Undarra Volcanic National Park: is situated in central Queensland and is 350 kilometres, north of Charters Towers and 350 kilometres south west of Cairns.
This unique National Park protects the Undara Lava Tubes. These are large tunnels that are close to 35 kilometres long and run from the volcano that spewed out the lava about 190,000 years ago. During the eruption the lava flowed down a dry riverbed. The top outer layer cooled and formed a crust. The molten lava inside drained away and left a series of hollow tubes. Some of these tubes are up to 19 metres high and 900 metres long. It was only in 1989 that this significant area was mapped.
Undara is an Aboriginal word meaning “long way”. The Park protects the longest lava tube cave system in the world.
Dry rainforest has developed in the sheltered, moist entrances to some of the lava caves. We were hard pressed to identify any of the plants in these dry rainforests when we visited in July 2004.
The tunnels are hard to enter and some are home to a virulent lung fungus. You must take a tour to explore a couple of safe lava tubes. The tours add another dimension to your visit. We found the guides to be very knowledgeable about geology, flora, fauna and history.
Accommodation is available at Yarramulla Station, just outside the Park. Railway carriages have been modified to provide motel-type accommodation and there are also camping areas.
A number of walking tracks radiate from the camping areas. We were fortunate enough to observe a number of birds and also saw hundreds of butterflies fluttering around a flowering Melaleuca viridiflora.
The photograph was taken, during a tour, from inside the tube looking out.
This information was gleaned from the booklet prepared for the Queensland Gulf and Savannah Tour in July 2004.