wwwsavannahwaycomau Australias Adventure Drive

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					                                                                                                                             Darwin
                                                                                                                                      Katherine
                                                 Australia’s Adventure Drive                                        Broome                        Cairns




The Savannah Way is one of Australia’s ultimate             •   Magnetic termite mounds found in the Northern
adventure drives, linking Cairns in Tropical North              Territory are precisely oriented with their narrow
Queensland with the historic pearling town of                   edges facing north-south. The mounds are built by
Broome in Western Australia, via the natural                    tiny blind insects and are oriented so that they get
wonders of Katherine in the Northern Territory.                 the least sun at the hottest time of the day.
                                                            •   The Argyle Diamond Mine in the far north of
The Route                                                       Western Australia, is the world’s largest diamond
Total Length: 3699km                                            mine. The Kimberley area in Western Australia is
(main route - Cairns to Broome via Katherine)                   three times the size of England, and produces 35%
                                                                of the world’s diamonds.
Unsealed Section: 700km
(main route - Normanton to Borroloola)                      •   The Sun Pictures Outdoor Picture Garden in
                                                                Broome is the oldest operational outdoor picture
Alternative Route: 3872km (2990km unsealed)
                                                                house in the world.
(Cairns to Broome via Dunbar, Daly Waters)
Average distance between fuel stops: 128 kms                The Environment
Attractions                                                 The tropical savannahs cover 1.9 million square
                                                            kilometres – or about a quarter of mainland Australia
One-third of Australia’s World Heritage Areas are           – and comprise of 19 bioregions across two states and
along the Savannah Way, with 5 World Heritage               one territory. The tropical savannahs are landscapes
listed sites as well as 15 national parks and many          of dense grass and scattered trees that stretch across
more natural features.                                      northern Australia from Broome to Townsville. They
The tropical savannahs through which the Savannah           are home to an extraordinary variety of plants and
Way runs are home to a large number of birds – 55           animals – from tropical rainforest to grassy woodlands.
of Australia’s 90 seed-eating species are found here        The tropical savannahs are an internationally significant
including parrots, quails, pigeons and a particularly       refuge for biodiversity and are home to hundreds of
large representation of finches. Infact, 14 of Australia’s   species of native plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and
18 finch species inhabit the savannahs, and no               amphibians, plus tens of thousands of different species
fewer than 13 species of seed-eating birds, plus 10         of invertebrates. Many of these groups are found
additional subspecies, are endemic to the savannahs,        nowhere else in the world.
meaning that they live nowhere else in the world.
                                                            The Gulf Savannah region is incredibly diverse. In
Fascinating Facts                                           addition to the rainforests of the Tropical North, there
•   Compared to other tropical regions in the world,        are also rocky gorges, arid areas, mangrove swamps,
    Australia’s tropical savannahs have a sparse            wetlands and river habitats. These variations in the
    population with fewer than 350,000 residents            landscape support the biodiversity that makes the
    – less than Tasmania.                                   region unique.
•   The largest crocodile ever captured was shot            Climate
    by Mrs Krys Pawlowski – a North Queensland
    taxidermist – in the Norman River, near                 The tropical savannahs lie in a climatic zone characterised
    Normanton Queensland in 1958. Named after its                                                             .
                                                            by two distinct seasons: the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’ The wet
    captor, ‘Krys the Croc’ measured 8.63 metres and        summer months, December to March, are hot and humid,
    a replica now sits in the main street of Normanton      in contrast to the dry winter months of May to October
    in the Gulf of Carpentaria.                             which are cooler and have less.
•   Normanton is internationally recognised as              Much of the tropical savannahs’ annual rainfall arrives
    an important location for an estimated third of         in heavy bursts from thunderstorms, widespread
    Australia’s migratory wading birds (eg brolga,          monsoon depressions or from the passage of
    sarus crane).                                           associated tropical cyclones.




