In the heart of Queensland’s untouched Gulf Savannah, between Mount Surprise and Georgetown, is a magical landscape alive with culture, nature, history and natural beauty.
It’s home to the state’s newest tourist attraction – the Talaroo Hot Springs experience, which combines the culture and hospitality of Ewamian people with a globally significant and one of North Queensland’s most important geological wonders.
On the Savannah Way – the epic 3700km road trip from Cairns to Broome – it’s about 4.5 hours from Cairns on roads that are accessible to 2WD vehicles, trailers and caravans, although the final 10km from the Gulf Development Road (Savannah Way) to Talaroo is unsealed.
There’s a caravan park and campground just 200m from the Einasleigh River and a stone’s throw from the spectacular hot springs.
Visitors can join an exclusive guided tour, experience the healing waters of the hot springs and take a walk to the river, and are encouraged to make the most of “Talaroo time” by connecting with Ewamian traditional owners.
Ewamian Elder and cultural advisor for Talaroo’s tours and experiences, Jimmy “JR” Richards, is passionate about sharing his culture and knowledge with visitors and has a unique connection to his country.
In his youth, he worked as a stockman at Talaroo Station and went on to become the first indigenous tour guide at the Undara Experience before developing some of Queensland’s most important indigenous ranger programs, including Talaroo.
His wealth of knowledge and deep cultural insights have shaped the Savannah guides training program and he is inspiring a team of new guides to share Talaroo’s stories with visitors.
“Every part of our country tells a piece of our story,” JR says. “From the plants we’ve used for thousands of years to the history and culture of our people and the future we’re building right here.
“It’s an incredible evolving journey that mirrors the constantly changing springs at the heart of our land.”
The Hot Springs Discovery Tour takes visitors to the heart of Talaroo – the ancient and breathtaking hot springs. Expert guides share the secrets of this unique geological wonder, Talaroo’s fascinating history and the connection Ewamian people have had with their country for thousands of years.
Tours are 90 minutes and include the hot springs boardwalk and a soak in the springs bathing pool.
Tours depart regularly throughout the day from 8am to 4pm subject to demand, and visitors can check availability and times online.
Visitors can also immerse in the geothermal waters and experience the traditional healing and tranquillity of Talaroo’s blissful private soaking pools, the ultimate in Outback relaxation.
Join the Ewamian people around the firepit at the free Yarning Circle each evening – a chance to learn more about the people and the country and swap traveller’s tales around dancing flames.
There are also self-guided activities. Pick up a map at reception and take a walk. There are hundreds of wildlife species recorded at Talaroo, including more than 200 bird species plus wallabies, wallaroos, frogs and turtles.
The caravan park and campground has 16 powered and 14 unpowered sites around a clean and modern camp kitchen, new amenities block, reception, gift shop and small kiosk.
Creating a new tourism business at Talaroo has been a long-held dream of the Ewamian people.
Talaroo Station, a 31,500ha property on the Einasleigh River, was purchased on behalf of Ewamian people in 2012 through the National Reserve System and since then has been managed by Ewamian Rangers as an Indigenous Protected Area and Nature Refuge.
“It is truly moving to see our vision coming to life,” Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation general manager Sharon Prior said.
EAC chairman Ken Georgetown discovered in his late teens that his grandfather had been taken away from Georgetown.
This inspired him to join with Elders to seek a base for all Ewamian people to get back to their homelands.
“Every time I return, I see the strength and determination of our people slowly transforming Talaroo into a sustainable future that has great potential not just for Ewamian people but for a deep reconciliation between all people, culture and place,” he said.