Undara Lava Tubes
The Undara Lava Tubes Outback Experience is a unique travel opportunity in Cairns Far North Queensland Australia. Located approximately three hours southeast of Cairns city it definitely is the accessible Australian outback. Undara National Park is home to the world famous Undara lava tubes. Over 190 000 years ago, Mother Nature created one of the rarest and most interesting natural attractions in the world – the Undara Lava Tubes.
These strange lava tube formations beneath the land are now acclaimed as one of the longest lava tube systems known in the world today. As guests of the Undara lava tube experience, you will be able to explore the remains of the earth's longest flow of lava that originated from a single volcano. The eruption caused lava to flow over 90kms north and 160kms northwest. With different tour options catering to all levels of fitness and physical abilities, Undara Lava Tubes truly is an experience you will never forget.
The Undara Lava Tubes
The word Undara means 'a long way' in Aboriginal language. The Undara Lava Tubes were created when a major volcano erupted, its molten lava flowing down a rocky river bed. As the top layer quickly cooled and crusted, the fiery magma below continued to flow through the tubes taking it further and further from the volcano and thus creating the present day Undara lava tubes.
As the eruption slowed and then stopped, the lava drained out of the tubes leaving a series of long, hollow tunnels. Ancient roof collapses created deep, dark and moist sections where fertile pockets of rainforest can now be seen. On the sunset tour from the top of the hill you climb, you are actually able to see these darker pockets of rainforest that are growing on top of the ancient Undara lava tubes.
Rainforest plants and animals thrive in this environment. Due to the fact that Undara is a national park and the Undara lave tubes are so old, the only way they are accessible to the public is through a tour with an accredited guide from Undara Lava Tube Experience.
Once inside the tubes, it feels as if you have stepped into another world! While in most caves you expect to find stalactites and stalagmites, Undara is unique in that the majority of the tube walls are smooth. This is down to the way the hot magma flowed and cooled through the tubes creating a smooth surface.
Something you will notice growing along the grounds and hanging down from the lava tubes ceilings are different types of tree roots creating intricate patterns along walls of the lava tubes as the roots look for water. When spending time in Cairns The Undara lava tubes are an amazing natural wonder that needs to be seen to be believed
Journey to Undara Lava Tubes
There is plenty to see along the way to Undara. By departing early morning, you'll be able to fit it all in and arrive at Undara by mid morning after a few interesting stops on the way. The Savannah Way is the road taken to Undara and it is fully sealed and safe for driving both 4WD and non 4WD vehicles.
The further inland you travel, the sparser both the landscape and the population become so be sure to travel prepared with a full tank of petrol, extra water, and a good map. Some fun and notable places to stop along the way including the Henry Ross lookout on the way to Kuranda, the Peanut Place for some yummy samples, and the Herberton Historical Village where you will feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Accommodation at Undara
There are five different types of overnight accommodation available at the Undara Experience. The most unique style is the beautifully restored turn of the century railway carriages which can sleep up to six people. There is also dormitory style accommodation at the Wilderness Lodge, 'swags' or large permanent tents, the Safari Shelter which is a reserved campground for those with their own tent and the outback caravan park which have both powered and unpowered sites.
All these sites are situated close to amenities with both hot and cold water, individual campfire pits and free gas barbeques. There is a stunning little swimming pool that is the perfect place to cool down and refresh after your long journey to the outback Undara Lava Tubes.
Tours sightseeing Undara Wildlife at Sunset Tour
The Undara sunset tour departs daily, all year round. Starting out with a short ride on a 24 seat minibus into Undara National Park, your incredibly entertaining and informative guide will talk about all the different Australian wildlife that call Undara National Park home including wallabies, snakes, and owls. Your destination is a small, rocky hill that is the prefect height for the purpose of this tour – a spectacular outback sunset. Once you have reached the top of the hill, your guide sets up a little snack of cheese, crackers and fresh fruit just before popping the bubbly beverage.
Enjoy a chilled glass of Australian bubbles while taking in one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see. The rugged, barren landscape of the outback and the seemingly never ending sky creates a sunset that must be seen to be believed.
At dusk, all those nocturnal animals that live in around the Undara lava tubes come out to play and your guide will take you to the entrance of one of those lava tubes to see the tiny insect eating bats emerge from the darkness. This is truly a once in a lifetime nature experience.
Dinner and Campfire
Dinner at Undara is served at the Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro which is open for lunch and dinner and looks like a converted railway station in the outback. With something on the menu for everyone, you'll be sure to sample some delicious fare before moving onto the free evening campfire activities. Just behind the dining area is a large campfire site, so grab a 'billy tea', come on down and enjoy the Undara campfire stories and activities conducted by the Savannah guides.
Undara Bush Breakfast
Enjoy the world famous bush breakfast which is served daily at the Ringers Camp, located just a short walk from the main dining area. In a truly unique outdoor setting, start the day off right with a hot breakfast cooked right before your very eyes.
Undara Volcano Valley Tour
Access to the Undara National Park is by guided tour only and the experienced Savannah guides are more than eager to share with you the history of this magnificent natural wonder. Multiple departure times give you flexibility to enjoy the region at your own pace.
The Volcano Valley tour requires a moderate level of fitness as there are some boardwalks, unleveled walking tracks and short uneven climbs. This particular tour visits a rocky bluff and four unique sections of the wondrous Undara lave tubes. It also includes morning and afternoon tea and ideally you should allow four hours to complete this walk.
The Undara experience is like nothing else on offer in Cairns Far North Queensland Australia and if you've got the time, it is definitely a must do. Take a day or two to explore one of Mother Nature's most intriguing occurrences at Undara National Park.
What to Bring
- Comfortable hiking clothes
- Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots
- CameraSunscreen and Insect Repellant
- Refillable bottle of water
- Access to the restricted Undara National Park
- Personalized small group tours
- Evening Campfire activities
- Air conditioned coach transfers between lodge and walk departure points
- Individual campfire sites
- Gas barbeques
- Swimming pool
Great fun for all the family. A real intriguing Australian outback tour. Can be done in a day with a real early start but we highly recommend you stay overnight to get the full outback and native wildlife experience.
How To Get There
The road to Undara is a fully sealed and serviced road nowadays but is narrow in sections and carries a lot of road trains so keep alert as they travel very fast. You may also come across wildlife such as Kangaroos or roaming cattle.
Undara is 275 kilometres South West of Cairns and travel time is around four hours by car. Easiest road to take is the Kennedy Highway which you access at Smithfield on your way to Kuranda and head to Herberton and then follow the signs to Ravenshoe.
The next township is Mount Garnet and there you will see a sign that says Undara Lava Lodge in 45 kilometres. Once you are through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park follow the signs to Undara Head towards Mt Surprise and and the Undara turnoff goes through the Whitewater Cattle Staion so make sure you watch out for those big beasts as they are as solid as a rock.
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