Savannah Way

Multiple Locations

Explore five World Heritage areas on a journey through Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia on Australia's adventure drive, the Savannah Way. This trek across the top of Australia starts in the tropical city of Cairns where you can visit the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest, and takes you to Broome's spectacular Cable Beach. Diverse landscapes and incredible natural attractions can be found along the way on this 30-day drive.

Discover the world's longest lava tube, fossick for topaz, glide through gorges and go croc spotting in Queensland. Take a historical train ride, visit a gold mining ghost town and see where Burke and Wills set up camp in 1861. Gorges, natural springs and remarkable stone outcrops punctuate the scenery as you drive across the Northern Territory's top end. See the wetlands of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, discover just how good the fishing can be around Borroloola and visit the Aboriginal art sites at Gregory National Park.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia is the country's last frontier with highlights including the World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungles and authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences. End your journey soaking up the unique outback atmosphere of Broome.

Journey Details

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Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Off Road Driving
  • Scuba-Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Other Information

Family Friendly:

Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

Full Itinerary

Travel from the reef through the rainforest to the outback beauty of the Gulf Savannah on the Queensland section of the Savannah Way. Starting in the tropical city of Cairns, you can explore the dual World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest.

This route includes the world's longest lava tube at Undara Volcanic National Park, Mount Surprise where you can fossick for topaz and Einasleigh where the Savannahlander train stops outside the pub.

Enjoy the serene beauty of cruising Cobbold Gorge before admiring the amazing mineral collection at Georgetown and reliving the gold mining days as you explore the well preserved buildings of Croydon's historic precinct. Go croc spotting or fishing on Normanton's mighty river, then head to the coast for Karumba's famous sunsets and amazing fishing.

Travel through grasslands rich with wildlife including an array of birds to Burketown where the Morning Glory cloud formation rolls across the Gulf of Carpentaria. Relax in the outback oasis of Adel's Grove before exploring the World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields, then be awestruck at Boodjamulla National Park's spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge.

The Aboriginal community of Doomadgee is the last stop before the remote Hell's Gate Roadhouse.

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Meet the friendly characters of the Savannah Way as you travel through pioneering outback towns and rugged landscapes with dramatic natural features. This route starts in the modern tropical city of Cairns where you can explore the dual World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest.

Leave the coast behind as you travel across the Atherton Tableland though Queensland's highest town, Ravenshoe at 920 metres, for the outback beauty of the Gulf Savannah. Undara Volcanic National Park is where you can explore the world's longest lava tube, enjoy a hearty bush breakfast and see diverse wildlife.

Learn how to fossick for semi-precious stones at Mount Surprise before heading into Georgetown to see the incredible mineral collection. Croydon has a rich heritage landscape with mining machinery and buildings from the gold rush era. Its well preserved historic precinct showcases public buildings from the late 1800s.

Normanton is better known for its colourful pubs and fishing in the mighty Norman River where you are sure to spot a crocodile. At the mouth of the river is Karumba, the centre of the Gulf's prawning and barramundi industries and the place to watch the sun sink into the ocean.

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Whether you enjoy digging dusty creek beds for sapphires or using a metal detector to uncover hidden treasure, there are fossicking locations galore on this gem of a trail. Mount Surprise is a gem fossicking centre with topaz, quartz, spinel, garnet, cairngorm and aquamarine to be found. Learn the techniques for sieving at Mount Surprise Gems where you can see how faceting is done.

Head out to O'Brien's Creek Designated Fossicking Area, just 37 kilometres north of Mount Surprise, to try your hand digging for topaz in the creek bed.

Georgetown's TerrEstrial Centre is a magnificent mineral display and nearby Flat Creek Station welcomes visitors with gold detectors. About 85 kilometres south of Forsayth, the Agate Creek Designated Fossicking Area is where you may find agate or thunder eggs in a range of rich colours.

From Forsayth, where you can see the Goldfields Hotel display of agates and gold, head to Einasleigh to visit Copperfield Gorge before travelling to The Lynd Junction. About 90 kilometres south is Moonstone Hill where you can fossick for feldspar, known as moonstone for its silvery-white to blue sheen. Another 16 kilometres south, turn off to Chudleigh Park to look for gem-quality peridot

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The Gulf Savannah is the land of legendary fishing spots where you can hook mighty barramundi, duel with queen fish or snag threadfin salmon. Fish the estuaries for grunter and fingermark or head offshore to troll for cobia and Spanish mackerel. Start at the largest body of fresh water in the Gulf Savannah, Lake Belmore near Croydon where you can catch red claw, barramundi, sooty grunter and black bream.

