join the Burke Developmental Road which follows closely beside the Mitchell River. This region of Cape York boasts massive cattle stations, one on which we will be staying on for the next two nights. The Palmer River flows through Palmerville Station giving the station its name. Palmerville Station is also home to the Palmer goldfields with the ruins of Maytown and several mines still accessible. Tonight we will be staying a prospectors camp in the heart of the goldfields.

Accommodation Palmerville Station


Day 10         Tuesday, 10 May 2022            

Palmerville                                                        Meals BLD

There is a modern day gold-rush happening right now in Palmerville. Hundreds of visitors come here armed with metal detectors and gold pans hopeful of unearthing a fortune in gold – and many do! Today is your turn to ‘hit the jackpot’, or at least have the best possible chance of doing so. We have arranged for professional prospectors to take you into the goldfields and show you how to use gold detectors and point you in the best direction to find gold. Good Luck!

Accommodation Palmerville Goldfields


Day 11         Wednesday, 11 May 2022     

Palmerville to Cooktown                             Meals BLD

With all of your gold securely packed away, wave goodbye to your new found gold-mining buddies and depart, bound for Lakeland where local property owner Peter, will show us around his place. Peter has recently completed a massive dam project which will provide irrigation for some of the banana and fruit growers in the Lakeland region. From Peter’s, travel to Cooktown for yet another two night stay.

Accommodation Cooktown


Day 12         Thursday, 12 May 2022          

Cooktown Meals BD

Captain James Cook visited Cooktown in 1770 when he beached his ship, the Endeavour for repairs. The local river bears the name of his ship. Hear today the story of how Captain Cooks visit led to his first recorded meaningful contact and reconciliation with Aboriginal people. During this visit call in to Reconciliation Rocks, the James Cook Museum then admire Cooktown’s surrounding views from Grassy Hill Lookout.

Accommodation Cooktown


Day 13         Friday, 13 May 2022                

Cooktown to Daintree                                  Meals BLD

The drive from Cooktown to Wujal Wujal on the Bloomfield River and beyond is an unforgettable experience, full of spectacular views, creek crossings and this will be your route to Daintree today. First stop from Cooktown will be at the lookout at Black Mountain, an imposing mountain range of massive granite boulders. Pause once again at the Lions Den Hotel, a refreshment stop for travellers since 1875. At Wujal Wujal, a local guide will lead you into the majestic falls before we set off through the often steep and windy track to Cape Tribulation. Just prior to arriving at you accommodation, enjoy a relaxing wander along the Kulki Boardwalk, keeping an eye out for Cassowary which are often spotted in this region.

Accommodation Heritage Lodge Daintree Forest




Day 14         Saturday, 14 May 2022          

Daintree to Cairns                                           Meals BL

Your accommodation is right in the heart of pristine rainforest and it would be disappointing not to spend time exploring here. Well, we have arranged a special guide this morning to take you an a walking tour through the forest. Following the tour, visit Thornton Beach for a bit to eat and some beach time, then board a wildlife cruise on the Daintree River. Sit back and relax now on the drive to Cairns along a road with wonderful coastal views. A very relaxing way to finish your incredible eXpedition.



  • Brisbane to Birdsville
  • Cairns to Brisbane


  • Spacious 10 seat 4X4 Touring Coach
  • Fully Equipped 4X4 Support Vehicle


  • 11 nights Motel/Hotel/Cabins
  • 2 nights in eXpedition10 tents with beds and linen


  • 13 Breakfasts
  • 11 Lunches
  • 13 Dinners

All Attractions listed in itinerary (other than those stated optional)


13 days
Maximum Tour Size
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