How to get there
From Cairns,follow the Kennedy Highway through Kuranda, Mareeba, Atherton, Ravenshoe & Mt Garnet. After Mt Garnet turn left 17 kilometers short of Mt Surprise - it is well signposted so don't worry. The road is sealed all the way and conventional vehicles will have no trouble accessing the Volcanic National Park. The distance is only about 275 kms (4 hours) but it would be best to allow at least 2 days with at least one night's stay in the park.
Latitude / Longitude: -18.21370, 144.54437
Our Locals' Tip: It's a pretty lengthy drive from Cairns to Undara and to try and do it all in one day will be exhausting. Take your time - stay overnight and enjoy all the night time activity as well. Will yield a much more memorable trip. For the ultimate spend the night in one of the restored railway carriages.
190,000 years ago (yesterday in geological terms), Mt Undara burped 23 cubic kilometers of molten rock (Lava) upon the surrounding landscape. To visualise that - it would have filled Sydney Harbour 4 and a bit times. The terrain was fairly gentle enabling the lava to flow at only a moderate pace resulting in the formation of a crust as the outside cooled and solidified. This crust contained the heat within the core of the flow, which continued to flow leaving behind the hollow tubes we see today.
These tubes are up to 165 kilometers in length and up to 20/30 meters in diameter. Due to decay over the ages, small parts of the roofs of the tubes have fallen in allowing entry by wildlife, and man. The sinkholes have also allowed rainwater, sunlight & air to enter - providing ideal sheltered conditions for the growth of an eco-system vastly different from the surrounding savanah. Viewed from a high point on the savanah these tubes are visible as a long line of isolated islands of the darker green of the Tropical Rainforest amongst the more lighter & drier appearance of the savanah.
Undara Experience will take you on some magnificent walks in the surrounding savanah lands as well as these tubes and point out the various forms of wildlife living within both systems - bat's, bat-eating snakes, many varieties of Kangaroo etc. What could be better than sittimng on a rocky knoll in the middle of nowhere sipping champagne and nibbling cheese & crackers while watching the sunset.
Main image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philliecasablanca/
- Moderately Priced
Best For Whom:
- Families With Children
- Mature Travellers
Best For What:
- Off The Beaten Path
- The Local Experience
"Once you step onto the road, and you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to" - J.R.R. Tolkien