The Undara Volcanic National Park lies within the McBride volcanic province. There are 164 volcanoes, vents and cones within this area. Many millions of years before these volcanoes formed, the area was a shallow granite valley. Over the past 7-8 million years the granite valley has been filled with lava and ash flows.
The story began some 190, 000 years ago when the volcano, Undara, erupted and fiery molten lava flowed into nearby dry river beds. The external lava quickly cooled and hardened, whilst underneath a thickening surface crust, the fierce flow snaked its way through. Eventually the eruption stopped and the centres drained away, leaving the hardened exterior; and long, dark, hollow tubes.
It’s estimated that the Undara crater spilled out 23 cubic kilometres of lava, enough liquid to fill Sydney Harbour 3-4 times. One flow travelled in a north – westerly direction for 164kms, considered to be the longest single lava flow from one volcanic vent on Earth in modern geological time. Ancient roof collapses have since protected fertile pockets of semi evergreen vine thickets where rainforest type plants, insect and animal species now thrive.
Similar species of plants to those found in the vine thickets in these collapsed sections has also been found in Madagascar and East Africa, having evolved from the time of Gondwana. These are the lava tubes you will explore with your Savannah Guide, each one offering a slightly different insight into one of the world’s best lava tube systems.
Undara Experience, set in pristine Savannah woodlands has been in the care of the Collins family, the original pioneering settlers of this region in 1862. For over 150 years they have been the custodians of the Undara Lava Tubes.
The Undara Experience has been in operation since 1990, running tours to the lava tubes and accommodating guests in a unique atmosphere. The lodge area has been kept as natural as possible, with only native species planted in the gardens.
27 ex-Queensland Government Rail carriages, with the oldest dating back to 1888, are spread throughout the lodge area. The site of the carriage accommodation is on an old horse drawn wagon track. Winner of “Unique Accommodation” at the Australian Tourism Awards, Undara Experience offers a variety of accommodation options from the restored railway carriages to beautifully appointed Pioneers Huts. Budget options include the Swags Tent Village and shady camping and powered sites.
The licensed Fettlers Iron Pot restaurant boasts superb country style meals using the freshest local produce served in the ambience of Undara Central. Awaken your tastebuds to the bush with the Bush Breakfasts served at the Ringer’s Camp.
Opera in the Outback in October is an unforgettable experience as is the sister event, the Undara Outback Rock & Blues weekend. Both are truly remarkable experiences in a stunningly beautiful area.
The guides at Undara Experience are members of the Savannah Guides organisation, a network of professional guides with an in-depth collective knowledge of the natural and cultural assets of the Tropical Savannahs of Northern Australia.