Undara Lava Tubes

Trip Start Feb 03, 2009
Trip End Aug 23, 2009

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Where I stayed
Archer Creek Rest Area

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, April 5, 2009

So we are out in the 'outback', a little anyway, and had a few firsts after a few days with Major Tom.

Firstly we have come against these epic 'road trains', which are basically exactly that. They are huge trucks pulling up to four long trailers a time and flogging it along shared single lane roads. I'm like a little child when I see them and just gawk at them. When meeting them though I pull over onto the gravel to let them past so they have all the tarmac and don't pull over themselves and run the risk of firing stones up on Major T. Must try and get a picture of them but might need the panorama setting though.

The other first was at Forty Mile Scrub National Park at the rest area where we camped for our second night. We were all tucked up next to a road train when we heard this running and heavy panting noise. Meals was shitting it while my mind was working hard (logically) at what it was. The running became trotting or thudding and the panting became deep and heavier now as it was closer. It stopped just outside the back of Major T, where the boot opens and our bed extends out, and there we both are peering through the sipper window at a huge wild bull. He had literally come trooping past the car and stopped to catch his breath right beside us. Now we began to fear for Tom and damage charges but luckily and logically he was more interested in the grass just inside the picnic area. Anyway there he lay after a quick munch and was gone by morning. That was our first scary animal incident over with.

We moved next onto the Undara lava lodge where we payed for a site, begrudgingly, and a half day trip to see the lava tubes. Unfortunately the full day trip wasn't running as it was not the right time of the year so we had to make do with the half day. We saw on the way some lovely Eastern Grey kangaroos and joey's as well as some wallabies. Now we both had no idea what a wallaby looked like and so were slightly surprised when we saw one as they are similar looking to the kangaroo, just a little smaller i suppose. We took a short trip in the bus with Steve our guide to the spot where we started our walk. Here to begin with Steve released a snake that he found at the lodge the night before. It was a Carp python, which I stroked before it was let go, and they are not poisonous but 'pack a good bite' (read with an Australian accent). That was pretty cool and out in the bush type of stuff. On we walked for a couple of hours into three different caves or lava tubes. Now here comes the boring stuff. They were formed about 190,000 years ago by the lava eruption of the Undara volcano when it spent about 30 years spewing out lava. This lava flow is the longest recorded in the world and what happened was the outer crust hardened and the inside continued to flow on. Eventually the lava had flowed on out and left the tube shell. Years later and Oliver Smith and Amelia Gibbons have walked through some of the sections of tubes to become part of the history of this great wonder. It is an amazing natural wonder where they were used by aboriginal tribes for living in and are homes to hundreds of bats. It was a lovely day out where we learned a good deal about animals and plants of Australia along with some history and cultural stuff. We both found it quite interesting and we left with a better understanding of the country. Steve was a funny guide.

Off we go now back around towards the coast.
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