Well, we made it to the Undara Lava Tubes, or the ‘Undara Experience’ as the marketing people call it. No blog while we were there as the internet was a bit variable. Just can’t wait till we get the NBN! Along the way we called in at Greenvale for lunch at the 3 Rivers Hotel. One of its claims to fame is having a sausage tree in its backyard. Now the sign says there are only 4 of these trees in Australia, 2 are in Townsville, 1 is in Adelaide the other one is right here in Greenvale. Believe it or not! This tree comes from South Africa/Mozambique and apparently has no use for its sausages, apart from the fire. Greenvale is the remnants of the town established for the now closed Greenvale nickel mine which supplied the refinery at Townsville, now owned by Clive Palmer. It is now famous for a sausage tree.
Undara is a great camping spot out in the wilds, so when we arrived and finally backed the van into our spot it was with great shock that the Physi cult struck. Some these days would say ‘awesome’. Guess what? Claire Ridley and Gary (now live in Sydney) jumped out from behind a tree and said ‘ hi there, I know you, I’m Claire’ and Leanne said ‘Yes, I’m Leanne’. The Brisbane connection was made and Gary suggested Physi. Anyway it seems Claire’s kids did Physi with the Brown kids and Imlays, Whites, Tucker-Evans etc. This was all 20 years ago! What a funny place to meet up again. We were there for 3 nights.
These lava tubes are really quite spectacular to experience. They originate from lava flows from the Undara Volcano which spewed basalt flows for some 10-30 years about 190,000 years ago. There were massive volumes of lava, estimated at 23 m cubic km of the stuff. This spread out over the landscape but a lot of it found its way down gently sloping water courses. The top and sides of the flow hardened but inside it kept going, finally when the lava eruptions stopped the tubes drained out leaving a tube (bit like worm casings). Well some of these tubes are big enough to drive road trains through. We went into 4 of them but there are lots, one is estimated at running for 160 km. Truly something to be seen!
On our last day we climbed to the top of the Kalkarni volcano and walked around its rim, not much action in the crater as it is quite dormant. There are over 170 volcanos of various types in this geological region. The last volcano erupted here about 10,000 years ago and would have been witnessed at the time by the indigenous people.
We have now moved onto Georgetown and are on the Savannah Way heading west for Croydon tomorrow.