Undara

As we turn into the Undara National Park the bush is very sparse and dry and reminiscent of the Bendigo goldfields area way down south in Victoria.
Undara Lodge is on the Savannah Way in northern Queensland. It borders the Undara Volcanic National Park and is owned by the Collins family, cattle farmers who first settled here in the 1800’s. They run a slickly professional operation and provide accommodation in restored historic railway carriages as well as cabins, on site tents, dongas and camping facilities. Dongas are like shipping containers with several individual air conditioned rooms, similar to those used at mining camps. Our camp site is excellent, a drive through site it has a fireplace and it has a great bush feel. There is no grass but that is the nature of the place. The amenities are self contained bathrooms and excellent. There are noisy lorikeets and cheeky currawongs and wallabies hopping about.
We take the lava tubes tour and learn that they extend for 60 kilometres and were formed when the Undara volcano erupted causing lava to flow under previously cooled lava thus creating long hollow tubes across the landscape. Many sections have collapsed into themselves and in time they all will. Those that remain are like large caverns. We’re talking millions of years here, so I doubt that anything will happen tomorrow.
In the evening I take the sunset tour. We see “pretty faced” wallaby and learn an awful lot about the breeding habits of kangaroos and wallabies or should I say macropods. We see a beautiful sunset then watch thousands of micro bats leave the lava tubes on their nightly feeding flight. It is quite breathtaking to face the cavern as hundreds of bats fly silently toward you. Yet if you turn away you are completely unaware of the fact that they are flying by.
We have dinner in the restaurant then sit by the campfire and listen to the owner Bram Collins and other locals singing. These guys are true cowboys and they love this life.
The next day we drive out to Kalkani Crater and walk around the rim. It gives us a good perspective of this valley that lies between the Newman Range and the Great Dividing Range. There were once more than seventy volcanoes here and many remain as mere pimples dotted across the valley.
Neighbours pull in beside us and they are from Bendigo. They’re amazed to have driven more than 2,500kms to find a spot that looks just like home. This is a good place to enjoy the bush and catch our breath before the next leg across the Savannah Way.

Kalkani Crater, Undara
Undara Lava Tubes

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