Cape York & Faraway Islands...
Beginning in Melbourne you’ll fly North, taking in Broken Hill and the ‘Big Red’ sand dune of the Simpson Desert before reaching Adel’s Grove and the Cascades Gorge. From here you’ll head North again to the restricted indigenous area of Mornington Island off the coast of far north Queensland where you’ll discover a vibrant art centre made famous by Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, who set the art world alight with her unique and distinctive style. A trip up the Norman River and out into the Gulf will see you spotting wildlife, checking mud-crab pots and dining on the freshest banana prawns imaginable. Conquering Cape York, you’ll continue further still to Horn Island, Thursday and Friday Islands, cast adrift off the northernmost tip of Australia. Here you will enjoy specialist guided tours to discover military remnants, hear the stories of the seafaring Kaurareg people and see pearls freshly plucked from their shells.
Heading back to the mainland, you’ll explore Cooktown, enjoy a stay at the luxurious Mt Mulligan Lodge where the working cattle station still bears marks of the historic gold rush, and then head to the Daintree Rainforest to immerse yourself in the region’s rich biodiversity. Your final stop will be Carnarvon Gorge where twisting and towering sandstone walls will delight photographers and geology lovers.
This far flung journey to the remotest outposts of Australia demonstrates the country’s astonishing diversity, history and grandeur in a way that is difficult to anticipate. You just have to see it for yourself.
You will love
- Awe inspiring landscapes
- Rainforest, remoteness and Gulf islands
- Outback station life
- Unique Indigenous culture
- Private aircraft with only 8 travellers
- Exclusive access and one-off experiences
14 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS
DAY 1 | Essendon - Birdsville | 1 NIGHT
Leaving Melbourne behind this morning, fly north to Broken Hill for morning tea, then continue north to Birdsville. Explore the town and the hallowed ground of the Birdsville racetrack before venturing off road to the largest sand dune in the Simpson Desert, ‘Big Red’. Enjoy a cold beer from your ‘perch’ in the iconic Birdsville Pub and absorb the outback culture. Dinner tonight is in the pub’s dining room where you will meet travellers that have tackled the ‘Birdsville Track’. You’re sure to hear some interesting stories from them.
Accommodation tonight is at the Birdsville Lodge.
Flight time: 3hrs 40mins total (2 flights).
DAY 2 | Birdsville - Mt Isa - Adels Grove | 1 NIGHT
One of the great things about Birdsville is that the Hotel is just across the road from the airport – literally! Fly north to Mt Isa where, prior to landing you are given a great view of the gigantic Mount Isa Mine. Farewell civilisation as your pilot flies you over cattle station country before touching down in the oasis that is Adel’s Grove. On arrival you are taken on a guided adventure into Lawn Hill National Park, with an opportunity to stroll to the Cascades prior to your over-water journey, paddling through the peaceful gorge.
Tonight your ensuite cabins at Adel’s Grove, are idyllically positioned beside a pristine stream.
Flight time: 2hrs 10mins total (2 flights).
DAY 3 | Adels Grove - Mornington Island - Karumba | 1 NIGHT
This morning you will get to experience parts of the Gulf that very few ever see. Take off from the dusty runway at Adels Grove bound for Mornington Island, out in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a restricted indigenous area where the community has a vibrant and well known art centre. It was here that Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori set the art world alight with her unique and distinctive style. Enjoy a private tour hosted by some local artists then take off and hop across to nearby Karumba. Board a cruise boat for a trip up the Norman River, spotting wildlife and checking mud-crab pots, then continue out into the Gulf to pull up on a sand cay to dine on the freshest mud crab and banana prawns imaginable.
Accommodation is at The End of the Road, Karumba.
Flight time: 1hr 10mins total (2 flights).
DAY 4 | Karumba - Horn Island | 2 NIGHTS
Mornings are gentle and warm here and you will enjoy breakfast overlooking the river-mouth. Your flight this morning will see you tracing the west coast of Cape York, then continuing north leaving the mainland of Australia behind to see the changing colours of the Torres Strait. This afternoon venture into the ‘Forgotten Island’, Horn Island, which offers an opportunity to sneak back in time to see remnants of bunkers and hidden revetments during a specialised guided tour, led by local historian and author Vanessa See Kee. Learn the fascinating history of the local, seafaring Kaurareg people.
