48 hours in Cobbold Gorge
Looking for a tale as old as time? Then point your bonnet west to Queensland’s youngest gorge, Cobbold Gorge.
Having completed more than 1700 million laps around the sun, you’ll find more than just ancient geology here. History is embedded into every inch of its 30m gorge walls and with a guided tour, sense of adventure and just 48 hours, you need only a weekend to devour Cobbold Gorge’s chapter of history.
If you’re looking to get serious with sediments, discover Outback Queensland‘s Cobbold Gorge with this itinerary:
8AM: Hit the road
From Cairns, you need to take the iconic Savannah Way before taking signs to Forsyth and then onto Cobbold Gorge. From Townsville, follow signs to Charters Towers, Lynd Junction and then onto Cobbold Gorge that way.
Either way, you’ll want to leave bright and early to ensure you miss the dangerous driving hours of dusk where you more than just chance sharing the roads with kangaroos and livestock, you guarantee it.
Safe driving aside, an early arrival will ensure you engage the handbrake in time for happy hour at Queensland’s first swim-up bar in Cobbold Village’s infamous infinity pool.
3PM: Get off the grid and check-in
Like most Outback Queensland establishments, you can choose your own accommodation-adventure with three styles of cabin accommodation (Rouseabout Rooms, Boundary Huts, Station Suites) or caravan/camping sites.
Whether your style of holidaying involves real mattresses, air mattresses or no mattresses – you’re guaranteed to get off the grid here. There’s only one patch of WiFi on the property so it’s truly a digital detox no matter which style of accommodation you book.
7PM: Check the specials board
For a true ‘I’m not washing up’ kind of holiday, treat yourself to dinner at the Cobbold Village onsite restaurant.
Dinner can be ordered a-la-carte or from the daily specials board – and you can drive your dollar further with some seriously discounted meal deals when you dine for both dinner and brekkie here.
At dinner time, there’s often a Gulf-caught fish on the menu, which proves why this area is so famous for fishing.
Be sure to dine here at least once during your stay to sit on the open-air deck and eat dinner under a ceiling of million stars.
Alternatively, you can easily DIY. Make your way to the free BBQ facilities in the village where you’re bound to make a few friends while turning your snags.
5:30AM: Watch the early birds
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, and with an early start and a little luck, you’ll catch all the action.
Over 100 bird species have been spotted at Cobbold Gorge, so keep your eyes peeled for herons, ibis, finches, cormorants, parrots, honeyeaters and other natives who also holiday here.
If walking isn’t your thing, take one of the canoes out into the dam in front of the infinity pool for the best seats in the (birdwatching) house.
8AM: Breakfast of champions
Continental? Cooked? You name it, the onsite restaurant prepares it if you want someone else to fix your most important meal of the day.
Alternatively, DIY with the camping/caravanning facilities which include BBQs for big-breakfast fans.
10AM: Time to see why this area is gorge-ous
Access to Cobbold Gorge is by guided tour only, so you’ll want to jump aboard the 10am daily tour into the gorge lead by a Savannah Guide.
Savannah Guides are kind of like the Night’s Watch of the Gulf Savannah – protecting the realm, assisting tourists and ensuring the environment is not harmed in the taking of tours. Although this Night’s Watch don’t wear black, they certainly wear khaki.
This three-hour tour covers the geology of the sandstone formations which encompass over 80km², tower over 30m and in its narrowest stretches, span just 2m, earning it the title of Queensland’s narrowest gorge.
To get around, you’ll go by boat – of a different kind – an electric powered one which glides along the surface mirroring the eerie silence of the gorge itself.
The only essentials are a hat, water bottle and camera with spare memory cards as this adventure will prove why Outback Queensland is positively gorge-ous.
The tour returns by 1pm for those already thinking about their next meal.
2PM: An afternoon of relaxation
Spend this afternoon enjoying some quality downtime – listening to the birds, taking a nap or a dip in the infinity pool.
If you didn’t come all this way for a bit of downtime, dial up the adventure with a scenic helicopter ride to see parts of the gorge that aren’t accessible to the public any other way.
For action on the ground, lace up your hiking boots for a bushwalk on one of the three walking tracks on the property. You’re bound to find bits of agate on the ground – after all, the gem fields are only 42km away (but more on that later!).
Holidaying with small travellers? You’ll be happy to know there’s a kids club which plays movies during the heat of the day to ensure mum and dad enjoy a little rest and rejuvenation too.
5:30PM: Watch a sorbet sunset
To catch a classic outback sunset, there’s no better spot than the Quartz Blow, which is an 8km walk (or 4WD) for the more adventurous.
Pack drinks and nibbles (and bring the rubbish home with you, of course!) for sunset on top of a large white quartz extrusion to see the red dirt dazzle under a pink sky.
8AM: SUP your way through the Gorge
To see Cobbold Gorge from a different angle join a guided tour of the gorge by stand-up paddleboard.
No need to be a SUP expert – with no wind and no waves, it’s a beginners playground. SUPing here is suitable for all abilities (NB: participants must be +13 years) and fitness levels.
The tour returns by 9:30am, leaving enough time for checkout and breakfast in the Village before taking off.
On your way home, pay a visit to the Agate Creek Fossicking Area for the chance of specking a gem and changing your fortune forever. It’s just $12 (that’s less than a movie ticket these days) for a permit and you can speck ’til your heart’s content in any fossicking site across Queensland for a month.
Want to stay and play a bit longer in the Outback?
- Check out this mega to-do list in Outback Queensland
- Springboard to these dinosaur-inspired itineraries
- Make Cobbold Gorge just one of the stops along the Savannah Way with this itinerary
NB: Cobbold Gorge closes each year for the summer season between November and March.