Undara Volcanic National Park is the traditional country of the Ewamian
Aboriginal people. Undara is a local Aboriginal word meaning long way
. Lava tube is a natural channel formed by flowing lava from a volcanic vent that moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. Undara Lava Tube, the longest lava tube cave system in the world, is located on the western slopes of the McBride Plateau. Access to the lava tube is only available by a guided tour by Undara Experience
and Bedrock Village
. Undara Experience is not only providing tours, but also accommodation and an award-winning restaurant.
How to Get Here
It's about 250km south-west of Cairns or about 3.5 hours to drive. Head south along the Bruce Highway to Gordonvale, then turn right and follow the signs to the Atherton Tableland, up to a long and very winding road to the Gillies Range. Once at the top of the range, continue to Ravenshoe and then follow the signs to Mount Garnet. Continue towards Mount Surprise, passing through Forty Mile Scrub National Park (Savannah Way). The turn-off to Undara is 17km along the Gulf Developmental Road. Travel a further 6km to a fork in the road. Undara Experience is 9km along the road on the right-hand side.
If travelling from Townsville, head north along the Hervey Range Developmental Road for approximately 130 km, then turn right onto the Gregory Developmental Road. Travel a further 174km through Greenvale to the Lynd Junction. From here, take the Kennedy Highway towards Mount Garnet and turn left at the Gulf Developmental Road (Savannah Way). Continue as above. It's about 430km or 4.5 hours drive.
All roads are suitable for conventional vehicles and vehicles towing a camper van, although the roads can be corrugated.
Another alternative way to go to Undara Lava Tube:
, departing from Cairns (arrange your train trip with The Savannahlander
a coach transfer from Cairns to Undara Experience will be running 3 days a week (arrange your train bus trip with Undara Experience)
, private charter can be arranged by Undara Experience
Family swag tent for glamping
There are several options to stay at Undara Experience, such as Pioneer Hut
s, restored railway carriage
that turned into beautiful accommodation and original pioneering homesteads
in this region that turn into accommodation for visitors. There is also a campground if you have your own tent, motorhome or caravan. We were choosing to do glamping in one of their family swag tents. The tent had 2 sides of a sleeping area, one side with 2 single beds and the other side with 1 double bed. In the middle of the sleeping area, there is an outdoor sitting area with a table and chairs, a small fridge, a sink and power point. These permanent tents were located among beautiful well-maintained gardens full of native plants.
Very clean and comfortable to stay
There are plenty of free BBQ stations with a communal kitchen area to prepare food. You can also do some cooking at a dedicated campfire area. But Undara Experience has plenty of food and beverage options to offer their guests with a range of dining. Fettler's Iron Pot Bistro
is a fully licensed bistro where you can enjoy an a la carte dinner menu. You can sit in one of the restored train carriages while enjoying your meal. Salon Car Bar
has a range of Australian and imported beers, wines, spirits or freshly ground espresso coffee.
Restored train carriage for the dining area
I will strongly suggest booking the bush breakfast while you stay here. Served daily at the Ringers' Camp, you can enjoy billy tea and freshly brewed coffee, as you cook your toast over the coals of the campfire. It needs a bit of walking, not more than 5 minutes, to Ringers' Camp from the accommodations area. But the walk was an adventure itself as kookaburras, magpies and sometimes little kangaroos or wallabies peep from the distance or follow you.
Undara Experience offers a series of tours of the Undara Lava Tubes and other areas of interest in the Gulf Savannah region. Archway Explorer Lava Tube Tour
(an introduction to Undara's lava tubes with other interesting environmental, geological and historical features of the region), Wind Tunnel Explorer
(not suitable for children under 5 as with this tour you will need to scramble over rocks up to 3-sections of lava tub with less infrastructure) and Wildlife at Sunset Tour
. There is also a tour package available to choose from for your convenience. Please find more details here
Bush Walking or Mountain Biking
One of the lava tube opening. It's huge
There are some walking trails available around this area, such as Bluff Walk (about: 1.5 km return), Bluff Circuit (about 2.3 km return), Kalkani Crater Rim Walk (about 2.5 km return), Flat Rock-Circle View Track (about 8.6 km return), and Rosella Plains Lookout Track (about 12km return)
Round the Campfire
Each night after dinner you can sit around the campfire and enjoy some country serenity. Sometimes there will be open-air cinema with a movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Around the camp fire
Whatever you do, don't forget to bring your camera as plenty of opportunity to snap an Instagram-worthy picture. Binoculars are also a bonus to have as you can see up close and personal a vast diversity of local flora and fauna as well as bird watching.
As this area is located in a national park, no domestic animals are permitted. Even though individual campfires are permitted on all sites, no collecting wood from the national park, firewood is available for purchase.
Lots of story and history here
Basic food supplies and snacks can be purchased at the on-site shop. For tours and accommodation mobility impaired information, please find here
Always check on the Undara Experience website for their opening season as during the wet season they will be closed. Follow Undara Experience Facebook page
for any updates.