Catch the tube
There are few natural events more awe-inspiring than a volcano eruption. The last time the Undara Volcano erupted, it really went off, with an astonishing 23 billion cubic litres of lava pouring out. That was 190,000 years ago, but you can still follow the path taken by the red-hot lava by walking through the remarkable lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park.
The story of how the lava tubes formed is fascinating. As the lava flowed downhill, the outer layer cooled more quickly than the fast-moving core. The result was a series of hollow tubes of extraordinary size. The Bayliss Cave, for instance, is 11m high, 22m wide and more than a kilometre long.
To explore the lava tubes, you’ll need to head out along the Savannah Way to the Undara Experience, an oasis providing guides, accommodation (from camping to cabins made from old railway carriages) and a bush breakfast around a campfire, which is the stuff of local legend.
And the tubes – about four hours’ drive west of Cairns – aren’t the area’s only attraction. There are a number of scenic hikes nearby, from the easy 2.5km Kalkani Crater Rim Walk to the more challenging 12km Rosella Plains Lookout Track. This trail follows the route of an old telegraph line; keep an eye out and you will spot some of the original telegraph poles.