Savannah Way: motorcycle travel in Northern Australia

Along with the iconic Route 66 in the USA, Argentina’s interminable Route 40 and the European Transalpina, the Savannah Way in Australia is one of the world’s best known and most appealing roads. Wild nature and big skies dominate its 3500-kilometre length. A route for any rider who dreams of once-in-a-lifetime journeys. Yes, because in Australia everything is unique. In this land, unlike any place on earth, every kilometre is an unexpected surprise, more than enough to satisfy the most adventurous of spirits.

On the map, the Savannah Way is an uneven line that crosses the Northern Territory of Australia, from the city of Cairns in Queensland, in the far east, as far as Broome in the region of Kimberley in the west.
Truly coming alive in the tales of travellers, this road features only brief sections of asphalt. For the most part, it is pure off-road, characterised predominantly by the deep red dust typical of the Australian land.
Its fame is not unjustified though. Riding the Savannah Way is emotional for this very reason. Here, particularly at sunset, the sun’s rays blend with the crimson dust, transforming the trees, rocks and water courses into gold, as far as the eye can see, and creating a landscape that leaves an indelible mark on those who cross it.

The Savannah Way weaves and wends between enormous termite nests and stretches of shrubland, tracing a path through the spaces offered by nature. Crocodiles, kangaroos and other wild animals encourage visitors to make a deviation while, here and there, riders are obliged to slow down and wade across rivers and fords.
The route takes in 15 natural parks, 5 world heritage sites and endless views of the Outback, the Australian hinterland that conceals the precious and age-old Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Travelling this road, even just a brief stretch of it, makes for unique emotions that are well worth the effort.

Our journey begins from the road’s most easterly point, in the city of Cairns, and takes in only the first part, with a stop at Karumba after 6 days of travelling, or roughly 1200 kilometres.
There is so much to see that every stage offers something special.
No buffer zones, then, only the sheer enjoyment of riding the Multistrada 1260 Enduro along the off-road sections and the immense satisfaction of completing each stage.

Cairns: a tropical gem

Situated in Trinity Bay, Cairns is a big city but also a well-known tourist destination, for Australians and foreign visitors alike. The warm climate, breath-taking scenery and beautiful beaches, surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, make Cairns a great starting point for many trips across Northern Australia. 

It is from Cairns that the Savannah Way begins, meandering in a south-westerly direction and leading travellers towards the abundant outback. 

The outback: Millaa Falls, Mount Surprise and Cobbold Gorge

Travelling by bike from Cairns, it takes a little under four hours to reach Undara, home to a volcanic national park. The trip, a little over 200 kilometres, is not a difficult one and allows riders to enjoy total immersion in nature, with birds of every kind and kangaroos roaming free.
It’s worth stopping at the Millaa Falls, which are surrounded by a 17-kilometre ring road. Once there, a guided tour of the volcanic caves is the best option, topped off with a glass of bubbly at the top of the rocks, the perfect place to enjoy the spectacle that is the “red” sunset. 

The journey continues over the following days, first to Mount Surprise, 182 kilometres to the west, and then to Cobbold Gorge, a truly magical place where visitors will feel at one with nature, surrounded by water and rocks.

Beaches and wild nature: Karumba

Having left the Cobbold Gorge and navigated Croydon and Normanton, we officially leave the Outback and return to the coast. Arriving in Karumba, it appears the perfect oasis in which to conclude a trip along the first section of the Savannah Way. Located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the pace of life in Karumba is slow and very pleasant. Visitors can enjoy a good coffee at one of the many beach bars and then do whatever they please. The wildlife is something special and Karumba is an ideal place for lovers of birdwatching and fishing. Australia continues to amaze with the tranquillity of the bay. But it’s always sensible to listen to the locals and take care when selecting your spot on the beach, as crocodiles are at home here.

Configure your Multistrada 1260 Enduro

A combination of style, performance and comfort that makes your travels smooth without sacrificing the potential of off-road riding. Configure your bike with the available Ducati Performance accessory packages.