Far North Queensland
Far North Queensland
Cultural & Nature Expedition
14 Days Tour
Price TBA - JAN 31st
Monday 28th June to Sunday 11th July 2021
Become immersed in the jungles, rivers and beaches of the wet tropics of Far North Queensland where they meet the reef. Continue from Cooktown flying up the Cape York Peninsula and the Great Barrier Reef, until you land on the idyllic islands of the Torres Strait - all viewed on the world’s longest scenic flight.
Back in Quinkan country, explore with a knowledgeable traditional owner, Aboriginal rock art galleries and attend the internationally recognised celebration of Aboriginal culture, the Laura Dance Festival. The Atherton Tablelands host ancient crater lakes, gigantic trees, wonderous waterfalls and an abundance of birdlife and unique wildlife. Experience the Mamu rainforest canopy skywalk, the enchanting Paronella Park and the Undara Lava Tubes. Explore the picturesque Dunk and Beddara Islands and snorkel and scuba dive the outer Great barrier Reef. Taste sweet delights on “paddock to plate” experiences. Traverse the Gulf Savannah, visiting historic Croydon, before arriving at the “Outback on the Sea” at Karumba to learn about the intriguing Barramundi whilst handfeeding them!
Visit the explorers, Burke and Will’s northern most camp before arriving at Boodjamulla National Park ( Lawn Hill). Be blown away at its beauty whilst relaxing in the rainforest fringed gorge’s crystal clear green waters and marvel at the towering sandstone walls. View 25 million year old Megafauna fossils both in the field at the Riversleigh World Heritage area and in the laboratory at Mt Isa where you will also descend a mine to get a real feel for one of world’s most productive mines.
Day By Day Presentation:
Day 1: Lets Go Troppo
Depart Cairns by private bus along the pretty coastline to Port Douglas. On arrival enjoy a leisurely walk with captivating views before a cooling dip at the beach or in the hotel’s large pool. Taking in the views of the north’s rugged jungle drenched hinterland at sunset whilst aboard an authentic Chinese Junk in full sail off the coast of Port Douglas will have you primed for your Far North Queensland Outback Adventure!
Day 2: A Daintree Dalliance
Travel by private bus into the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, the earth’s oldest at 180 million years old. Cruise the Daintree River by boat observing wildlife including crocodiles, tree snakes, pythons, and birdlife and learning about the natural history and mangrove eco-system. Walk the Jindalba Boardwalk and the Mardja Botanical Rainforest Boardwalk with a picnic lunch enjoyed on a secluded Beach. On to Cape Tribulation for a beach walk at sunset before returning for Dinner.
Day 3: Taking a Captain’s Cook
Commence the day on the Kulki Boardwalk before we head north along the Bloomfield Track taking in the scenery at Cowie Beach and the Bloomfield River. A pristine rainforest rockpool is the picnic venue with a stop at the legendary Lions Den Hotel. View the fascinating Black Mountain, Cooktown’s Botanic Gardens, the James Cook Museum and the renowned local Vera Scarth-Johnson’s artworks. Ascend the Grassy Hill Lookout and Lighthouse for spectacular 360 degree panoramic views at sunset.
Day 4: World’s Longest Scenic Flight
On a full day activity from Cooktown, fly at low level along the outer Barrier Reef. See the big river estuaries and World Heritage rainforests. View the beaches and massive wetlands. Enjoy incredible vistas of the Great Barrier Reef’s islands. Fly over the Australian mainland’s northernmost point, Thursday Island and land on Horn Island in the Torres Strait for lunch and an informative land tour. Take in more stunning scenery on the return flight to Cooktown
Today you will explore rarely seen Aboriginal rock art galleries with traditional owners interpreting their songlines. Learn about traditional bush tucker and medicine. Explore Lakefield National Park, old Laura Station, the mesmerising dune formations of the Coloured Sands at Elim Beach and take a dip in croc free Isabella Falls. On return to Cooktown we will head out to Keatings Lagoon Conservation Park for a spot of late afternoon Birdwatching or just chill out along the fishing town’s interesting waterfront.
Day 5: Ancient Art and Lonely Landscapes
Visit Laura, the central meeting place for Aboriginal people from the Cape York Peninsula. As well as being home to Australia’s most significant collection of rock art, it hosts an internationally recognised celebration of Aboriginal culture, the Laura Dance Festival, the largest cultural gathering of indigenous communities on the Cape York Peninsula. At day’s end we will travel to a rainforest lodge in the Atherton Tablelands for food, a sleep and to reflect on some memorable experiences.
Day 6: Let’s Dance at Laura
Day 7: Critters, Craters & Scenic Vistas
Traverse the Atherton Tablelands and see playful Platypus, dancing Brolgas, cute Tree Kangaroos and nocturnal birds and animals. Enjoy a boat cruise on an ancient crater lake, fringed by waterfalls and forests that host giant trees like the Twin Kauri Trees, the Cathedral and Curtain Fig Trees and the Giant Red Cedar Tree. Travel through an amazing range of farmed produce and walk on ancient trails through lush rainforest.
Day 8: Waterfalls and Wonderlands
View the Milaa Milaa Falls and wet tropics from the Mamu Rainforest Canopy Skywalk.