Accommodation for the next two nights is at the Wongai Beach Resort.
Flight time 2hrs 20mins (2 flights).
DAY 5 | Thursday & Friday Islands
Discover the beauty, history and friendly smiles of the locals on a private tour of Thursday Island. Your guide will teach you about the history and paint the picture of life on this far northern island. Historically, and still to this day, Pearling plays an important role in the Torres Strait economy. Venture across to the spectacular Friday Island to visit the Kazu Pearl Farm to join a personalised tour of their operation with the opportunity to purchase pearls direct, if you wish.
No flight today.
DAY 6 | Horn Island - Tip of Cape York - Cooktown
| 2 NIGHTS
Depart the Torres Strait Islands this morning as your aerial armchair takes you over the northern-most point of mainland Australia. Land at Jacky-Jacky airfield for a 4WD over-land adventure that will have you standing on this significant geographical point – congratulations, you have conquered the cape! Continue the scenic flying southwards over the Far North Great Barrier Reef and into the picturesque town of Cooktown.
Accommodation for the next two nights is at Cooktown Sovereign Resort.
Flight time 1hr 40mins total (2flights).
DAY 7 | Cooktown
After a pleasant tropical breakfast it’s time to experience the foreshore and visit memorial sites of where Capt. James Cook careened the Endeavour for repairs. This afternoon you are taken on a tour of Cooktown with Justin Coventry as he unravels the stories of the past. Lunch is at the gallery in the fascinating botanical gardens. The day finishes with a tour of the Captain James Cook Museum which houses an anchor from the Endeavour, amongst other pieces of historical significance.
No flight today.
DAY 8 | Cooktown - Laura - Mt Mulligan | 2 NIGHTS
From Cooktown it is a brief flight to the tiny settlement of Laura. This is where we will access the forgotten rock art galleries of the Quinkan spirits. A drive through some lovely Cape York savannah country to the galleries, a very rewarding experience, with a picnic lunch out in the woodlands. Another brief flight to Mt Mulligan Stations private runway where you will be warmly welcomed and taken to this remote, picturesque and extremely comfortable outback retreat.
Accommodation for the next two nights is at the exclusive Mt Mulligan Lodge in an Outback Room – a Luxury Lodge of Australia.
Flight time 45mins total (2 flights).
DAY 9 | Mt Mulligan
Located on an entirely private 28,000-hectare heritage site, Mt Mulligan Lodge offers boutique accommodation in the shadow of majestic Mount Mulligan. Guests staying at Mt Mulligan Lodge will be able to experience the spirit of the North Queensland back-country through a captivating landscape with indigenous significance dating back 37,000 years. The expansive property bears the marks of the historic gold and coal rush and, in its current operation as a working cattle station, the pastoral history of Australia.
No flight today.
DAY 10 | Mt Mulligan - Daintree Eco Lodge | 2 NIGHTS
This morning you will wake up to the sounds of the outback and by this afternoon you will be breathing in the refreshing scent of the rainforest. Depart Mt Mulligan after breakfast with a quick flight across to Cairns, from there take a private transfer by road up into the heart of the Daintree Rainforest. Check into your very own tree house amidst the canopy of the rainforest.
Accommodation for the next two nights is at the Daintree Eco Lodge in a Canopy Bayan.
Flight time 20mins.
DAY 11 | Daintree Eco Lodge
Enjoy the privacy of this tree house oasis as you explore the region with a gentle boat cruise along the Daintree River. In the afternoon walk amongst the towering tree trunks through a particularly pretty stretch of rainforest with your local guide. During your stay at Daintree Eco Lodge, enjoy a complimentary Air Adventure massage treatment to assist in winding down to the rhythm of the rainforest.
No flight today.
