Jump aboard our special 6WD safari vehicles for an exclusive rock art adventure. Home to some of the most remarkable rock art in Australia, the Quinkan Galleries are rated by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world.
There is no better way to experience the astounding wilderness of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park than by scenic helicopter flight. Fly over picturesque rivers, lagoons and woodlands spotting wildlife below and follow the Kennedy River to Princess Charlotte Bay.
Enjoy a visit to idyllic Friday Island, home of Kazu Pearls. Learn about the cultivation, seeding and harvesting of the oyster before a seafood lunch overlooking pristine turquoise waters.
Arrive in Cairns today by 1pm and meet your friendly and professional touring crew. We then begin our journey north with a scenic drive along the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas. Enjoy a brief tour of this famous tropical village before checking in to the newly transformed Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort for our overnight stay. Fresh from a $43 million makeover, this iconic resort is once again the premier accommodation choice in Port Douglas. Meals: D
This morning we continue our journey north and visit the award-winning Mossman Gorge Centre. Here we enjoy the Dreamtime Gorge Walk, which begins with a traditional smoking ceremony to cleanse and ward off bad spirits. Setting off on the walk, we’ll be accompanied by experienced Indigenous guides who’ll demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush food sources and provide an enchanting narrative of the rainforest. At the end of the walk we’ll enjoy traditional bush tea and damper.
This afternoon we venture into the World Heritage Listed Daintree, the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest in the world. First up, we enjoy an informative cruise on the Daintree River before an exclusive guided tour at Cooper Creek Wilderness. Situated directly below Thornton Peak, the epicentre of refugial significance in the Daintree, Cooper Creek is home to pristine old growth rainforest and extraordinary fan palm galleries. Here, we’ll take a guided tour along the forest floor with expert, inhabitant guides; an exclusive experience that’s far removed from other mass tourism offerings in the area.
Late this afternoon we arrive at the Heritage Lodge and Spa for our overnight stay. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we continue our journey through the Daintree to Cape Tribulation, a headland named by Lieutenant James Cook after his ship struck the Great Barrier Reef in 1770. After a stroll along the beach and a cup of tea, we’ll continue north and tackle the infamous Bloomfield Track. Impassable during the Wet Season, the track passes through some wild country and should only be tackled by 4WD vehicles. There are numerous steep climbs through the rainforest and several creek crossings to negotiate, so sit back and enjoy the scenery as your experienced tour driver does the hard work.
Once we’re across the Bloomfield River we’ll visit Bloomfield Falls before lunch at the Lion’s Den Hotel, one of QLD’s oldest bush pubs. We then depart for Cooktown, where Lieutenant Cook beached the Endeavour for repairs after hitting the reef. Upon our arrival we’ll enjoy a town tour including Grassy Hill lookout, the James Cook Museum and Cooktown Botanic Gardens. We then check in to the 4-star Sovereign Resort Hotel for our overnight stay. Meals: B.L.D
Today we depart Cooktown along the Battle Camp Road and visit the Old Laura Homestead before arriving in Laura. Known as ‘Quinkan Country’, this area is famous for its rock art. Here, we’ll get off the beaten track and enjoy an exclusive safari to the ‘Quinkan Galleries’, a large and dramatic body of prehistoric rock paintings identified as being at least 15,000 years old. Due to their significance, they have been included on the Australian Heritage Estate and listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world.
There are various public access art sites in the Laura area, including Split Rock which is visited by most tour companies. However, the larger and more spectacular sites, including the Quinkan Galleries, require permission from local elders to access. As the track in to the Quinkan Galleries is unsuitable for large 4WD coaches, Outback Spirit has stationed two six-wheel-drive safari vehicles in Laura for this exclusive adventure. An experienced Aboriginal guide will accompany us to interpret the art and explain the significance of this culturally sacred site.
Arriving back in Laura we enjoy lunch and a visit to the Quinkan Cultural Centre. We then travel through the grassy plains and woodlands of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, tackling several creek crossings along the way. We’ll stop at Kalpowar on the Normanby River for afternoon tea, followed by a visit to Red Lily Lagoon, home to a vast array of flora and fauna. Admire the tall lotus lily with its spectacular pink flowers and dense yellow stamens, and keep an eye out for Brolgas and Sarus cranes striding through the lilies searching for sedge tubers.
This afternoon we pass through Nifold Plain, an open savannah characterised by thousands of magnetic termite mounds. We then continue through to Lotusbird Lodge, beautifully located on the edge of a tranquil billabong. Enjoy an exclusive 2-night stay to discover the area. Meals: B.L.D
Today enjoy a breathtaking helicopter flight over Rinyirru (Lakefield). Board our exclusively chartered Bell Jet Ranger and fly over swamps, plains and forests before following the Kennedy River to Princess Charlotte Bay. You’ll spot crocodiles, pigs, cattle and all sorts of other wildlife on this mesmerising flight. It really is the only way to get a true appreciation of the area and adds a great perspective of Cape York Peninsula.
