Unlike the big companies, we don’t announce tours until the current season is complete. We usually release tours in October, about 6 months before tours depart. We like to review the year past and do our best to improve our itinerary.
If you are wanting to go on a tour a year in advance, we have a waiting list which you can put your name on. When tour dates for that season are finalised, we contact people on the waiting list and give preference in the order they contacted us.
If you would like to be put on the waiting list for a future tour please email us and provide:
• Preferred tour & month of tour
• A contact mobile phone number
• Full names of all travellers
• City and state of all travellers
Yes, absolutely! If you missed out on your preferred dates, the best way is to book a date you can still make and email us requesting to be put on another trip if seats become available. Quite often, circumstances change, and seats become available.
Bookings are done entirely through the website. You will need to create an online account to book. This is to add a layer of security for us, so scammers can’t book. Navigate to the tour you would like, read all the details and then click ‘Proceed Booking’. You will be able to fill in your details here. You will receive a confirmation/welcome email soon after.
The deposit is 20% of your total tour price. This is due within 7 days of booking to secure seats, after which they will be released again.
Final payment is due 60 days before your departure date.
Please head to our booking Terms & Conditions for updated policy.
In some circumstances, if we can fill your seat on the tour, we may go beyond what our Terms and Conditions state. We may be able to refund a portion of your deposit, however this depends on the circumstance.
We do not want anyone to lose money due to personal issues leading up to the tour and we do our best to take care of everyone.
Please see our Terms and Conditions which can be found at the bottom of the website. See section 8, and then section 7. Please also see our Coronavirus Policy.
We do not require travelers to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
Yes, but it is only a minimal fee of $55. This is to cover the extra wear and tear on tents. Solo travellers are also welcome to share tents with friends, which will eliminate the single supplement. The single supplement is otherwise compulsory for solo travellers.
Our tours are all done between May-October. This window is chosen because it is not too wet anymore (Jan-Apr is peak wet season) and not hot enough yet (November-December are the hot months)
On average, we only travel about 200km a day. Some days are bitumen, some days are all dirt, most are a mix. There are plenty of stops each day with most drive legs only 1-2 hrs before we get out. On our Cape York and Gulf Savannah tours, there is an occasional ‘drive day’, a day which is dedicated to just driving, as there may be nothing of interest in that road section, or we have already seen it. We will let you know when these are. The longest drive in Cape York is only 380km, and we are still off the road by 4pm with a nice creek to finish with. The longest on the Gulf Savannah tour is 420km and is all bitumen.
On tour, the guide will have a daily whiteboard, put out each evening, with details of the next day. Details include the activities during the day and stops, whether you need hiking shoes or togs and the departure time from camp. The guide will keep you updated with what is happening throughout the trip and will help orientate you with our ‘map chats’.
Guests will be required to setup their own tent on tour. Guides will show you how to do this easily and other guests are always helpful. The tents are simple to setup and become a normal part of the day. On most tours we have 3x 2-night stays and sometimes 3-night stays, meaning you don’t have to set it up every day!
Our guests are generally 50 and above, however we have many younger travellers join us too. Our guests are generally active due to the camping nature of the tour.
Our groups are on the smaller side for outback tours due to the need to take camping gear with us. Our trucks seat up to 19 passengers.
Phone service is very limited across northern Australia and is often only found in towns/cities and not in between. In most places Telstra is the only provider. Cape York for example is entirely Telstra, apart from 1-2 towns.
Handy tip: If you want to save phone battery on tour, switch your phone to ‘aeroplane mode’ until you’re in town so they’re not constantly looking for satellites and chewing up your battery.
To enjoy this tour to its fullest, we highly recommend guests have a moderate walking fitness. We encourage guests to engage in walks at home before tour, to make sure you have some walk conditioning.
To make the most of your Cape York trip, a moderate level of fitness is encouraged. 99% of our clients over the years have made it to the tip, including a few very inspirational people with mobility issues. Throughout the trip we will be hopping in and out of the bus to check out places and walking short distances; but nothing too extreme. Walking sticks may be handy so feel free to bring one along. No walk is compulsory, but you’re on tour so you may as well do it right?! We do however, encourage everyone to make it to the Tip! The most difficult walks/treks are:
To the Tip (1.5km loop)
You have 2 options:
Option 1: easier beach front walk with a rocky ending at the Tip. This is the easy and short walk for those who struggle with incline. Note: This walk depends on tide, it is usually low when we get there but best to hurry back before tide rises.