               www.savannahway.com.au
                                                                                                                         Darwin
                                                                                                                                  Katherine
                                               Australia’s Adventure Drive                                      Broome                        Cairns




Indigenous Culture                                        until it was Queensland’s second largest inland town
                                                          in 1890. The area around Forsayth / Georgetown is
The tropical savannahs are also home to a rich            very popular with fossickers using metal detectors
indigenous culture. Aboriginal people have a              and many a fine nugget has been unearthed. The
connection with the land dating back tens of              Century Mine, 120 kilometres south of Burketown
thousands of years and Aboriginal land covers             owned by Pasminco is rich in history as well as
substantial parts of the region. Local people are         minerals. The first mining lease in the region was
involved in all aspects of land use in northern           granted over 100 years ago, when silver was the main
Australia: they are pastoralists, miners, tour guides,    attraction for prospectors. Today Century’s deposit,
park rangers, entrepreneurs and community leaders.        rich in zinc, has proved to be the most valuable
                                                          resource. Now closed, the Kidston open cut gold
Facts of Nature                                           mine was one of the largest gold bearing mines in
•   Wedge-tailed eagles are impressive birds.             Australia. The mine produced in excess of 200,000
    The largest eagles in Australia, and among            ounces of gold per annum, with an estimated worth
    the largest in the world, they have wingspans         of 130 million dollars per year.
    of up to 2.5 metres. The wedge-tailed eagle           The Northern Territory is also home to some of
    once carried a bounty on its head. Between            the largest cattle stations in Australia – some of
    1927 and 1968, 150,000 bounties were paid in          which are larger than several European countries.
    Western Australia and ten thousand were paid          The whole of Northern Australia has a rich history,
    in Queensland in a single year.                       featuring legendary stations like Victoria River
•   The first camel was imported into Australia            Downs. Pastoralists in northern Australia contend
    from the Canary Islands in 1840, then in 1860         with variable climate, often poor soils, and threats
    for the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition.         such as invading weeds and changed fire regimes.
    There are now an estimated 150,000 to 200,000         The Paspaley Pearling Company is a family-owned
    feral camels in the Northern Territory alone          enterprise that began in the remote north-west of
    (conservative 2001 census projections) – almost       Western Australia in the early 1930s. The Kimberley’s
    half of all feral camels in Australia. Feral camels   pearling industry has become Western Australia’s
    double their number about every 6 to 10 years.        most lucrative aquaculture industry with production
•   The bulbous boab tree found in the remote             estimated at $200 million per annum. As well as pearls
    Kimberley region of Western Australia stores          the Kimberley boast the Argyle Diamond Mine, the
    water and only sheds its leaves when there is no      world’s largest single producer of diamonds. Argyle is
                                                          synonymous with the pink diamond, the world’s most
    water. The boab’s nearest relatives are far away
                                                          rare and valuable diamond, producing 95% of the
    in Africa and Madagascar.
                                                          world’s supply. The legend of Argyle pink diamond has
Industry                                                  grown over the past ten years. Privately, Argyle has sold
                                                          pink diamonds for up to $1 million a carat.
Northern Australia is a diverse region of developing
economic importance with multi-million dollar             Tourism
mining operations, thriving grazing and aquaculture
                                                          Aboriginal culture, the cattle station lifestyle and the
industries, and strong tourism growth. While all
                                                          natural environment are all major attractions for the
major centres boast modern telecommunications,
                                                          Savannah Way – Australia’s Great Adventure Drive.
all weather road access, schools and hospitals, they
                                                          Travellers along the way come from all walks of life
retain their heritage.
                                                          and cultures, but all have a common dream to explore
The Gulf Savannah has a long history of mining            Australia’s Top End. From retirees seeing the country
commencing with the gold rush of the 1870’s with          on extended self-drive trips to backpackers exploring
discoveries at Cumberland (Georgetown). Nearby            the breadth of the country, all are welcome along the
Croydon boomed as the gold business flourished             Savannah Way.




             www.savannahway.com.au

				
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