Although not strictly part of Cape York, this region is worth exploring. It often forms part of the holiday plan for those who travel from the south. Undara Volcanic and Lawn Hill National Parks are definitely worth visiting if you are travelling across the gulf. Also very popular is the seaside town of Karumba, where the fishing is said to be excellent.
Port Douglas is one of the jewels of tropical north Queensland. After spending a few weeks travelling along the dirt roads of Cape York, it is a wonderful spot to stay for a few days. Once we were refreshed and rested, we headed to the west and had two nights at Undara Volcanic National Park. Within the park's boundaries the Undara Lodge offers motel-style accommodation in old railway carriages, and also has a shady camping area.
|There are numerous self-guided walks close to
the lodge area, but in order to see the lava tubes for which this park is
famous, it is necessary to join a guided tour. During the tourist
season from May to October, the tours are run often during the day.
The rangers offer tours to suit everybody, including full-day
The lava tubes are fascinating to see, and the region's volcanic history makes for a very interesting landscape.
|There are a number of craters within the National Park, and Kal Kari Crater is easy to get to and can be explored without a guide. There is a shady picnic area at the base of the crater, and the walk to the rim is steep, but relatively short and easy.|
|After the long drive across the bottom of Cape York, Normanton is one of the gulf region's most important centres. It is also home to the 'Big Crocodile' which can be admired from the main street.|
|Nestled into the south-east corner of the
Gulf of Carpentaria, the township of Karumba
has become extremely popular with tourists. The caravan park offers
shady, beach-side camp sites, but is very busy, so calling ahead might be
a good idea. Fishing is excellent from Karumba, and day trips are
available with local charter companies. Karumba has many
accommodation options including cabins, holiday homes and a resort.
|We travelled the
Savannah Way across the bottom of the gulf to
Burketown, before heading south towards
Lawn Hill National Park. The road is in very good condition and
winds through open, dry cattle country. There are a number of oases
along the way where the rivers provide a haven for wildlife.
|Near Little Bynoe River you will find a cairn dedicated to Burke and Wills.|
|The Bynoe River is one of the major waterways along the Savannah Way, only about 30 kilometres west of Normanton.|
|Closer to Burketown, the Leichhardt River is another major river system. This rugged and rocky river is a stark contrast to the open savannah of the region.|
|The Burke and Wills Road heads to the south about 20 kilometres east of Burketown. One of the best places to stop on your way to Lawn Hill, Gregory Downs Station has a good roadhouse with supplies, fuel and meals. Behind the roadhouse, there is a camping area on the banks of the Gregory River.|
|Lawn Hill National Park is situated very near the border with the Northern Territory. The Park has been well set up for visitors with information boards, picnic areas and a large campground. The camping area is available by booking only, so you will need to call ahead to make you booking if you wish to stay right in the park.|
|We chose to camp at Adels Grove which is just outside of the park boundary. This is a privately owned park, with excellent camping under the shade of the trees along the Lawn Hill Creek. The waters of the creek are fantastic for a swim. Adels Grove also provide fuel, basic supplies and meals.|
|Lawn Hill National Park covers large tracts of land in far north-west Queensland. The main attraction is Lawn Hill Gorge - a spectacular rich red gorge formed by the Lawn Hill Creek. There are plenty of walking tracks starting from the camping area and they are all well marked and clearly defined on the information boards provided.|
|We chose to do the Indarri Falls walk which takes you to the attractive falls and then along the rim of the stunning gorge. This walk is really worth the effort for the magnificent views of the red cliffs, and green waters below.|
|Another wonderful way to enjoy Lawn Hill is by canoe. They are available for hire at a reasonable rate and you can meander slowly between the towering cliffs of the gorge.|
|On a hot day, it is possible to swim in a number of places. The pool near the Indarri Falls was very inviting. Steps and platforms have also been provided along the creek's edge close to the car park.|
|We also chose to walk to The Cascades for a swim. The water is clear and flows quite strongly through a narrow rocky section of the creek. It is very easy to spend a couple of days here, and a week would not be too long!|