Technically outside the region of Cairns, the outback, offers visitors an insight into the breath-taking natural beauty of the Australian outback. Numerous small communities have carved their existence into the harsh Australian bushlands once travelled by the early explorers of the region.
Mount Surprise with it's population of approximately 65, is known as the "Gulf Savannah" region, an interesting region to visit all year especially in the monsoon season where the transportation methods have to be carefully considered as some parts of the "Gulf Savannah" region suffer from a lack of road infrastructure and the gamest 4wd enthusiast will be in for a stomach churning adventure.
Mount Surprise actually sits on the edge of an immense Lava Flow from an ancient volcano to the South East. The surrounding country is flat, dry wooded grasslands and isolated hills Mount Surprise is considered a railway town, which runs along the Cairns to Forsyth Railway and it is the first town in the "Gulf Savannah" which visitors approaching from the east will encounter.
Spectacular sunsets from Mount Surprise
It is a popular place for gem fossicking with numerous amounts of Topaz, Quartz, Spinel, Garnet, Caringon and Aquamarine can be found.
Normanton also part of the "Gulf Savannah" region which extends from The Great Dividing Range in the East to the Northern Territory border in the West. It is a safari country of golden savannah grasslands abounding with wildlife.
Normanton with it's population of about 1,150 was established on the Norman River by William Landsborough, it was initially the port for the Croydon Rush back in the Victorian era and some of the famous architecture of that time can be found, preserved in the Normanton Railway Station.
Burke and Wills, two of our very famous Australian explorers have a camp "119", which can be found about 30 kilometres to the southwest.
The Wetlands between Normanton and Karumba are very popular for the birdwatchers especially around the wet season where many more species are around. The wetlands are also a popular spot with the anglers who come all year round to catch "The Big One".
Weipa (population approx 2,600) a mining town originally built by Comalco for the workers and their families, now a popular destination for Fishing, River Safaris, Untouched Beaches and Mine touring.
Situated approximately 900 kilometres north west of Cairns, Weipa is located in Albatross Bay, on the Western Coast of Cape York. Albatross Bay is known for it's Major River Systems, it's stretches of Untouched Golden Beaches and it's Shallow Reefs, abundant with marine life.
Weipa having the largest Bauxite deposit in the world, reserves being estimated at 2,500 million tonnes, which would calculate to being enough for the next 250 years at the present rate of production. For those interested, Comalco operates tours of the mining operations. The town also has a wide range of Facilities including a Motel, Campsites, Gym/Sporting facilities, Travel Centre, Golf Club, Shopping Facilities, Banking and Exchange.
Weipa is accessible by both road and air, although the road trip from Cairns is approximately 12 hours on a dirt road, accessible only during the dry season (March through to December) and recommended for 4wd's only. Whereas it takes only one hour in a comfortable aircraft, serviced daily by Qantas.