Next stop is the mighty Norman River at Normanton, the barramundi capital of the Gulf of Carpentaria and host of the annual Barra Classic. Take a fishing tour or try the old bridge on the Karumba road - a king salmon and barramundi hot spot at night. Karumba at the mouth of the Norman River is the centre of the Gulf's prawning and barramundi industries. Cast your line off the beach or join a cruise to catch mud crabs or a variety of ocean fish.

Visit the Barramundi Discovery Centre where barramundi are bred for release into the Gulf rivers and feed the 20 kilogram barra. Burketown hosts the World Barramundi Championships and has the Albert and Nicholson Rivers as great fishing locations. Offshore is Sweers Island, a popular fishing resort.

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Diverse habitats including rainforest, swamps and savannah plains are home to extraordinary birdlife on this drive. Start on the Atherton Tablelands at the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve where 204 species of wetland and bushland birds live, including black-throated finches and the jabiru.

Sarus cranes nest at Bromfield Swamp, while the two-storey bird hide at Hasties Swamp gives a clear view of resident and migratory birds. Wongabel State Forest has the remnants of endangered mabi forest, home to endemic Wet Tropics species including Victoria's riflebird.

More upland rainforest birds are at Mount Hypipamee. Woodland and aquatic species are found at Millstream Falls National Park area while thousands of black swans flock to Wurruma Swamp, east of Mount Garnet.

The Savannah Way is rich with birdlife especially at dams like the one near Cumberland Chimney, west of Georgetown. Flocks of pink and grey galahs live at Croydon, and diverse species can be seen from the bird hide at nearby Lake Belmore. Water birds including brolga, godwits, sandpipers and the near threatened Australian bustard are at Mutton Hole Wetlands on the way to Karumba where you can take a cruise early in the morning or at sunset to go bird watching.

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Start the trail at the Cairns Museum to get a feel for Far Northern history from the early Indigenous inhabitants through to the influx of European and Chinese gold seekers and the pioneering cattlemen. Explore World War Two history on the Atherton Tablelands, Australia's largest military base during 1943 to 1945.

Learn more at the Mareeba RSL or take a flight in an ex-military aircraft at Warbird Adventures. Listed on the National Heritage Register, Herberton is the Tablelands' oldest town and you can explore Australiana at the Herberton Historic Village.

Stay in a restored railway carriage at Undara Experience or travel on the historic Savannahlander to the outback towns of Mount Surprise, Einasleigh and Forsayth. Visit a working cattle station at nearby Cobbold Gorge before heading to Georgetown to see gold and other treasures that lured prospectors to the region.

Croydon's historic precinct is a snapshot of life in the 1800s and where you can board the Gulflander Train to Normanton's Victorian railway station. Visit the site of Burke and Wills' camp of 1861 on the way to Burketown where the cemetery - thought to be Australia's largest mass grave - reveals how "Gulf Fever" killed much of the population.

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Starting in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, you can drive through the Wet Tropics rainforest to visit Barron Falls and browse the markets in the rainforest village of Kuranda.

Continue on to Mareeba, set amidst orchards, coffee plantations and sugar cane fields, and explore the Atherton Tablelands with its rainforest walks, mountain bike trails and waterfalls.

Visit Atherton's century-old Chinese temple, a bird watching hide or a volcanic crater lake. Drive into the savannah grasslands and stop to soak in the therapeutic mineral waters of Innot Hot Springs.

Tour the world's longest lava tube system in Undara Volcanic National Park and enjoy campfire entertainment at the Lava Lodge. Start the day with a hearty bush breakfast and spot kangaroos, wallabies and birds on your morning walk.

Drive to Mount Surprise where you can learn how to fossick for gems and continue on to the stunning mineral collection at Georgetown's TerrEstrial Centre. Take a good unsealed road to Cobbold Gorge, a working cattle station with a picturesque gorge cruise. Glide past sandstone cliffs to see freshwater crocodiles basking in the sun and darter birds drying their wings after they dive underwater to spear fish with their sharp beaks.

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Start in Townsville where you can experience the laid back lifestyle of the tropics at The Strand, a 2.5 kilometre stretch of inner-city beach and playgrounds. Head towards the Outback over Herveys Range through Thorntons Gap, following the route of the prospectors trekking to the remote western gold mining camps. Here you can see one of the oldest buildings in North Queensland, a split log cabin circa 1865.

Take the Gregory Developmental Road to The Lynd to have a beer at the Oasis Roadhouse, said to be the smallest bar in Australia as it holds just two thirsty travellers. Next stop is Einasleigh to see Copperfield Gorge and then Forsayth where relics of the Etheridge Goldfields including a rail engine are displayed.

