The Undara volcanic tubes are a 300-kilometre ‘camel hike’ away from Cairns on remote dirt roads. But you can charter a light plane at Cairns International Airport instead, and then cross the outback in little more than an hour. This leaves ample time for explore one of the most spectacular geological wonders in the world. And afterwards partake of a delicious picnic lunch and true blue Australian hospitality. Besides, you could be back at Wanggulay in time to see the sun set, and swim in a private rim pool if you wanted. A little later you could light the barbecue at your luxury Cairns accommodation for a deliciously tender steak, or fresh caught seafood, as you wished.
Gems and Volcanic Remains a Quick Flight from our Luxury Cairns Accommodation
But first, the Undara National Park is a great place for gemstone fossicking. This is what Australians call prospecting in an informal way more or less as a hobby. Its worth mentioning that 194,000 years ago a huge volcano spewed forth vast amounts of lava. This flowed across the Atherton Tableland looking out across our luxury Cairns accommodation. The result is a collection of lava tubes at Undara that drained the molten rock away, and they are among the longest in the planet. Nowadays you can walk through these tunnels and look for aquamarine, garnet, moonstone, peridot, topaz, quartz and flecks of gold the lava left in its wake.
Bayliss Cave is a remnant of the largest volcanic tube that was once one hundred kilometres long. Because Bayliss extends for an incredible 1,300 meters with walls 22 meters apart, and a ceiling 11 meters high. Please be careful going near it though. This cave has carbon dioxide levels near 6%. So only go on an organized tour and follow your guide’s advice. Besides, there are safer places to explore and they have safe board walks just like this beautiful one in the picture!
Tips and General Advice for When Visiting Undara National Park
It follows that for public safety you may only explore Undara on an official guided tour. Firstly, there are concealed holes on the surface of the ground where tubes have collapsed, and you could fall in. And then the tubes are a bit of a maze where it is not impossible to lose direction. Finally an experienced guide knows the location of the most spectacular tube tunnels.
There is one exception though, if you don’t mind a bit of a walk to the top of the volcano. In fact, it is little more than an elevated hill because it literally blew its top. But it provides a pleasant enough stroll through indigenous scrub land and small trees, with great views when you get there of interesting volcanic mementos. Keep a weather eye open for shy Common Wallaroo marsupials. And more common Northern Quoll wild cats that sleep all day long in comfy log hollows. Lucky things.
Around the Clock Excitement at Undara National Park
Undara is open twenty-four hours a day, but do inquire ahead during exceptionally wet periods. Moreover Barkers Cave and the Wind Tunnel Complex are closed from November to February while bats breed. Perhaps this is a good time to stay away at it gets hot and humid in summer. Guests staying at our luxury Cairns accommodation wanting to see Undara tend to book between April to August when days are cooler.
If you do visit Undara – and especially if you decide to drive there – please remember you are in the outback where nature is harsh. Take sufficient drinking water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and suitable clothing when you explore the environment. In return, you will experience natural wonders like these few people in the world will ever see.