Updated: Jul 24
The ancient landscape, serenity and beauty of Talaroo Hot Springs may seem a world away from Cairns’ coastal vibe, but the outback of the Gulf Savannah and the warm hospitality of the Ewamian people are surprisingly accessible.
The Savannah Way in its entirety stretches 3700km from Cairns in the East to Broome in the West and is one of Australia’s most epic and iconic drives. But you don’t need months to take in a small section of the drive and visit the Savannah Way’s newest unique attraction – you can easily do it in a weekend.
Cairns to Talaroo
The journey from Cairns to Talaroo is around 4 ½ hours from the city centre via the Gillies range or from the Northern Beaches via the Kuranda Range, so aim to get away at midday on Friday and you’ll be there in good time for the magical sunset.
If you’re heading up to the Tablelands via Kuranda and Atherton, the perfect afternoon tea stop is Shaylee Strawberries. In season you can pick your own strawberries or just grab a punnet at the counter, and all year round their café is a winner with savoury and sweet treats, fabulous coffee from local roaster The Tattooed Sailor, and sorbets and gelato to die for.
Via the Gillies Range, grab a bite in Malanda if you’re hungry and take a moment to stop at the Millaa Millaa Lookout with its sweeping views over the Tablelands. If you have time, take a short walk to the picturesque Millaa Millaa falls.
As the Savannah Way Gulf Development Road continues from Ravenshoe, you’ll have about 1 hour 40 to go before the Talaroo turnoff which is shortly after the bridge over the beautiful Einasleigh River. The Gulf Development Road is a fantastic highway that’s wonderful to drive and with just four short single lane sections on the final stretch to Talaroo. Once you’re on the Talaroo property the drive to the campground is around 10kms on an unsealed road, but it’s well graded and suitable for all vehicles and trailers/caravans.
Talaroo’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sunrises, sunsets and all-day-long beauty, but there are also a few must-dos to really make the most of your visit:
Once you’ve set up your tent or caravan or checked into one of our gorgeous Eco Tents, grab a seat around our campfire and get to know your fellow travellers. Fires are lit around 6pm most nights but bring your woollies as it can get deliciously chilly at night - lows range from around 20° in October to 12° in July.
Hot Springs Discovery Tour
The only way to access the ancient Hot Springs is by guided tour, as the landscape is very sensitive and Ewamian people are doing everything they can to protect this unique formation. You’ll get an incredible insight into the geology of the springs and the intimate ongoing connection of Ewamian people to the land. Tours run a few times each day, last 90 minutes and include a soak in the historic Springs Bathing Pool. Our tip is to go for the earliest tour you can to see the steam rising off the pools into the chilly morning air.
Just a short walk from the campground is the beautiful Einasleigh River. It’s shallow and sandy and suitable for swimming and fishing most of the year, so bring your togs and your rods or just head down for sundowners in the arvo.
Private Soak Pools
It’d be a crime not to get in as many healing soaks as you can, so grab a private soak pool for up to 4 people at the end of the day for the ultimate in outback relaxation.
Talaroo’s café is open from 9am to 2pm daily, serving lunch, snacks, great coffee and shakes. There’s also a sparkling new camp kitchen with fridges, BBQs, cooktops, kettles and plenty of seating so we’ve got you covered. Wherever you stay, you’ll need to bring evening meals and basics with you so stock up before you leave home.
Talaroo first opened mid-2021 and every year we’re adding more experiences for our guests. This season we’ll be opening our new swimming pool and a 7km bike trail so follow us on Facebook or Instagram to learn more as it happens!
Heading back to Cairns
Sadly all good things must come to an end, so as you say farewell to Talaroo after just one more soak!, there are some great stops to enjoy on your way home.
Grab a coffee and cake at Pinnarendi Station Stay at Forty Mile Scrub where you may well find fellow beanhunters arriving in small aircraft on the nearby landing strip. If you don’t fancy cooking once you get home their pre-made pizzas are great too.
You can’t fail to notice the majestic wind turbines dotted across the Tablelands, but for an upclose view, stop in at Windy Hill Wind Farm just after Ravenshoe.
Finally before you head back down to sea level, treat yourself to local chocolate and coffee products at Coffee Works Mareeba, or make a short detour to Australia’s oldest coffee plantation at Skybury, and enjoy a cup of their trademark coffee while taking in the unforgettable view from their cafe – Skybury Farmgate.
Talaroo is open April to October annually, so get planning and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Images courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland