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Queensland Destinations

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Outback

From the reef to the rainforest and then the outback - North Queensland is as diverse as it gets...

Beyond the Atherton Tablelands opens a up a whole new array of landscapes as you enter into the Gulf Savannah Region. Located just west of Ravenshoe in the Atherton Tableland, the Gulf Savannah extends across Queensland to the Northern Territory, and north towards the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Cape York Peninsula. The vast plains and wide open spaces are a spectacular sight, comprising of miles upon miles of quintessential Australian bushland, eucalypt forests, arid grasslands and wide open spaces. Wildlife abounds and the sunsets are amazing. With unique geological formations, the Gulf Savannah has one of the most unique landscapes in the world. The Savannah Way is a self drive tourist route that links Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia. The main route passes through the townships of Mareeba, Ravenshoe, Mt Garnet, Mt Surprise, Georgetown, Croydon, Normanton and Karumba and makes for an exciting adventure drive.

Undara Volcanic National Park

One of the most famous features on the Gulf Savannah is the Undara Lava Tubes, one of the longest lava tube cave systems in the world, located 40km east of Mount Surprise. Estimated at 190,000 years old, the tube tunnels were formed when rivers of lava flowed into a valley and solidified on top to form a roof. The lava underneath continued to flow until it had all but drained away, leaving behind strange formations which now form one of the longest lava tube systems in the world. Undara was originally part of a large pastoral station owned and operated by the Collins family, the original pioneers of this region in 1862. The lava tubes were discovered around 1891 and since then six generations of the Collins family have explored these strange formations beneth the land.

Undara Experience

Undara Experience was created by the Collins family and opened to visitors in 1990, to preserve and manage this unique treasure. It comprises of a range of unique character accommodation, resort facilities, guided walks and campfire acivity. The lava tubes are accessed by guided tour only with a highly trained Savannah Guide.

Accommodation

Accommodation ranges from the new Pioneer Huts which are beautifully appointed, each telling a story of a local pioneer, with the spacious verandah allowing you to enjoy the awe-inspiring outback landscape.

The beautifully restored Railway Carriage accommodation provides the most unique style of accommodation; set along the original Cobb & Co. coach road, you will find seven rail carriages shaded by tall trees.

For the budget minded, the Stockman's Quarters offer dormitory style accommodation, meanwhile the Swags Tent Village is an option for those who like camping without roughing it!

Onsite facilities include the Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro where you can enjoy local country cooking and some outback hospitality. The Saloon Car is the place to socialise with friends and enjoy a game of pool or refreshing drink. The swimming pool is perfect for cooling off after a day of bushwalking, and the famous Bush Breakfast is not to be missed! Other activities include self guided bush walks, mountain bike trails and the evening campfire where you can relax after dinner under the stars and enjoy a few bush yarns, singing with the guitar, evocative poetry or a talk on the environment with your Savannah Guide, there's something for everyone!

Find out more:
Undara Lava Lodge

 

Tours

The Undara Lava Tubes are the region’s main attraction, and there are a variety of tours on offer including a 2-hour or 4-hour Lava Tube Explorer, Wildlife at Sunset tour or a full day experience. Suitable for all the family and fitness levels; the 2-hour Archway Explorer tour provides an amazing introduction to the Undara Lava Tubes and other interesting environmental, geological and historical features of the region. The Active Explorer is suitable for the young and young at heart - a moderate fitness level is required as there may be some climbing over rocks. The Volcano Valley tour delves further into this fascinating underground geological phenomenon - moderate fitness is required on this 4 hour tour. The Wildlife at Sunset tour is magic and not to be missed - enjoy a big outback sunset with sparkling wine and cheese while your Savannah Guide will share some secrets of this timeless land. Then at dusk visit the entrance of a lava tube where thousands of tiny insect eating micro-bats emerge from the darkness to find food. Pythons and Brown Tree snakes hanging from the trees strike out at the bats to capture a meal. Capture sightings of Australian wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, cockatoos and lorikeets in their native environment. Undara Volcanic National Park is a photographer’s dream with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, majestic natural scenery, and the amazing flora and fauna unique to Outback Australia.

Find out more:
Lava Tube Tours

 

Wildlife

Without a doubt, the best time to experience native Australian wildlife at Undara is during the summer months November - March. Whilst it can be warmer and more humid at this time of year, if you’re an animal enthusiast, it is definately the time for you to visit. Evenings and early mornings are the best times to spot kangaroos and wallabies. Watch out for geckos, skinks and goannas, magnificent pythons, various tree snakes and front-fanged snakes. In the evening, you’ll hear the ‘wark’ of green tree frogs, which grow up to 10 cm in length and squat in shady, damp places, such as tree hollows. There is also a huge array of butterflies and moths. The Wildlife at Sunset tour with a Savannah Guide is the best way to gain a really good understanding of the species found in the area.

Find out more:
Wildlife at Sunset Tour

 

Events

Opera in the Outback
Opera in the Outback is a spectacular event that takes place annually at Undara. Each October hundreds of visitors descend on Undara Experience for three nights of very unique entertainment. The weekend includes a sensational combination of theatre performance, operatic greats and classical hits. The ceiling is the stars and the entertainment is world-class.

The Outback Country Rock and Blues Festival
The Outback Country Rock and Blues weekend is a three-day music event showcasing some great Australian talent in an unforgettable setting. The weekend includes five performers suiting fans of all three genres. Artists are brought from local areas as well as interstate to give North Queenslanders the opportunity to listen to performers in the most unique venue. Outback Country Rock and Blues attracts a wide variety of visitors, early bookings are essential.

Savannahlander train

The Savannahlander is one of the great outback rail experiences of the world. Rattling its way from the Cairns coast, up the scenic Kuranda Range (the Kuranda scenic railway) including stops at Barron Falls and Stoney Creek, and through World Heritage listed rainforests to Kuranda. It then continues on through the agricultural areas of the Atherton Tablelands then into the Gulf Savannah region – to “outback” Australia. The Savannahlander is not only a unique train trip but a great way to see the Chillagoe Caves , Cobbold Gorge and the Undara Lava Tubes. The train departs Cairns every Wednesday at 6.30am, operating March through to December.

Find out more:
2 Day Undara Outback & Rail Experience

 

Climate & Weather

The weather at Undara Volcanic National Park is hot, humid and can be very wet from late October through to late March (however this is the best time for wildlife spotting). September and early October are generally dry and hot. The drier, cooler months of April to August are a favoured time to visit.

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Local Weather


23-31°C

23-32°C

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22-33°C

Temp: 29.7 °C
Wind: 22 kt SE
Humidity: 68%
Pressure: 1010.5 hpa
Rain: 3.2mm since 9am
Forecast: 23 - 31 °C (Showers)

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