The lava tubes here are a fascinating geological oddity in the Outback. A volcanic outpouring 190,000 years ago created the hollow basalt, tubelike tunnels, many of which you can trek through on tours led by trained guides. Undara is the Aboriginal word for "a long way," and it's apt: one of the original lava tubes extended for 100 miles in total, and several sections of it can be explored on guided tours. The lava tubes extend over an area of 580-odd square miles; some are 62 feet high and half a mile long.
Undara Experience. This extraordinary complex on the edge of Undara National Park, 275 km (171 miles) or a four-hour scenic drive or rail trip from Cairns, supplies the complete Outback experience: bush breakfasts, campfire activities, lava-tube tours, and guided evening wildlife walks, plus a range of distinctive accommodation. Vintage railway cars have been converted into comfortable (if compact), fan-cooled motel rooms, some with their own ensuites. You can also stay
in a moden, air-conditoned "pioneer hut" with private veranda, fridge, and bathroom (A$160 per night in high season), in a safari tent; or at a powered or unpowered site with shared amenities. One-night "budget" self-drive packages that incorporate tours, campfire activities, and swag-tent accommodation cost A$110 per person in high season, A$167 per person with meals; or from A$259 to A$309 per person with swankier accommodation. Two-night packages including meals, rail-carriage or pioneer cabin accommodation and tours range from A$405 to A$471 per person in high season. Other packages include transfers to and from Cairns via coach or on heritage train The Savannahlander. You can also make a day-trip to Undara, including a lava tubes tour, by plane or helicopter from Cairns or Port Douglas (some trips include a GBR scenic flight en route). Drink and dine on site at Fettler's Iron Pot Bistro; breakfast at the Ringer's Camp. Undara Volcanic Park, Savannah Way, 4871. 07/4097–1900 or 1800/990–992. www.undara.com.au.