It’s a long way to the top, Day 51 – Undara Lava Tubes

Day 51 Saturday July 26th 2014 Ravenshoe to Undara

Ravenshoe is jumping this morning the sun is shining and the town is gearing up for a Pyjama Dance Party, whatever that is it sounds like fun. Folks are out on the street cooking all sorts of burgers and they’re setting up a band.

Back on the Savannah Way there is scrubby bushland with lots of big fat knobbly Cathedral Termite mounds. Sometimes they are brown, sometimes red depending on the soil. We pass through Innot Hot Springs and Mt Garnet both small communities the latter offering a neatly mowed free camp in the heart of town. We’re seeing road trains now, mostly metal trucks. I’ve often wondered what defines ‘the outback’. If it is when every driver waves at you, not just the caravanners, then yep we’re in the outback. Abruptly the vegetation changes from sclerophyll forest to large leafy trees and bottle trees then back again. What we are soon to learn is that these areas are residual rainforest that are clinging to existence in the gullies that have been created by lava tubes. The Inland Way peels off to our left and we turn into the Undara National Park the bush is very sparse and dry and reminiscent of the Bendigo goldfields area in Victoria.

Termites a plenty on the Savannah Way

Undara Lodge borders the 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 airconditioned rooms, like those that the mining camps use. Our camp site is excellent, drive through and has a fireplace 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 they’re excellent. There are noisy lorikeets and cheeky currawongs and small kangaroos hopping about.

We take the lava tubes tour and learn that they extend for 60kms 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.

Inside a lava tube at Undara
An otherworldly experience, the lava tubes are huge

In the evening I take the sunset tour. We see “pretty faced” wallaby and learn an awful lot about the breeding habits of kangaroos. There is a beautiful sunset and then we 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 look away you are completely unaware of their presence.

Thousands of tiny micro bats fly silently past us
Bats leaving the lava tubes

We have dinner in the park restaurant then sit by the campfire and listen while owner Bram Collins and others sing.  

Towing Kms: 124Kms


3 thoughts on “It’s a long way to the top, Day 51 – Undara Lava Tubes

  1. How wonderful those lava tubes sound. And as I began to read, I forgot this was ‘old news’ and was quite horrified to read about the Pyjama Party. How quickly we’ve forgotten what fun it was to be among people 😦


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