Option 2: harder walk over rocky headland with incline. Is possible to do if you take your time. Recommended if you want to take photographs; you get the whole view from up top. Takes longer than beach front, 15 – 20 minute walk. We recommend at least going this way on the way to the tip, just for the view and the moment of descending to the tip.
Split Rock (1km loop)
Moderate, 1km return. It starts with a moderately steep incline up some rocky stairs with a hand rail, before reaching a plateau. Feel free to bring along a walking stick for extra help. You do not have to do this walk if you do not feel comfortable.
The Gulf Savannah walks are substantially more active walks than those on Cape York tours. We highly recommend clients prepare while you’re still at home, to make it the most enjoyable tour as possible. If you’re uncertain about these walks, if you can get daily walks in at home before the tour, you should be fine to make most of the stunning walks on the tour!
Moderate, 1.6km return. Start at Wangi plunge pool. The walk takes you to a viewing platform at the base of the falls, through a monsoon forest and up stairs to the escarpment. Swimming is not allowed above the falls.
Kakadu: Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock, Nanguluwurr art site walk
Easy-moderate, 3.4km return on mostly paved path. Nanguluwurr art site walk is a peaceful walk through woodlands, leading to a cool, quiet Indigenous rock art site.
Kakadu: Injalak Hill
Moderate, 2km return. Walking time is approximately 2.5–3 hours. Most of the tour is in shade. Tour includes panoramic views across the flood plains and to Arnhem Land escarpment. Injalak Hill is home to numerous rock art shelters that have been home to Kunwinjku people since time immemorial. Climbing the hill can be slightly strenuous, as well as maneuvering between some of the rocks but it is taken at a pace that would suit even the most casual of hiker.
Kakadu: Ubirr Rock
Easy-moderate, 1km return. A 1 km circular track takes you past the rock art sites before a steep 250 m climb to a rocky lookout with 360-degree views of Arnhem Land and the Nadab floodplain. The walk passes several breathtaking Aboriginal art sites and leads up to a stunning lookout over the Nadab floodplain.
Kakadu: Maguk Falls
Moderate, 2.5km return, 1.5 hrs each way. Hike through monsoon forest and along a sandy and rocky creek to a small waterfall and large, clear plunge pool.
Leliyn (Edith) Falls
A moderate-difficult walk. 2.6km loop, with a steep climb in first 500m.
An easy 200m return walk.
Southern Lost City
A moderate-difficult bush walk. 2.5km loop, 1.5 hrs. The track can be rough in sections with some climbing around rocks required.
Boodjamulla NP Walks
Moderate to Difficult walks. A variety of walks from Grade 2-4 (easy-difficult). Some walks 2.6 – 3.7km loops with steep sections. A good fitness level is recommended to enjoy this amazing park.
Riversleigh Fossil Site #4
Moderate, 800m return. A steep but fascinating trail through an ancient landscape to the top of a limestone outcrop.
Undara: Bluff Walk
Easy, 1.5 km return. The Bluff Walk starts at reception and climbs the small granite knoll SW of the Lodge, take the left fork at the Atkinson’s Lookout Track intersection. Climb through a gentle gully and approach the summit from the west. From the summit you have magnificent views over the wooded lava plains to many of the region’s volcanoes.
Undara: Lava Tubes Experience
Moderate, 2hr return. Some boardwalks and stairs, but also expect uneven surfaces and climbing over rocks.
We are very particular about a few things that make a trip comfortable; good food and sleeping gear are two of those. Our tents are very spacious and easy to put up. They are a 6ft-high dome tent, that is classed as a 4-person tent. Our mattresses vary between trucks due to storage availability and are high-quality, high-density Dunlop memory foam mattresses that stack in the vehicles (not rollable) and are very comfy!
We have sheets and micro-fibre blankets for bedding and a mattress case as well. The pillows are standard and are covered with hygienic pillow covers as well as a standard pillowcase. We also supply bathmats for the front of your tent! You can find pictures of our gear on the website for each tour.
As mentioned above, we are very particular about good food. Our dinners are raved about every night of the trip, and we keep our recipes and menu under lock and key! We are proud of our food!
Breakfasts include a variety of cereals and toast and spreads. We also have fruit on board, and baked beans. 2-3 times on the trip we will switch things up with a hot breakfast.
