Undara gave us an experience like no other! Did you know that Australia has the longest lava tubes in the world? Did you know that lava tubes even existed? Well before we began to prepare for our trip neither did we! When we discovered that we had these ancient earth formations in our own backyard we just had to go and see for ourselves.
The Undara Volcanic National Park story is quite an interesting one, having previously been private land before the lava tubes were discovered a deal was soon cut between the owners and the Queensland government to take back the land. The owner's received the right to be the sole tour operators.
The tubes were created from slow moving molten lava. So slow moving were they that the surface cooled and hardened leaving an underground lava river that reached for many kilometres. Once the last lot of lava had flowed through the tubes they became large underground tunnels.
Today, visitors can visit a small area of the large tunnel network which has been deemed as safe for visitors. There is a high risk of the roof caving in and this has happened in many areas as you can see in the video.
As well as lava tubes Undara Volcanic Park has a series of large craters formerly volcanos.
Undara Experience has an onsite campground with powered and unpowered sites and the famous railway carriage cabins. This bush camp was our introduction to the outback after we turned left off the east coast and it didn't disappoint. With each site having the provision for a campfire we couldn't resist. What says bush camp more than a campfire? Toasted marshmallows were on the menu before we headed down to the main muster area for some trivia with fellow campers.
A great overnight stay and a privilege to see such an ancient place that most Australians don't even know exists!
We are lucky that this was our second time visiting the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest but this time we amped up the excitement with a course of Jungle Surfing and instead of just day tripping from Cairns decided to tow the van over to stay at Cape Trib Camping's new Green Camp. This is when having a self contained van pays for itself with accommodation costing just $10 for the family for the night on a huge grassy site!
This place has a cool chilled vibe after dark serving delicious woodfired pizzas on the verandah with a few tunes playing in the background. Cape Trib Camping also have powered and unpowered sites with full use of amenities.
Jungle Surfing had the whole family laughing and cheering through the course looking over not 1 but 2 spectacular World Heritage Areas, being the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef. The team marvelled at how all 3 of our kidlets took the challenge by the horns without fear! Only in QLD would Mr 3 be allowed to enjoy such an activity on his own and didnt he love it!
Cape Tribulation is a truly special part of the world and our beautiful country. Be sure to include it in your next trip to the Cairns region.
Paronella Park has for a long time been a place we longed to go, so much so that it featured on our Fifty by 50 list (see our blog post Making a Move). When we heard that there was an opportunity to stay overnight there we jumped at the chance and it was the highlight of our time in the Park. The Park has a captivating history of hardship, family and above all else love. The very romantic Jose Paronella wanted to create a place of love and beauty and indeed he did. The current owners have done a wonderful job of restoring Jose's work and honouring the Park's history.
We did the the day and night tours and they were both fantastic. A special treat after the night tour included a talk from the current owner and a parting gift and message that we will treasure (we don't want to spoil the surprise for others travelling there so won't say anymore about this).
If you're going to the Cairns area don't miss a visit to Paronella Park! If you can stay overnight in the Park then do it! Be sure to book ahead.