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Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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26 July 2011 – Innisfail to Undara QLD

With an almost four hour drive in front of us, we left the caravan park just after 8:00am and headed into the business centre of Innisfail to post a letter.

That done, we stopped at a bakery and soon we were climbing into the hills to the west of Innisfail.  The hills are actually the Atherton Tablelands and this is a beautiful part of Australia.  Surrounded by lush green paddocks, we slowly climbed until the Coral Sea was a speck in the far distance.  We considered purchasing diesel but decided we would do thast at Undara (that decision would prove to be a mistake as the price of fuel at Undara was $2.06 per litre of diesel – ouch!!!).

We arrived at Undara just after midday and discovered much to our surprise that none of the group we were joining had arrived.  Fortunately a group booking had been made and we were soon setup on our campsite.  The other members of our group arrived during the course of the afternoon.

The Undara Lava Tubes were not on our list of places to visit but now that we were there, we decided to make the best of it and booked a couple of tours.

After visiting the Visitor’s Centre, we learnt that the Undara Lava Tubes were formed some 190,000 years ago when a major volcano in the McBride volcanic province erupted, its molten lava flowing down a dry river bed.  As the top layer quickly cooled and crusted, the fiery magma below continued to flow through the tubes taking it further and further from the volcano. As the eruption slowed and then stopped, the lava drained out of the tubes leaving a series of long, hollow tunnels.

Ancient roof collapses created deep, dark and moist depressions where fertile pockets of rainforest can now be seen.

Rainforest plants and animals thrive in this environment; each tube offers a rare insight into this unusual geological wonder.

The word Undara means ‘a long way’ in Aboriginal language. One of the lava flows from Undara extends over 160 kilometres (or 100 miles). This makes it one of the longest lava flows from a single volcano on our planet in modern geological time. The original tube formed by the flow extended for approximately 100 kilometres, and several sections are accessible.

It has been estimated that during the eruption, the Undara volcano spewed forth 23 cubic kilometres of lava covering 1,550 square kilometres. So far, 68 separate sections of cave have been identified from over 300 lava tube roof collapses.

Our first tour was a trip out into the National Park to watch the sunset from high on a hill whilst drinking champers and enjoying fruit and cheese.  That was followed by a visit to one of the lava tubes where we were able to photograph bats leaving the tube to seek their evening meal. “He” was lucky enough to capture several bats in a photograph.

After returning to our motorhome and uploading photographs to our computer, we decided on an early night.

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