DAY 12 | Daintree Rainforest - Carnarvon Gorge | 2 NIGHTS
A relaxed start to the day before rejoining your aircraft for the flight down to Rolleston where you will be welcomed at the airstrip and then transferred to privately owned Wallaroo Station. Wallaroo sits in a tranquil setting surrounded by lawns manicured by kangaroos and shaded by the ancient macrozamias and eucalypts. Enjoy a short sunset excursion to explore some of this working cattle station and meet the owners.
Accommodation for the next two nights is at Wallaroo Station plush staying in the safari tents. Modern, private bathrooms are in very close proximity and we promise you won’t need to put in any tent pegs.
Flight time 2hrs 20mins.
DAY 13 | Carnarvon Gorge
Enjoy informative commentary on the trek through Carnarvon Gorge with friendly, specialised guides. Massive sandstone walls towering over from above protect a mysterious and timeless land. Some of the narrow side gorges can be spanned by outstretched arms, while others are so narrow-twisted and deep, that sunlight never reaches the bottom. Its a paradise for photographers! The tour continues to the Moss Gardens and into an amazing natural amphitheatre; combined, these experiences showcase the splendid features of the country’s wilderness and beauty.
No flight today.
DAY 14 | Carnarvon Gorge -Callubrl Station -Essendon, Melbourne
Today, fly homeward via Callubri Station where you will be welcomed as friends and enjoy a personal farm tour followed by a traditional homestead feast. Time to depart; arriving at Essendon Airport, Melbourne in the early evening.
Flight time 4hrs 20mins total (3 flights).
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
A selection of the finest safari camps
Mt Mulligan – Far North Queensland
Set against its sandstone namesake, Mt Mulligan rests in the rugged red dirt country of Far North Queensland, 160km northwest of Cairns. Set on a 28,000-hectare working cattle station that bears the marks of the historic gold and coal rush, is a remote outback retreat offering heritage, adventure and laid-back luxury. Read More
Daintree Ecolodge – Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
Daintree Ecolodge is the only boutique accommodation in the World-Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. Wake up to the sound of the birds, discover the lodge's private waterfall and walk through the enchanting rainforest for the perfect eco-escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Read More
NEED TO KNOW
Cape York & The Gulf Air Safari
2023 Departures: 15-28 May | 9-22 June | 10-23 July 2023
2023 Departures: 15-28 May
10-23 July 2023
AUD $22,431 per person twon share | Single supplement of AUD $3,229 applies
AUD $22,431 per person twon share
Single supplement of AUD $3,229 applies
START: Essendon Apt - Melbourne, Victoria | Finish: Essendon Airport
Travel is in the privately chartered Air Adventure Outback Jet, Pilatus PC-12. This prop-jet aircraft is a fast, reliable outback machine capable of landing on gravel and remote airfields where others in larger aircraft can’t. The Outback Jet is operated by Armada Aviation, which holds an Air Operators Certificate issued by CASA. All pilots are highly experienced and carry a Commercial Pilots License. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and is all weather rated with impressive safety features. The interior is spacious with custom leather seating, climate control and clear windows (every seat is the window seat) making in flight viewing a joy.
- All private charter flights crewed by a highly experienced Commercial Captain
- All accommodation
- All meals (except breakfast day one & dinner on final day. Morning tea on most occasions)
- All drinks (bottled water through to alcohol with dinner)
- All entries, permits, admissions, gratuities/tipping
- All trips, tours, transfers and excursions as outlined in itinerary
- Air safari escorted by experienced Air Adventure tour leader
- Qualified local and indigenous guides along the way
- Items of a personal nature eg. pre-dinner drinks, phone calls, internet, travel insurance
Minimum - 8 guests
Maximum – 8 guests
Air Adventure Australia was founded by Rod Dyer (1925-2008). Rod, a pastoralist and bush pilot of over 10,000 hours pioneered ‘Ellenbrae’ cattle station in the Kimberley back in the 1960s. It was the combination of Rod’s knowledge and love of the outback and flying that led him to launch Air Adventure. Since 1977, thousands of travellers have chosen Air Adventure to fly them to the Australia less-travelled. The company is guided by Rod’s son, John Dyer who is also a pilot and very passionate about creating high quality travel experiences spanning the entirety of the Australian continent. His team at Air Adventure share his enthusiasm and dedication to create unforgettable travel for their guests.