- 1. Visit the Unesco world heritage site Carnarvon
- 2. Learn about Burke and Wills expedition under the dig tree
- 3. Stand at the most Northern point of Australia where colonial explorers set today's history.
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Cape York and Torres Strait explored by air
This air charter small group tour takes the senior traveller from the South to absolute north of mainland Australia in Queensland at Cape York. It also takes you out to the Thursday Island, part of the Torres strait Islands chain. The itinerary developed in consultation with your experienced pilots on this air charter service provides you with access to a collection of unique places to stay as part of a multi-day collection of scenic flight travel experiences. There are many memories to be made on this small group tour a highlight being the visit to the Cape York peninsula and the Torres strait islands with like minded people as the charter flight takes you to over Victoria, across New South Wales and up to into Queensland to your first destination on the itinerary, Birdsville. This is just the first day of your air services. The following day we fly to north Queensland towards the Gulf of Carpentaria to Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, overlooking the stunning Lawn Hill Creek.
Then the itinerary takes us Sweers island for the day before our service takes us to Karumba airport. Then this air tour provides an amazing scenic flight up to our next scheduled destination, Thursday island in the Torres strait where we base ourselves for two nights. Helicopter transfers take you and your fellow passenger to Cape York for a guided tour, before returning on a private charter to Thursday island.
Torres Strait Islands
The Torres Strait is Australia's northern-most frontier, stretching from the tip of North Queensland to the southern shores of Papua New Guinea. There are over 200 islands scattered throughout the Torres Strait region. Of these 17 are inhabited by the Torres strait islander people who are considered an indigenous Australian culture but with there own cultural identity and seperate flag to the mainland Australia aboriginal people. The Torres Strait is 150 kilometres across and joins the Coral Sea to the east with the Arafura Sea to the west. Thursday Island, the main administrative centre for the Torres Strait island community, is the gateway to a diverse culture and vast region. The central Torres strait islands are picture perfect coral cays; while in the east majestic mountains rise from the ocean. In the far north of the Torres strait region you'll find a cluster of islands which continue the tradition of trade with Papua new Guinea coastal villages. Remarkably beautiful, these islands are characterised by unique Torres strait islander culture, linguistic and geographic differences to the Australian Mainland.
After the Cape York tour and time on Thursday and Horn island this guided tour heads south to along the Cape York peninsula to Weipa and then the historic Cooktown. This air charter tour is not about taking the traveller to Cairns, Port Douglas, the Great Barrier reef, or the Daintree rainforest it is about facilitating a guided tour to places that are difficult to reach yet are stepped in Torres strait and Aboriginal history with a colonial history overlay.
As the air tour goes South, leaving North Queensland, the UNESCO world Heritages site experiences continue in mainland Australia after a guided tour of Winton and the dinosaurs and Banjo Patterson museum, we head to Carnarvon gorge and the national park for two days for small group tours about the Aboriginal rock art in the gorge. The air charter then finally heads south to return to Melbourne with a full day scenic flight over New South Wales and Victoria.
Odyssey Travellers Cape York tours by private air charter are limited to 10 travellers.
Day 1: Melbourne
Accommodation: Melbourne City hotel -TBA
Meet this afternoon for the small group tour briefing with your leader.
Group evening welcome dinner.
Day 2: Birdsville
Accommodation: Birdsville Hotel
We depart for Moorabbin Airport as a group to ensure we are ready to depart at 8.00am.
Fly over Victoria and New South Wales to the edge of Queensland, landing at the Dig Tree, where the explorers Burke and Wills famously set up camp. Learn more about this pioneering pair and their ill-fated expedition that began in Melbourne.
In the afternoon we continue as a group to Birdsville, where sunset drinks are at Big Red, after a local guide from country takes on a tour of area. Big red is the first of 1,140 parallel sand dunes marking the edge of the Simpson Desert.
To end the day, stay and dine in one of Australia’s most iconic pubs — the Birdsville Hotel.
Day 3: Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
Accommodation: Adels Grove
Flying north towards the Gulf of Carpentaria, your aircraft will land a short walk from your room or cabin at Adels Grove, in Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, overlooking the stunning Lawn Hill Creek.
We have an afternoon with a guide for country to share their knowledge and stories whilst having a 2 hour walking tour and a short cruise.
Lawn Hill Gorge is one of the most spectacular gorges in the Gulf Country, with luscious tropical vegetation, sheer red cliffs and enchanting green water.
Adels Grove for pre-dinner drinks in the open-air restaurant.
Day 4: Karumba
Accommodation: Karumba - TBA
After breakfast at Adels Grove before a 45-minute flight to Sweers Island, about 30 km off the coast in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
With a local guide from country as well as a colonial guide the group has a tour of this island with its wealth of history including Gregory, Flinders and Baudin. Lunch is in the open-air restaurant overlooking the waters of the Gulf.
Late in the afternoon the group returns to Karumba, home to prawn, mud crab and barramundi fishing fleets working in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s also known for fabulous sunsets.
We join a sunset cruise on the gulf which includes crocodile spotting on the way back.
Day 5: Horn and Thursday Islands
Accommodation: Thursday Island
Today our flight plan has this small group to continue north up the west side of Cape York, past the tip of Australia, to Horn Island in the Torres Strait island network.
Torres strait islander culture is different from the Aboriginal Australian culture and life. Non indigenous Australians occasionally have difficulty in recognizing these cultural differences in the locals and the cultural identity and island custom of the Torres strait islander people.
