New Farm Park, Brisbane

Saturday, June 15, 2013

INTO THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH

After our amazing cruise on Cobbold Gorge we were driven back to the railway line to pick up the train again at Einasleigh, where we had lunch provided by the hotel. We were heading back to Cairns but there was one more overnight stop to make on the way back. It was at The Undara Lava Tubes near Mt Surprise. (Don't ask me why it is called that). This had been on my bucket list for a long time since I read about this strange geological area.


photo taken from 'The DavLin Rig" blog.
We pulled into the tiny railway station of Mt Surprise. Then we were picked up by a small bus an transported to "The Undara Experience" accommodation. It is unique in that they have recused old railway carriages by making them into motel rooms. It was something different.
Our room has the door open and our friend George is sitting outside his room next door.

They were tiny rooms with an en suite which still had an original train sink which folds up into the wall.
Soon it was time for a tour of the lava tubes.
We walked on a board walk into a cavernous hole where the guide explained how the tubes were formed.
Photo taken from Paul Ma's blog "Mountains"

 Then we descended into the bowels of the earth in a huge tube of volcanic rock. It wasn't lit up and only the guide had a torch. It was difficult to take photos. You can see tree roots penetrating the tubes. It was Alice in Wonderland stuff.

Looking back to where we had entered you get a better picture of the tube.





There are many tubes in the area but they are all part of the immense Undara lava field. The Undara crater erupted 190,000 years ago sending a molten lava flow that travelled for 160 km and covered an area of 1550 square kilometres. The longest in the world. As the exterior lava hardened it formed tunnels through which molten lava continued to flow and emptied out when the flow stopped, creating the Undara lava tubes. Access is where the ceiling has collapsed in some places.
 After viewing these amazing geological structures we returned to the accommodation.

The bar and restaurant were also housed in reused rail carriages. What a fabulous day, Cobbaold Gorge and the Undara Lava Tubes. 

29 comments:

  1. this whole journey sounds wonderful Diane; I enjoyed your posts

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  2. Another unique experience. Yes I did get the Childers Royal just have to find some time to post it. Maybe tomorrow

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  3. What a great trip! It's difficult to choose the best day! Your photos of the tube came out really well too.

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  4. Those lava tubes are amazing, had never heard about this kind of nature. The railway hotels look so fun to stay in.

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  5. Diane, this tour sounds really neat. I love the shot looking back to the entrance. And the room and restaurant are pretty cool. I have been in Lava tubes in Hawaii, they looked different. Wonderful photos!

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  6. I loved the Lava Tubes but have never yet been to Cobbold Gorge!! The accommodation sounds interesting - we stayed in the campground in a permanent tent where we could sit outside and feed the bettongs (?) that came hopping around at dinner time!!!

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  7. Wow! This post was riveting! How I'd like to see that. I'm always amazed at what the earth has done - and is still doing - in creating itself over and over again. Fascinating.

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  8. really amazing geological place! i loved the railway cars, too! :)

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  9. I've never heard of lava tubes. How wonderful to get to see them and even better to share the experience with the rest of us.

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  10. Good to see the lava tubes through your eyes. They're much larger than I had imagined and you did a good job of the photos seeing there were no lights.

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  11. Wow! what an interesting part of Australia ... and I thought I'd seen it all. Great idea to use those railway carriages as motel rooms.

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  12. spectacular is a word that comes to mind. thank you for sharing

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  13. This place does look inviting.
    A mystery!
    Lovely photos as usual.

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  14. Oh my goodness I would love to stay in one of the train/motels.....

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  15. I've been trying to remember all afternoon where is the place I've been to with caves that look the same as Undara? The shot from the inside, it's almost like I've been exactly there but I haven't, just somewhere similar. Lord how I wish I could remember where it was. I think it was in the 60s because I can remember who I was with. I know I'll be coming to look again at these pics. Am loving this virtual tour!

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  16. Isn't nature wonderful? Great pics too, I can really see what this place is like. Fascinating. I love the idea of the train hotel rooms too, the kind of thing you remember for years after.

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  17. Fascinating! I'd never heard of lava tubes. And the train motel is an adventure in itself. I'm glad I discovered your blog.

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  18. i want one of those train rooms in my yard.. love the accommodations. there is no way i would go in that cavern... but i would sleep in the sweet little rooms

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  19. Visiting a cave is always an adventure. We have only done this a few times.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  20. I finally had time to sit down and read about your latest adventure. WOW. I understand why you wanted to go. It truly is an amazing country...(I know, I know, move home right?)
    Stunning photos and great memories.
    Glad you had a good time Mum.
    Love Sonya

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  21. Fascinating Diane, thank you for a very interesting and informative post. I have loved looking and reading about all your adventures.

    Wishing you a happy day,
    Denise
    An English Girl Rambles

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  22. Wow! Your photo of looking back to where you entered the tube is truly breathtaking! I can see why this was on your bucket list. Also, I love the idea of a rail car hotel room. This is an adventure I'd want to experience too, should I ever get the chance.

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  23. Love the repurposed accommodations and the tubes are fascinating.
    That last shot reminds me of "Journey to the Center of the Earth". I can why it was on your bucket list.
    You have all the fun adventures. :)

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  24. Amazing cavern tour...more like seeing the real thing..I've never been in one that wasn't lit up at least partially, for the tourists.

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  25. It must have been an amazing experience to go down into these tubes, knowing how they had been formed. You had a great ay indeed.

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  26. How fantastic Diane, you really do have wonderful adventures..Fantastic use of old train carriages, a novel idea and a fun conversation piece.

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  27. How interesting and strange ! Mother nature is full of surprises !

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  28. Super nifty! I like that they are reusing the rail cars.

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