We are limited in the amount of bread we can carry (given the amount we’d need for everyone). As such, lunches are usually wraps with meat and salad fillings. We often make a salad as well. A couple times a trip we switch the lunches up as well.
Our dinners have been refined over the years and come from a wide range of cultures. Our meals are EXCELLENT and are designed to cater for large groups of people without compromising on taste! Occasionally rural areas limit what we can purchase, so sometimes we have to think on our feet.
Some meals will be Buy Your Own (B.Y.O). These days are stated clearly in the itineraries.
Snacks: various snacks provided during the day and at the end of the day.
Yes, we can easily cater for gluten free, lactose free and vegetarian diets. We will do our best to cater for vegan diets, however this can be tricky with what is stocked in remote shops.
We cannot cater for ‘food preferences’, only allergies or dietary requirements. We ask that you be respectful to staff, as they will endeavour to provide you with good meals, however it can be tricky due to the remote nature of tours.
Please make sure you provide us with enough information during booking to help understand the scope of your dietary requirements.
You’re in luck! The flies aren’t bad at all in Cape York, in fact they’re not noticeable most of the year, unlike the centre of Aus. The NT is also pretty good for that time of the year.
We have selected campsites that are mostly mozzie free! The occasional place might be bad, and it can depend on monthly conditions, but generally we are lucky with mozzies. If you are worried about skin reactions to bites from mozzies or midgies, please bring appropriate skin care or allergy medication.
Yes. Please keep in mind that we will be sharing luggage space with 16-21 people along with all our equipment including mattresses, bedding, chairs, fridges, tents. Luggage storage spaces are also tight and so we must use these spaces efficiently.
Please follow these guidelines for your baggage:
You may bring:
– 1 x small/medium size luggage bag (stowed in luggage compartment)
– 1 x small bag/pack (must be stowed at your feet)
Bags must be soft bags without wheels or frames. Bags with wheels and frames do not fit well on the shelves and often take up the space of 2 bags. Strictly no suitcases, frame/wheel bags or hiking backpacks
Bring your own bag, even if you are a couple. Please restrict your luggage as much as possible and bring only the essentials (see our packing list). If you bring bags that are excessive, you may be asked to repack your gear into a bag provided at pick up. Weight is not as important, but please be sensible.
o Length: 45cm-60cm,
o Width: 20cm-35cm,
o Height: 20cm-35cm
You’re in luck! We have a suggested packing list for you! It is online or you will receive it after booking.
Yes, but please limit yourself. We have a client fridge on board to share between everyone. Everyone on board has the responsibility to keep the fridge clean and share space. This fridge will be used for your own drinks. We discourage the client fridge to be used for food due to frequent spills and mess.
You are welcome to bring alcohol on the first day. You can bring a 6-pack or a bottle or two (or cask) of wine on the first day. You will be able to restock every few days. If drinking beer/cider/UDLs please only buy cans as we can fit more and bottles will smash. We understand wine is mostly sold in bottles though, but if you are not fussed on brand/type, cask wine is more ideal for our storage space.
No food & drinks are to be put in our fridge or freezer or storage area as we have no extra space.
Absolutely. You can store it in the guest fridge, or in ours (the one exception to the above rule).
Generally, no. Tours only operate in the dry season and rain is infrequent. Occasionally we get showers, but it’s not worth sacrificing luggage space for a large raincoat. We suggest buying a cheap $2-4 poncho from the supermarket in the chance that we get rain. Or if you have a good quality lightweight jacket that is compact that would also be ideal.
We strongly recommend getting travel insurance for your tour and even a period leading up to it. Compare the options and make sure they will cover medical expenses and accommodation costs if you are forced to cancel due to injury.
The most common causes of cancellation are personal health issues or injury before or during tour, or to a family member or close friend.
Cancellations follow our Terms and Conditions.
No, you will be required to book your own flights to and from the start & finish destinations. For private tours, a return flight from the top of Cape York to Cairns is included.
In case of flight/transport delays, it is highly recommended to book flights/transport to arrive the start destination at least the day before we depart. This will give you enough time to get to the pick-up locations in case of any delays.
In case of any unexpected situations which may occur on our way home (blown tyre, re-routes due to road conditions, flight changes), it is highly recommended to book flights/transport to depart your end destination at least the day after we return home. This will give you enough time to catch your transport home in case of any delays on trip.