Local history experts and tour guides from country will meet you on arrival. The group takes you to visit the Torres StraitHeritage Museum to view exhibits from the pearling industry, myths and legends of Torres Strait, artwork, artefacts and the World War II history of the area. This tour also discusses the threat of rising sea levels on the Torres strait region and the life of the indigenous people.
An understanding of WWII is provided from your local guides with a tour that includes visit to gun emplacements, an underground command post, slit trenches, an aircraft wreck with an unbelievable story, the WWII airstrip, dispersal bays and taxiways. Follow in the steps of the indigenous and non-indigenous soldiers who served in the area, with insightful commentary.
Transfer by ferry across to Thursday Island and your accommodation.
Day 6: Thursday Island
Accommodation: Island Villas
The Gab Titui Cultural Centre is a contemporary art gallery and keeping place for cultural artefacts.
Today it’s time for a bucket list adventure – a helicopter to the tip of Australia.
Fly by chopper from Thursday Island to the tip of Cape York Peninsula, the most northern point of mainland Australia. Landing nearby, it is an 800m walk to the coastline where you can snap a photo of the tip of Australia for the memory vaults.
A tour of TI (Thursday Island) reveals how its history helped to create today’s dynamic, multicultural community and the tropical lifestyle it offers.
Day 7: Thursday Island
Accommodation: Island villas bungalows
Today the group uses the local ferry network to with a local guide from Country explore Thursday island or surrounds.
The Torres Strait is Australia‘s northern-most frontier, stretching from the tip of Queensland to the southern shores of Papua New Guinea. There are over 200 islands scattered throughout the Torres Strait, and of these 17 of the pacific island network are inhabited. The Torres Strait is 150 kilometres across and joins the Coral Sea to the east with the Arafura Seato the west. Thursday Island, the main central island and administrative centre for the locals and Torres Strait islander culture under the control of the Australian government. Thursday island is the gateway to a diverse cultural identity and vast region of the Torres strait island network. Strait islander people face many issues similar to aboriginal communities on the Australian mainland such as native title, as well as rising sea levels.
Day 8: Nanum
Accommodation: Nanum -TBA
The group begins it’s journey south to Nanum on the Cape York Peninsula after transferring back to Horn island. The group spends the day exploring Nanum with a local guide from country.
Day 9: Cooktown
Accommodation: Sovereign Resort Hotel
Cooktown is where Captain Cook sought refuge when his ship, The Endeavour, sustained severe damage during his 1770 expedition in scapping the great barrier reef .
After the short flight from Nanum we pause at Laura for a private tour of various Quinkan rock art sites — spotted by a pilot in the 1960s while flying over the area. Quinkan Country contains a large and dramatic body of rock paintings. These galleries, at least 15,000 to 30,000 years old, are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world.
Late in the afternoon we arrive in historic Cooktown. Our local guides show and share with us the history the many historical sites and learn how Cooktown prospered in a gold rush, dwindled, and then rose again to become an important base in World War II as we explore through to dusk today.
Day 10: Winton
Accommodation: Winton - TBA
From Cooktown we travel to Winton. We begin conditions and time permitting by flying along the coast past CapeTribulation and the Daintree river and the rainforest towards Port Douglas, heading south west before Cairns. Time and access permitting take in the Dinosaurs before we return to Winton. We enjoy a guided tour of the Banjo Patterson Museum.
Day 11: Carnarvon Gorge
Accommodation: Takarakka bush resort
After breakfast, we fly to Carnarvon Gorge, an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland for two days and nights.
Carnarvon Creek has carved a winding course through sandstone over millions of years to form a spectacular steep gorge with narrow, vibrantly-coloured and lush gorges. The gorge is home to a range of significant plant and animal species, many of them relics of cooler, wetter times. Some of the finest rock art in Australia is a fragile reminder of Aboriginal people’s long and continuing connection with the gorge.
Takarakka Bush Resort, with private studios nestled along Carnarvon Creek in the Carnarvon Gorge National Park, is the perfect base for touring in this magnificent region. You have the chance to join a private guided walk this afternoon. A walk to Mickey’s Creek and Warrumbah Gorge will offer you one of the few opportunities to get into a side gorge so narrow that you can touch both walls at the same time. The sunlight only reaches the floor of these gorges for a very short period each day, and they have a micro-climate all of their own.
Later, cast your eyes upwards for a tour of the stars. The night sky is incredibly clear out here, allowing for some pretty spectacular viewing. The combination of sky, state of the art observatory and tour guide expertise make for an experience as brilliant as the Carnarvon night sky.
Day 12: Carnarvon Gorge
Accommodation: Takarakka bush resort
The second day takes you on a longer, guided walk. The Moss Garden, one of the best known sites at Carnarvon Gorge, is a great example of how the spring systems work and is nestled amongst one of the best patches of remnant rainforest in the National Park.
Day 13: Melbourne
Accommodation: Melbourne City hotel -TBA
Charlotte Plains, a 27,000ha sheep station. Take a tour and meet the owners with a lunch in the historic homestead. Enjoy the stories of existence on this remote station.
We continue the flight onto Melbourne where you’ll arrive at Moorabbin Airport around dusk.
There is a farewell dinner this evening in central Melbourne.
Day 14: Melbourne
Tour concludes today after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 13 nights accommodation
- 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches (often light picnic style lunch) and 11 dinners
- Transport by modern and comfortable aircraft and vehicle suitable for the highway conditions and local ferries
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour
- Detailed Preparatory Information
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return Domestic airfares
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.