Lava Tubes, Gems and Gorges Trail
Highlights for a week long journey.
Savannah Way Map
Cobbold Gorge: Queensland’s Youngest Gorge in the heart of the Outback
It all began 1700 million years ago…
Cobbold Gorge was created by a series of geological processes. Sand and mud sediment was deposited on what was then the ocean floor until eventually layers built up to be more than 10 kilometres thick. Movement in the Earth’s crust caused the sediments to compress, forming the Hampstead Sandstone. Further movement caused the sedimentary rock to fracture. Torrential, wet seasons over many years spilled torrents of water through the narrow fractures, creating deep gorges and permanent springs and seepages.
Minor movement in recent times (estimated to be 10,000 years ago rather than millions!) have contributed to the formation of the lower reaches of Cobbold Gorge as it is today. The gorge itself is unique as it narrows to a mere 2 metres in places, and is set amid rugged sandstone formations occupying an area of about 80 square kilometres with spectacular, 30 metre cliffs. This narrowness indicates that Cobbold Gorge is the youngest known gorge in Queensland today. Evidence of the geological processes are clearly visible. A guided tour provides visitors with an unforgettable insight to an ancient geological story which continues to unfold each day.
In order to protect the fragile environment, access to Cobbold Gorge is by guided tour only. For a more detailed geological history of Cobbold Gorge, visit the Geological Society of Queensland.
The Forsayth area is a small part of the Etheridge Goldfields that was originally opened up by gold prospectors in the late 1800’s. There were three townships in close proximity of which Forsayth is the only one left. As with many gold mining settlements in this region, the population shrunk rapidly when the gold became harder to recover. The rich ores recovered for gold processing are to be found in small pockets of rock throughout the region. Presently a few active small scale mining leases are still producing gold. Mine buildings and equipment were constructed and disassembled and moved to new locations as required, so little evidence of the old mines and processing plants were left behind. The shafts and open cut mine works are their legacy.
Gold nuggets of varying sizes are still being located by local and visiting prospectors armed with the latest state-of-the-art metal detector in the town common areas and on most station properties with the use of metal detectors. There are only about three operational gold mines in the area. The attraction of finding gold and precious agates (some of the best in the world) from Agate Creek (80km S of Forsayth) or enjoying the history and natural Geological beauty found in the area, lures many regular and new visitors.
Agate Creek south of Forsayth in north Queensland is world renowned for agates of superb colours and patterns. The Agate Creek Fossicking Area was established in 1995 by the then Department of Mines and Energy, with the co-operation of landowners and the Etheridge Shire Council, to simplify tourist and recreational fossicking there.
Fossicking for gemstones requires a Fossickers Licence, which can be issued for varying periods upon payment of the relevant fee to the Mining Registrar, Georgetown or from the Prospectors Caravan Park, Forsayth. Fossickers Licences may also be obtained from the Cobbold Gorge Village. Licence holders do not need further permission from the landholder to enter the fossicking area to fossick. Hand tools only are permitted.
Camping is not permitted in the fossicking area but the landholder allows camping nearby, adjacent to Agate Creek outside the fossicking area. Camping is also catered for at the Cobbold Gorge Village about 30 km before the fossicking area. Visitors should contact Cobbold Gorge Village on (07) 4062 5470.
Camping is not permitted elsewhere on Robin Hood Station or adjoining properties.
Undara Experience: Lava Tubes National Park
Just what is the Undara Experience? Set in the Gulf Savannah country, Undara is as ancient and alluring as the continent itself, the Undara Lava Tubes stand as silent sentinels to our pre-history. Here you can walk in the path of a volcano and sleep cocooned in an antique railway carriage as your dreams connect you with the essence of this timeless land.
It’s a place where you can explore natural geological wonders, enjoy the comforts and hospitality of a unique outback setting and where the local wildlife are as abundant as they are at home in their surroundings. In short, Undara needs to be experienced!