Departure times will be confirmed in the week before departure. Approximate departure times are below, but are between 6-730 depending on tour. Ensure you have your mobile with you as we will be in touch and check your emails leading up to tours for final details.
Arrival home depends on how we are going with time on the day. Usually, we will arrive home mid-late afternoon, often between 4-6pm. Please do NOT book to fly out on the last day of tour in case of roadworks or other time delays.
As of 2023, we have removed our recommended hotel listings as it was creating a significant amount of confusion for travellers and many places were booked out. We encourage you to check reviews on accommodation and choose something that suits you. Please keep in mind the walking distance to the pickup locations.
Caravan Parks Cairns
First City Caravillas; Kelly Street, Earlville, QLD 4870. www.caravilla.com.au | (07) 40 541 403
Caravan Parks Darwin
Hidden Valley Holiday Park; 25 Hidden Valley Rd, Berrimah NT 0828. (08) 8984 2888
A good caravan park about 15 minutes drive from Darwin (if you don’t want to be right in the city)
A few days before the tour begins, we will confirm specific pick-up times with you. Below is a guide. Please be waiting 5-10 minutes prior to your pickup time. Please be at one of the following locations:
15-Day Cape York Tours (Cairns)
• 730 AM: First City Caravillas: Kelly Street, Cairns, QLD 4870
• 750 AM: Munro Martin Parklands, Main Entrance (wait at Bus Zone on Florence St)
• 800 AM: Cairns Sheridan Hotel, 295 Sheridan St. Wait at Bus Stop on SHERIDAN ST
• 820 AM: Cairns Beaches Storage, Mac Peak Crescent, QLD 4870. ONLY for CAPE YORK TOURS
Gulf Savannah Tours (Cairns)
• 630 AM: Cairns Sheridan Hotel, 295 Sheridan St. Wait at Bus Stop on SHERIDAN ST
• 640 AM: Munro Martin Parklands, Main Entrance (wait at Bus Zone on Florence St)
• 655 AM: First City Caravillas (wait on Kelly Street)
Gulf Savannah Tours (Darwin)
• 0600 AM: Frontier Darwin Hotel, Front Foyer
• 0620 AM: Palms City Resort, Front Foyer (Esplanade)
• 0640 AM: Rydges Darwin Central, Shadforth Lane Entrance
It will be easiest for you to stay at accommodation near these locations. Munro Martin Parklands (Cairns) is a good pickup point for those wanting to stay closer to the city centre. Please note that we don’t pick up at locations south of Earlville for Cape York tours, or north of Cairns North for Gulf Savannah tours, so please be prepared to catch a taxi to a pickup point if you do choose something in this area.
Please do not ask to be picked up or dropped off at your hotel. We simply cannot do this for every different person and tour, as we would have to physically inspect each individual hotel to see if our trucks can pull over safely.
Please confirm your pick-up location with us by email AS SOON as you book your accommodation.
Cairns: There are several caravan parks located in Cairns. Please consider our pick-up locations as you will need to meet us here for departure.
Our Recommendation for Cape York Tours:
Note: if you book one of these for a Gulf Savannah tour you will need to meet us at a pickup point in the city.
Cairns Beaches Storage:
Open Air for under 9m: $165/month
Open Air for 9 – 15m: $300/month
Small Under Cover: $250/month
Large Under Cover: $330/month
Rates current at 24th October, 2022.
Located at Smithfield, north of Cairns. Mac Peak Crescent, Smithfield, QLD 4878. (07) 40 578 274
*in 2019 they have changed their minimum term to 1-month, however a 2-week stay will just attract the 1-month rate. PLEASE note the pick-up for this location is Mac Peak Crescent and not Maisel Close (where their office is).
First City Caravillas: $15-20/night for car and caravan (if you stayed there). Pickup is OK from here for both tours.
Our Recommendation for Gulf Savannah Tours:
Note: if you book one of these for a Cape York tour you will need to meet us at a pickup point in the city.
National Storage Edmonton.
Both open air and garage spaces. Keyless entry with a code. Spaces do book out and prices can change. An estimate for uncovered is: 3m x 6m: $180/month or $42/week, 3m x 8m: $220/month, 3m x 10m: $280/month. 55 Hargreaves St, Edmonton, QLD, 4869. (07) 4045 4611
First City Caravillas: $15-20/night for car and caravan (if you stayed there). Pickup is OK from here for both tours.
