Undara Volcanic Park National
On the western slopes of the McBride Plateau, open woodlands give way to the vast open spaces of the Savannah. Here in Undara Volcanic National Park, rich volcanic basalt soils, covered in an endless sea of seasonal grass, conceal the Undara lava tube. This geological tunnel of global significance snakes westward under a ribbon of remnant deciduous rainforest.
“Undara” is an Aboriginal word meaning “long way”. The park protects the longest lava tube cave system in the world. About 190,000 years ago, a large volcano erupted violently, spewing molten lava over the surrounding landscape. The lava flowed rapidly down a dry riverbed. The top outer layer cooled and formed a crust while the molten lava below drained outwards leaving behind a series of hollow tubes.
Surprisingly, semi-evergreen vine thicket grows in the moist, sheltered entrances to some of the lava caves. The roofs of some tubes collapsed creating ideal conditions for dry rainforest to grow and wildlife to shelter. Rock-wallabies, insectiverous bat colonies and owls roost here in the cool, birds shelter in the fruit-filled canopy and predators lurk in the tumbled basalt terrain to complete the food chain.
Exploring Undara: Explore the “outback” on the Wet Tropics’ doorstep at Undara. Visitors can climb a volcano, walk into the high country wilderness or see inside a lava tube on guided tours.
Go birdwatching. More than 120 species of birds, including the endangered red goshawk, can be seen in the park.
Picnic at Kalkani. Toilets and sheltered picnic tables are provided. Walk around the crater.
Book a tour of the lava tubes through one of the park’s commercial operators: Bedrock Village (07) 4062 3193, Cape Trib Connections (07) 4053 3833 or Undara Experience 1800 990 992.
Getting there: Undara Volcanic is 300km by road south-west of Cairns, 100km south-west of Mt Garnet and, 65km east of Mt Surprise. You can also travel by train and coach.
Undara Volcanic NP
c/- Post Office
MT SURPRISE, QLD 4871
ph (07) 4097 1485, 4097 1418
fax (07) 4097 1493, 4097 1316