One of the wonders of Australia, the Undara Lava Tubes are reputedly the largest lava tubes in the world. Located in bushland south-west of Cairns, they can be inspected only by taking conducted tours which are organised by an eco-tourism organisation known as the Undara Experience.The tour offers a unique insight into the flora and fauna of the Australian tropics as well as allowing visitors to enter the Lava Tubes.
The tubes were formed about 190 000 years ago when 23 cubic kilometres of lava from a volcano spilled out over the land and travelled along a river bed. It is estimated that the whole process took between 2-3 weeks with the lava flowing at a rate of around 500 metres per hour. The water in the river ensured that the lava formed a vast cylindrical tunnel. It is believed that 'The Wall', the name of a section of the lava tube near Mount Surprise, is similar to the lunar ridges on the moon.
There are two branches to the Undara Lava Tubes - one runs for 16 km and the other for possibly as much as 28 km. At various points the tubes have collapsed and these can be seen from the air as dark depressions which have become heavily vegetated.
The caves are vast with maximum widths of 21.2 metres and heights of up to 10 metres. They tend to be relatively straight and only terminate where the roof has caved in.
There is a unique visitors centre consisting of a restaurant and cabins made from old Queensland Railways rolling stock in the middle of the bush, making this a spectacular spot to enjoy your visit from.
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The main reception area which has been built to compliment the rail cars that form the bulk of the complex.
The rail cars on the left are luxurious sleeping accommodation while on the right is the restaurant.
The restaurant interior is very well set out and both the service and meals are excellent.
The kitchen area is surrounded by an outdoor eating area which lends itself beautifully to the traditional Aussie Barbecue.
All paths lead to the complex through natural bushland making Undara a very special destination.