15th June 2017–Undara Lava Tubes

I was booked on the 8am trip to the lava tubes and was ready in plenty of time after shower, breakfast, laundry etc. to meet the guide outside the lodge reception.

There was a big crowd but it turned out they had two parties so in fact when we left my bus was not even full. As we neared the tubes you could see the Savannah grassland which stretches across northern Queensland interspersed with patches of remnant rainforest.

170615 002 Undara170615 004 Undara

Plus examples of the Queensland Bottle Tree (not to be confused with the Boab).

170615 006 Undara

The rainforest was clinging on in the cooler spots where the lava tube roofs had collapsed providing shelter and moisture.

The lava tubes are the result of a ‘shield’ volcano which oozed lava over the landscape 190million years ago to form the lave tubes. The tubes only exist about 30km from the Undara Volcano because only there were conditions right. The lava field stretches for something like 140km from the volcano and is the largest of its type in the world though the lava tubes are not unique they are some of the biggest. (That’s how I remember the guide’s tale anyway).

170615 018 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 007 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 009 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 011 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 017 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 021 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 025 Undara Stephenson Cave170615 033 Undara Stephenson Cave

The roof is a mass of colour from the many minerals in the rock, brown – iron, white – calcium, dark brown – basalt. There were others but I forget them.

170615 016 Undara Stephenson Cave

The local aborigines have no stories about the lava tubes and there are no rock paintings in any of them. The theory is that because the last eruption of a volcano in the area was less than 20000 years ago aboriginal history regards them as something bad and to be feared so they kept away from them.

They are truly spectacular only exposed because millions of years ago the roof collapsed in places where it was too thin to support its own weight.

170615 044 Undara The Archway170615 047 Undara The Archway170615 054 Undara The Archway170615 058 Undara The Archway170615 060 Undara The Archway

Because of the early start I was back at my caravan by about 11am when I was able to upload yesterday’s blog. I tried last night but the internet wasn’t working even at its best Telstra only has one or two bars signal strength even though I can see the tower. There is no Optus signal at all.

Decided to go on another of the signposted walks; a 4km one called the Pioneer Walk which followed the route of the early telegraph line to an old slab hut. I think with my two visits I have now done all the walks except the very long all day ones (well, 6hr).

170615 065 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 068 Undara Pioneer Walk

See the original Telegraph Pole? Made of Cypress Pine which termites don’t like and is resistant to bush fires. It has been there since the 1890s.

170615 070 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 073 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 075 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 076 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 078 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 079 Undara Pioneer Walk170615 081 Undara Pioneer Walk

When I returned I was buggered, even worse my feet hurt! To ease the pain I ordered an Undara Burger and a beer at the bistro for lunch; both of which went down very well.

170615 082 Undara Dinning Area

The Kookaburras wait for someone to leave their food unattended.

170615 083 Undara Dinning Area

However I think that is enough food for the day and also the end of my outings – an afternoon of rest!

Actually the afternoon proved to be quite busy with people arriving and setting up near me – not busy for me obviously, I just watched. Last night there was just me and a mobile home in this set of seven sites, today I have people either side of me and the place is filling up.

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