Experience the dreamworld of Paronella Park’s castle in the rainforest before meandering through stunning scenery to Mission Beach. A boat ride will take you to explore, walk and swim the sandy coves of the beautiful Dunk and Bedarra Islands before returning to the mainland to dine and sleep in accommodation embedded in the rainforest with beachfront access
An early morning rainforest walk will be followed by a full day on the spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel and scuba diving at two separate world class locations that offer some of the healthiest coral and teeming fish life on the Queensland Coast. It will be a fun filled day in an aquatic wonderland. Back on the mainland enjoy a beach stroll at sunset and dinner amongst the rainforest.
Day 9: Great Barrier Reef Discovery
Experience the fascinating journey from “cocoa tree to chocolate bar” at Charley’s Chocolate Factory. Learn all about the local sugar industry and sugar production in a tour of the Tully Sugar Mill. After lunching at beachside Cardwell we will head inland to visit Wallaman Falls, Australia’s highest permanent single drop waterfall. From here you traverse rugged terrain until arriving at the Undara Lava Volcanic National park in the Savannah country.
Day 10: Sweet Hinterland to Rugged Ridges
The day begins with a short bush walk before exploring the Undara lava tubes that acted as conduits distributing lava over 100 km from the crater 190,000 years ago, the longest flow in the world from a single volcano. Lunch at Croydon and discover its rich history of gold mining. Arriving deep in the Gulf Savannah you’ll explore the mouth of the Norman River at Karumba on a sunset boat cruise.
Day 11: Lava Caves & Gulf Savannah
Learn of the mighty Barramundi’s secrets at the Barramundi Discovery Centre where you can hand feed them. Visit Normanton and enjoy a journey on the 80 year old motor rail. Wander through Burke and Wills most northerly camp, Camp 119, established on their arrival at the Gulf in 1861 before tragedy struck their expedition. Crossing the Western Gulf Savannah you’ll arrive at Adel’s Grove, your base from which to explore the Boodjamulla National Park (Lawn Hill).
Day 12: Barramundi and Burke & Wills
Day 13: A Most Gorgeous Gorge
Spend the day exploring this spectacular gorge system with 60 metre sandstone walls and crystal clear green water. Lush remnants of the ancient rainforest fringe the gorge, home to a diverse wildlife, a variety of birdlife and Aboriginal rock art.
Paddle your canoe and swim up to and beyond a cute set of rapids set amongst Pandanus, Livistona Palms and White Cedar trees in one of Australia’s most picturesque and isolated locations.
Day 14: Every Rock Tells A Story
You will travel 50 kms south to the Riversleigh World Heritage area enables you to immerse yourself in an ancient landscape observing rocks embedded with fossils and experience part of a 25 million years old record of life. Arriving later in Mount Isa, you’ll visit the Riversleigh Fossil Centre and Laboratory to unveil the secrets of your morning observations at Australia’s most famous fossil location.
Mount Isa has been home since 1924 to one of the world’s most productive mines. Your underground exploration begins by descending into the Hard Time Mine in the Alimak Cage. Learn how the tunnels are formed by the majestic boom drills and mucking units. Feel the earth rumble with the firing of the blast face. Choose amongst other attractions including the Rodeo Hall of Fame or the large array of Artworks celebrating Outback life before embarking your plane to return home.
Day 15: Unearthing a Rich History
Did You Know ?
Famous for its Aboriginal rock art, Quinkan Country, on the southern rim of Queensland’s rugged Laura sandstone basin in Cape York Peninsula contains a large and dramatic body of prehistoric rock paintings. These galleries have been identified as being at least 15000 to 30000 years old and have been included on the Australian Heritage Estate and listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world. Riversleigh World Heritage Area has provided more knowledge on mammal evolution in Australia than any other fossil site. The bluff, once part of a large rainforest lake, encases hundreds of fossils and is a 25 million-year-old representation of creatures that lived here.
One of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet, so big it’s visible from space. At 348,000 Km2 , the World Heritage Listed area, is slightly more than the 344,400 km2 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park because it also includes some 980 islands, internal waters, intertidal areas and other state waters. 7% of the World Heritage area is made up of coral reefs. The rest is an extraordinary variety of marine habitats ranging from shallow inshore areas – such as seagrass, mangroves, sand, algal and sponge gardens, and inter – reefal communities – to deep oceanic areas more than 250 km offshore. The Great Barrier Reef is home to 1625 species of fish – 10% of the world’s fish species, 600 plus types of hard and soft corals, 215 species of birds, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, 30 species of whales and dolphins, 14 species of sea snakes, 6 of 7 of the world's species of marine turtle, in all , 25% of all known marine species.
The Daintree Rainforest is estimated to be 180 million years old which is tens of millions of years older than the Amazon Rainforest. It encompasses an area of approximately 1,200 square kilometres, from the Daintree River north to Cooktown and west to the Great Divide, representing the single largest block of tropical rainforest in Australia. North of the Daintree River, the coastline is also lined with tropical rainforest that grows right down to the sea’s edge. This natural wonder is home to thousands of species of birds and other wildlife including 30% of Australia’s frog, reptile and marsupial species in Australia, 65% of the country’s bat and butterfly species as well as 18% of all bird species. 12,000 insect species can also be found in the Daintree Rainforest.
The Undara Lava Tubes were created about 190,000 years ago when a staggering 23 cubic kilometres of lava flowed into a river bed and kept flowing for 160km, making it the world’s longest lava flow from a single volcano. Huge caves, some over 21m wide and up to 10m high, have formed in places along the tubes.