Cobbold Gorge can keep you busy for days whether it is gliding on a boat between the sandstone cliffs of the narrow gorge, bushwalking to spot crocodiles, fishing for barramundi or seeing a working cattle station in action. End the journey at another natural wonder, the world's longest lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park. Explore the tubes with a guide, see the rim of the volcano and watch micro bats emerge from the tubes at dark.

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Hughenden is where the first entire dinosaur skeleton was found in Australia and today you can see a life-size replica of Hughie the Muttaburrasaurus at the Flinders Discovery Centre.

Take the Kennedy Developmental Road to Porcupine Gorge National Park which features 500 million years of layered rock formations known as Australia's "Little Grand Canyon". Admire the gorge from the lookout before walking to the base for a swim in the cool water.

Drive through Blackbraes National Park where basalt outcrops and ironbark woodlands are home to grey kangaroos and abundant birdlife.

Stop at The Lynd to have a beer at the Oasis Roadhouse, said to be the smallest bar in Australia as it holds just two thirsty travellers. Head to Einasleigh to see Copperfield Gorge and then Forsayth where relics of the Etheridge Goldfields including a rail engine are displayed.

Cobbold Gorge can keep you busy for days whether it is gliding on a boat between the sandstone cliffs of the narrow gorge, bushwalking to spot crocodiles, fishing for barramundi or seeing a working cattle station in action. End your journey at Georgetown and admire the TerrEstrial Centre's extensive mineral collection from around the world.

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Tour the northern section of the Matilda Highway from Cloncurry, the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the landing place of the first Qantas flight.

Stop for fuel or a meal at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, then turn on to the Wills Developmental Road to Gregory Downs on the tranquil Gregory River where you can canoe and bushwalk.

Stay at the outback oasis, Adel's Grove, a haven for wildlife which was once a botanical garden. Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is where you can canoe through emerald creeks past sandstone cliffs and see Waanyi rock art.

Follow the Wild Dog Dreaming path, take in panoramic views over the Constance Range and see freshwater crocodiles and unique birdlife. Tours to the nearby Riversleigh Fossil Fields interpret this World Heritage-listed treasure trove of clearly visible bones revealing the history of Australia's mammal species.

From the Aboriginal community of Doomadgee travel through grasslands rich with birdlife to Burketown where the Morning Glory cloud formation rolls across the Gulf of Carpentaria. End your journey at Normanton at the very top of the Matilda Highway where you can pose with Krys, the life-size replica of the largest crocodile ever captured (8.64 metres).

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Drive from the dry savannah plains to Cardwell on the coast, taking in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and a former logging trail, considered to be one of Queensland's great engineering feats.

Start at Undara National Park to see the world's longest lava tube and travel along the Kennedy Highway, turning right into Gunnawarra Road, just four kilometres before Mount Garnet. Take Kirrama-Cashmere Road to Blencoe Falls which drop 90 metres into a pool before cascading a further 230 metres into Herbert River Gorge.

From the camping area, the five kilometre Jabali walk goes to Blencoe Falls and Herbert River Gorge lookouts. Nearby is The Wet Tropics Great Walk, a multi-day hike following the Herbert River.

The Kirrama Range Road in Girringun National Park has a long Indigenous and pioneering history, and features bridged creek crossings, a roadside waterfall and wide elevated views of the valleys. At Tuckers and Murray Valley Lookouts are signs detailing the history of the road. A boardwalk at Society Flat in Kirrama National Park takes you past kauri pines and rose gums which were logged in the area, showing the difference between open woodland and dense rainforest as well as logged and unlogged areas.

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Discover dramatic gorges, lava tubes and brilliant gemstones on the Lava Tubes, Gems and Gorges Trail which loops from the Savannah Way through the Etheridge Shire. Here you will experience the Australian outback and its wildlife on an adventure taking in the McBride Volcanic Province where eruptions millions of years ago formed a spectacular landscape and left behind a rich mineral heritage.

Explore the longest lava tubes in the world at Undara Volcanic National Park, learn about fossicking at Mount Surprise and look for topaz at O'Brien's Creek. Georgetown's TerrEstrial Centre is where you can see more than 4,500 gemstones and minerals from around the world.

Flat Creek Station is home to the rare Gouldian finch and popular for gold prospecting. Cruise through the narrow sandstone cliffs of Cobbold Gorge and visit the Agate Creek gem fields which are famous for the world's most colourful thunder eggs.

Four wheel-drive vehicles can continue on to Gilberton Outback Retreat while conventional vehicles and caravans must travel via the Lynd Junction where you can stop for a coldie in Australia's smallest bar.

