National Parks


QLD Cairns - Undara Volcanic National Park

On the western slopes of the McBride Plateau, open woodlands give way to the vast open spaces of the Savannah. Here in Undara Volcanic National Park, rich volcanic basalt soils, covered in an endless sea of seasonal grass, conceal the Undara lava tube. This geological tunnel of global significance snakes westward under a ribbon of remnant deciduous rainforest.

“Undara” is an Aboriginal word meaning “long way”. The park protects the longest lava tube cave system in the world. About 190,000 years ago, a large volcano erupted violently, spewing molten lava over the surrounding landscape. The lava flowed rapidly down a dry riverbed. The top outer layer cooled and formed a crust while the molten lava below drained outwards leaving behind a series of hollow tubes.

Surprisingly, semi-evergreen vine thicket grows in the moist, sheltered entrances to some of the lava caves. The roofs of some tubes collapsed creating ideal conditions for dry rainforest to grow and wildlife to shelter. Rock-wallabies, insectiverous bat colonies and owls roost here in the cool, birds shelter in the fruit-filled canopy and predators lurk in the tumbled basalt terrain to complete the food chain


Undara Volcanic is 300km by road south-west of Cairns, 100km south-west of Mt Garnet and, 65km east of Mt Surprise.

Further Information

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 15187
City East Q 4002

13 QGOV (13 74 68)