Hopping into a car to set off on a road trip into Outback Queensland is a serious undertaking – particularly when you know there’s a good 6-hours of driving time ahead of you and you have two very active kids sitting in the backseat. The good news is that our destination was Cobbold Gorge and there was lots to love about heading out west to this spot….
Travelling west of Cairns isn’t really ‘outback’ as most people know it. First thing you’ll pass through are the green rolling hills and farmland of the Atherton Tablelands, which is interspersed with pockets of rainforest.
When you do meet the red soil of the Savannah Way, its a mish-mash of low lying trees and scrub, termite mounds, BIG creek beds (often still full of water) and volcanic ranges sitting on the horizon. Long straight roads with nothing to see for miles doesn’t really occur on this journey.
Often our biggest fear when we leave the coast is finding a spot to get wet. Fortunately at the Cobbold Gorge camping ground getting wet is still very much on the cards. With an infinity pool that seems to spill straight out into the nearby dam, plus the gorge itself, this place is definitely an Outback Oasis.
Despite the wintery temperatures when we visited – in the low 20’s (you can see we’ve lived in the tropical north too long) – the kids headed straight out on the sit on kayaks to explore the dam and later took a dip in the infinity pool.
AS tempting as the swim-up bar was I opted to stay dry this time but its obvious this spot would get a lot of action in the warmer months (particularly that cocktail list).
It’s hard to believe that this little pocket of wilderness lay undiscovered up to 25 years ago. The Terry family are cattle graziers and this sandstone country lay out of bounds for their herd until a camping adventure lead them to explore the territory a little bit more.
As you silently motor your way into the narrow gorge and look upwards, you start to get an idea as to how much water must force its way through this narrow chasm during the wet season.
The gorge’s sides have been worn smooth thanks to the water’s actions. Down below schools of fish swim past, turtles pop their heads up and the odd freshwater crocodile can be seen basking on the rocks and sandy banks nearby.
Later we meander upwards to view the sandstone structures from above. The sandstone outcrops dominate the landscape and you start to get an understanding how this narrow watercourse and oasis remained hidden for so long.
When you head into the outback to camp you don’t really expect too many other dining options but one of the highlights of the Cobbold Gorge campground was the infinity pool, its swim-up bar (and cocktail list) and the outdoor dining deck.
It was a great place to chill and meet fellow travellers, plus the restaurant offered a good alternative to cooking duties. And lets not forget the real barista style coffee on offer and FREE nibblies each night at the pool bar.
If you are travelling 6-7 hours to explore a gorge and camp then you’re probably wondering if there’ll be enough to keep you and the kids entertained. The best thing is that volcanic activity has helped shape this region and there are plenty of ‘attractions’ that sit side by side along the journey.
There’s fossicking at Agate Creek, camping and swimming at Einasleigh’s Gorge and of course, the opportunity to explore Undara and the Lava Tubes.
You can even pull over for a road-side dip at Innot Hot Springs and soak those ‘driving’ muscles in the thermal springs located in the nearby river bed.
Ultimately, its a region that needs exploring to really understand and appreciate the geography and the landscape, PLUS its fun…..what more can you ask for.
Good Things to Know:
Have you toured along the Savannah Way? Any other things tips for families travelling to this region? Anywhere else you’d love to visit in this area?
We received our tour and accommodation complimentary BUT all views, opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own.
PLEASE NOTE: Cobbold Gorge is closed to visitors during the wet season between November 1 and March 31.
SPECIAL OFFER: Book a 3-hour Gorge Tour and Stand Up Paddle Boarding, & get SUP 1/2 price ($25 saving per adult). Just mention Adventure Mumma when booking.