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From AU$115 - 220
The luxury bungalow tent island retreat of Svendsens Beach Great Keppel Island offers guests the perfect eco friendly island holiday with a 'glamping' experience. At their reasonable prices anyone can afford a week on the pristine side of Great Keppel Island. Walk the many bushwalks (up to five hour tracks), snorkel on their lovely coral reefs or just relax. They meet you at the island ferry and transport you over to share their small, friendly, ecologically gentle island way of life, where their power comes from wind generators and solar panels. Whales migrate past the island in Winter (July-September) and turtles nest in Summer (November-February). The accommodation is for adults only. Svendsens Beach can accommodate a maximum of 10 adults in the two luxury tent-bungalows, the newly appointed studio and the rental house. The tents and studio form one small cluster, where up to three couples can share, whereas the house is completely separate and self-contained.

Noosa Avalon Farm Cottages

Pinbarren, Noosa Area
From AU$121 - 300
Noosa Cottages is an Eco award winning Retreat and Sanctuary for your Queensland holidays in the beautiful Noosa Hinterland, fully self-contained holiday accommodation on 30 private treed acres. Sunshine coast accommodation with panoramic mountain views, offering great value for money. Noosa Avalon Farm Cottages has five very individual private country cottages from rustic to country elegance and can sleep one to 23 guests. Great for families, honeymooners, romance, children and pets, and business groups in the real Australian bush. Don't forget your marshmallows to toast around your campfire and enjoy a kaleidoscope of stars. Close to Lake Cootharaba, Cooroy, Pomona, Eumundi, Fraser Island and Cooloola, Enjoy National Parks, kangaroos, lakes and native animals, butterfly and bird watching, walking and horse riding trails, Eumundi markets, art galleries, museums, Majestic Silent Movie Theatre, antiques, restaurants, fishing and swimming. They are environmentally friendly since 1986 and do not use poisons on Avalon. Five minutes to your local friendly town of Pomona, quirky and historical, lot of antiques and country shopping, only 90 minutes from Brisbane. The kids will love animal feeding and viewing on the farm. Experience wildlife and farm animals with a focus on revegetation, habitat and education.
From AU$110 - 110
Enjoy your farm stay activities and accommodation at Chinchilla, the beginning of the outback. In 1990 Shirley and Brian returned to the family property (settled in 1910) to build their Bimbimbi home. Later they restored the original pioneer family home complete with original furniture at Little Hollow. They now can share with guests their love and enjoyment of country life either at Bimbimbi which offers full accommodation or self-catered accommodation at Little-Hollow. The 2,500 acre Hereford grazing property is situated 20 kilometres west of Chinchilla and is only a three and a half hours drive from Brisbane. When you step out of your car the peace and tranquility of the views, bush and wilderness areas will enfold you. Guests can walk to explore or just watch the Hereford cows and calves graze. Bordering on the Condamine River this property has preserved a major part of the original bush and wilderness areas. It has been recognised by Greening Australia and is registered as “Land for Wildlife”.

Henderson Park Farm Retreat

Rockhampton, Rockhampton Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$165 - 225
Henderson Park, a fifth generation family run working cattle property, is uniquely positioned just 10 minutes off the East Coast Highway and 30 minutes north of Rockhampton, Central Queensland. Join an educational property tour, simply unwind or take a break from travelling. Go on a bush walk, see wildlife and cattle in their natural environment, go canoeing, swimming, fishing (creek is stocked with Barramundi!) and admire the stunning sunset and evening bird song. There are two styles of fully self contained accommodation available. Luxurious accommodation is provided in an intimate setting at Hedlow Lodge, which boasts 180 degree views over the property and water from the spacious communal deck. Four queen ensuited rooms are available in Hedlow Lodge. Their Pioneer Style Cabins are cosy and timber lined with private verandahs also overlooking beautiful Hedlow Creek. Two cabins are available each with different bedding configuration. Ranked number 1 of 32 places to stay in the Rockhampton region on Trip Advisor, hosts Annika and Ryan are waiting to welcome you to their little piece of paradise!

Hay Point Country Bed and Breakfast

Hay Point, Mackay Area
  • Free WiFi
  • Deals
From AU$140 - 140
Relax and escape to this tropical country retreat located only 25 minutes south of Mackay. Access roads are all sealed - only 10 minutes from the highway. The air-conditioned self-contained unit provides a convenient home-base while you explore the Mackay/Whitsunday region's rainforests, reefs and many other unique tourist attractions. After a day of sightseeing or fishing, unwind with a game of tennis and then cool down in the resort-style pool. You might like to assist with feeding the farm animals or just take a leisurely walk while you absorb the country atmosphere. A full breakfast is included in the tariff and country style evening meals are available with 24 hours notice. The unit has a well-equipped kitchen and the laundry includes a washing machine, iron and ironing board. Wi-fi is available and they accept Visa and MasterCard.

Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park

Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$42 - 525
Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park is located on the waterfront of the Tallebudgera Estuary, an ideal holiday spot for families who love the water. There’s a netted swimming area in the creek plus a patrolled surf beach 300 metres from the park. This family park has it all with three swimming pools which are heated seasonally, a tennis court, well-stocked kiosk, camp kitchens, barbecues, a playground and recreation room. Park accommodation includes a wide variety of two and three bedroom villas that sleep from four to nine guests. Villas on the waterfront have picturesque views, and for the budget conscious, the lodging rooms are ideal with shared facilities. The wide range of sites is suitable for caravans, camper trailers, camper vans and tents. Options include waterfront, ensuite, powered and un-powered. A boat ramp adjacent to the park provides easy boating and fishing access. Scenic Burleigh Heads National Park is within a short stroll for bushwalks and spectacular views. The drive to theme parks and Surfers Paradise is a comfortable 30 minutes from the park and easy access to public transport gets you to nearby golf courses, restaurants, and services clubs.

Greenlee Cottages

Sarabah, Scenic Rim Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$175 - 300
Greenlee Cottages are four contemporary cottages with rustic charm set in the Scenic Rim, with a backdrop of Greenlee Farm macadamia orchard. Soak up the great views of the Canungra Valley from the deck. Listen to the Canungra Creek flowing by. Relax with a good book. Immerse yourself in nature with native wildlife and birdlife on your doorstep. The cottages accommodate between two and four people. Woodcutters cottage is disable friendly so all guests can enjoy the beauty of the surrounds. Enjoy the comfortable queen beds and the rustic touches in the bathrooms. Each cottage has its own welcoming feel. Wi-fi is available. Indulge in a breakfast basket full of food sourced from the Scenic Rim that you can cook in your kitchenette. A barbecue gazebo is available for your use at any time. Barbecue packs can be arranged with notice. Farm tours can be arranged to explore the macadamia farm. Make time to taste the many wines of the area, or go bushwalking at close locations like O’Reillys, Binna Burra or Tamborine Mountain. Learn about the woodcutting history of the Canungra area. Only one hour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
  • Free WiFi
From AU$70 - 180
Come and live the real outback life. Myella is a working cattle farm situated 1.5 hours from Rockhampton. They offer friendly and clean accommodation. The rooms have air-conditioning, fan and most have a refrigerator and feature a painting from a local artist. The beds are comfortable and all linen is provided. Standard rooms have shared bathrooms, there are some ensuite rooms available. One bathroom on the farm has wheelchair access. Powered or unpowered campsites are available. There is a television, laundry, swimming pool, a large lawn area, and the dining hut is made from Myella farm timber. Great home cooked meals are available. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Tours are available (additional cost) or book an all inclusive package. Try horse riding, motorbike lessons, cow milking, whip cracking, lasso, feed cows, horses and chickens. See the wild kangaroos, go on a bush walk or just take in the breathtaking country scenery. Become one of the family and enjoy great country home cooked food. Transfers available or enquire for their self drive packages.
From AU$185 - 265
Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay is a tranquil and private farmstay holiday getaway featuring self contained accommodation. Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland at the foot of Tamborine Mountain, their farmstay is just a one hour drive from Brisbane and an easy 40 minute drive from the Gold Coast. Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay are nestled in some of the Scenic Rim Regions most beautiful countryside and on the doorstep of award-winning wineries and the best equine stables and polo fields. Whether you're looking for adventure or just some peace and relaxation, Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay has something for everyone. They even offer facilities for you to bring your own horse, perfect for those who are attending one of the many equine events in the area.

Wittacork Dairy Cottages

Witta, Sunshine Coast Area
From AU$190 - 350
Wittacork is a modern working dairy farm on 300 acres, containing over 100 acres of pristine rainforest. The farm adjoins Lake Baroon Conservation Area and National Park and is a Land for Wildlife registered property. The self contained cottages are set on a ridge overlooking Lake Baroon and the Obi Obi Gorge National Park and surrounded by rainforest. Guests can watch the cows being milked, feed the calves, collect eggs, bushwalk or laze on the deck soaking in the peace and the views. The property has a two kilometres of walking tracks in the rainforest with bridges across creeks and waterfall viewing areas.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).