Clothing washing facilities will be available usually around day 4-6 and day 8-10, when we stay at Weipa for 2 days, and Loyalty Beach (the tip) for 3 days. Many other camping grounds we stay at also have washing facilities. We provide washing powder on board.
For Gulf Savannah Tours washing can be done at different places along the way, with good opportunities during our multiple 2-night stays.
We have showers and toilets most nights on tours. Many bush camps we stay at have a beautiful creek or river nearby that we can swim in also. On Cape York tours there is only 1 bush camp, with a stunning creek for a shower and we set up a bush loo.
Please be aware, toilets at camps are generally further away from your bed than your toilet at home. Most are relatively close to camp. However, at one of the camps there is a 180m walk to the toilet block, but it is very worth it as we get a camp to ourselves next to the river here.
Our vehicles are fitted with several USB charging ports, with extra USB ports in the trailer and storage space of the Isuzu truck.
If you have a portable battery setup for your machine it is possible to bring it. Otherwise, we have no facilities on the truck to provide charge to your machine. We only have 240v at a few campsites and at these you would need a significant extension lead to get it to your tent.
Yes, there is ample drinking water on board. We refill our tanks most days.
Yes, we recommend bringing $400 in cash per person, in case phone lines are cut and EFTPOS systems are down.
Yes! Most of the places we travel now accept payments by card.
Yes, you certainly can. Please contact us to talk about your specific needs. We have had guests with various mobility problems over the years and all have made it to the tip!
We are big fans of a good cuppa! We have several kinds of tea, from black to various herbal teas. We also have Moccona instant coffee or coffee grounds for our stove percolator.
Our trucks are not fitted with toilets. We notify guests of toilet breaks on the road and there are usually toilet stops are reasonable intervals.
Passengers are not allowed to smoke on the vehicles or within 10m of a facility or camp ground in a National Park. Otherwise smoking is allowed. We do ask you be courteous to other travellers though.
Alcohol Restrictions are in place for some Aboriginal Communities in Cape York. We will be affected once we hit the Northern Peninsula Area (Includes Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico) where there is a limit we can carry on board. In 2021, we obtained an exemption from Liquor Licensing, which now allows us to have the below amount per person, rather than per vehicle.
The maximum amount of alcohol a person can have in the restricted area is:
2 litres of wine (unfortified) and 11.25 litres (1 carton of 30 x 375ml cans) of any strength beer
2 litres of wine (unfortified) and 9 litres (1 carton of 24 x 375ml cans) of premixed spirits of up to 5.5% alcohol/volume.
Bottled spirits are banned in the NPA and must be consumed before entry.
We hope that everyone respects the rules as we are responsible for what is carried on board. We could be fined up to $45,000.
On some tours in the Gulf Savannah, we may pass through town ‘bona fide’, meaning we can pass through towns with alcohol on board without issue. There are some communities that are still ‘dry’ and we won’t be able to enter, however this won’t impact the tour.
Zeus – Isuzu NPS300 15-Seater + Trailer
Our tour truck ‘Zeus’ is a very noble steed indeed! He seats 15 passengers and tows a neat camp trailer which has a fridge for your drinks and stores our camping gear, luggage and is our kitchen! Our truck is fitted with a mini-bookshelf full of field guides and historical books! He is a slightly older model Isuzu but is renowned with mechanics for being one of THE most reliable of its’ kind. I have lived and worked in remote locations and Cape York all my life and I place high importance on perfect maintenance before a trip!
Herc (aka Freddy Hercules) – MAN 14 Series 19-Seater
Herc is the latest addition to the Cockatours fleet! He is a vehicle from another tour company and was maintained exceptionally. This MAN truck is renowned to be more comfortable than other large trucks of its kind due to its longer suspension. Herc has a huge viewing port through the front cab and a television in the rear cab.
Of course! Both trucks have phenomenal aircon.
Storage on board?
There is VERY limited storage on board the truck, so we suggest only taking the very smallest of bags on board the truck. See our ‘Luggage’ section for more info.
There are 8-10 USB charging ports in the front section of the passenger module.
What are the seating arrangements?
The seats have ample space between them, generally more than a standard bus or plane. Seats are numbered and we rotate seats each day to keep things fair.