After lunch there’s time for a walk around the lodge’s billabong or some birdwatching. Alternatively, enjoy some free time to yourself and soak up the atmosphere of Cape York from this tranquil location. Meals: B.L.D
Today we farewell Lotusbird Lodge and make our way north along the Peninsula Development Road. Pass through Coen before arriving at Archer River roadhouse for lunch. We then continue to Weipa, arriving mid-afternoon to check-in to the Albatross Bay Resort. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we join Western Cape Eco Tours for a cruise on the Embley River. Explore diverse wildlife habitat, learn about local culture and keep an eye out for some big salt water crocodiles! Our skipper will also provide a detailed insight into Weipa’s bauxite mining industry. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Western Cape Cultural Centre which showcases the history of Weipa and its surrounding communities. The centre enjoys an enviable location overlooking the bay, so it’s a great place for a picnic lunch.
This afternoon we depart Weipa and make our way towards Moreton Telegraph Station. We’ll pass Batavia downs before heading north along the Telegraph Track, arriving at Moreton mid-afternoon. Situated on the banks of the Wenlock River, Moreton served as a repeater station for the Overland Telegraph Line established in the 1880’s. The last Morse telegram code was sent from Brisbane to Thursday Island on the 24th June 1964, yet the line remained in use until 1987 as the local telephone line.
Upon our arrival at Moreton we’ll check in to our exclusive wilderness lodge for two nights to relax and explore the local area. Our newly refurbished rooms feature ensuite bathrooms, quality furnishings and air-conditioning. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we head south down the Telegraph Track to Piccaninny Plains, a wildlife sanctuary jointly owned by Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) & the Tony and Lisette Lewis Foundation – WildlifeLink. The sanctuary covers 420,000 acres of stunning ecological diversity, decorated by a mosaic of rainforests, woodlands & wetlands.
Cape York was connected to New Guinea for much of the last 250,000 years. The repeated interchange of flora and fauna has bequeathed a rich biological legacy on the Peninsula, and Piccaninny Plains captures a superb representation of this evolutionary blend. Its woodlands are distinctly Australian, dominated by antipodean species such as eucalypts, acacias and kangaroos. In contract, the rainforests that thread their way across the property have a strong New Guinean flavor, supporting charismatic species like the Spotted Cuscus. The juxtaposition of Australian & New Guinean wildlife explains why Piccaninny Plains supports such a high number of species (over 400 mammals, birds, reptiles & amphibians plus 900 plants).
AWC is responsible for delivering land management and science programs across Piccaninny, and this morning we’ll chat to some of the sanctuary’s managers to get an insight into how AWC is securing the future for Cape York wildlife. We then return to Moreton for lunch, followed by a free afternoon. Alternatively, join our guides for an interpretive walk along the Wenlock River, which contains the highest diversity of freshwater fish of all Australian rivers. Species include the Freshwater Sawfish, Speartooth Shark, and more common fish like the Sooty Grunter and Barramundi. Meals: B.L.D
Today our journey continues north along the Telegraph Track, which passes through some wild and rugged countryside. However, as some sections of the track are impassable we’ll mainly be travelling on the northern and southern bypass roads on our journey north from Moreton. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to Fruit Bat Falls for a swim in the crystal-clear water of Eliot Creek, followed by a picnic lunch. We then continue north and cross the Jardine River by vehicular ferry, arriving at Bamaga late afternoon. Enjoy the next two nights in spacious cabins with ensuite bathrooms at Cape York Peninsula Lodge, the perfect base from which to explore ‘the tip’. Meals: B.L.D
Today we venture to the northernmost point on the Australian Mainland, a Cape traveller’s ultimate destination. The walking track commences at Pajinka and requires a good level of fitness, but is well worth the effort! Get your picture taken next to the iconic signpost and soak up the views of the Torres Strait as your guide fills you in on the history of the area.
This afternoon we visit Somerset, once the home of Frank Jardine and the official government residence on the Cape protected by British Marines. After a BBQ lunch, we return to Bamaga where the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure. Tonight, enjoy a performance by the Seisia Kayin Thithuil Dance Group. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we head to Seisia and board the ferry for our cruise across Endeavour Strait. Enjoy informative commentary about the Torres Strait Islands from the captain as we make our wake to Thursday Island, situated 35km northwest of the tip of Cape York. The island has a population of approximately 3000 people and is the main administrative centre of the Torres Strait.
Upon our arrival on Thursday Island, we’ll enjoy a tour with a local expert before the short ferry trip across to Friday Island, home to Kazu Pearls. Here we enjoy an authentic seafood lunch and comprehensive farm tour, learning about the cultivation, seeding and harvesting of the oyster. You’ll also have the chance to purchase some of their exquisite pearl jewellery.
This afternoon we return to Thursday Island for our overnight stay at the Jardine Motel. Meals: B.L.D
This morning we catch a ferry across to Horn Island and enjoy a tour of this once prominent WWII air base. After lunch we visit the Torres Strait Heritage Museum before boarding our QANTAS flight back to Cairns, arriving late afternoon. For our final evening together we’ll check in to the luxurious Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, located on the esplanade. Meals: B.L.D
After breakfast enjoy a relaxing morning before your transfer to Cairns airport, or to your accommodation if staying on. Bon voyage, until your next incredible outback adventure! Meals: B
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