Australia’s Accessible Outback: The Undara Experience
Going to Cairns, Australia? Wondering what you can do outside of the city? Look no further because you’ll find splitting your time in North Queensland between some Great Barrier Reef fun and some Outback Undara action will be the perfect mix for your Australian vacation.
In January 2014 we made our way from Brisbane to Cairns, Australia. In search of nature, relaxation and some amazing snorkeling we booked a fantastic Great Barrier Reef tour and made a stop in a place so beautiful it could make a man and even lemon scent gumtrees blush, Undara.
Our Undara Experience started the minute we got picked in Cairns, Australia by Bramwell Collins a.k.a “Bram” himself. Truly classified as one of the most scenic and unforgettable drives of my life getting to Undara four hours later seemed like an altered reality. Surrounded by the outback and followed by wallabies as well as kangaroos I knew I had found the true Australian experience I’d been looking for. Upon our arrival I had a lot of questions regarding the area and its becoming. Luckily for us on our first night Bram started a traditional Undara campfire and over some drinks and a live guitar we learned the most intriguing camp story of all…
Back in 1862 the earliest white settlers in the Gulf Savannah, the Collins family, use to cattle graze in the local area. Formerly known as Rosella Plains Station, the region was special for its natural beauty and a unique geological marvel, the world’s longest Lava Tubes. Bram Collins son of Gerry Collins describes growing up in the Lava Tubes as major part of his childhood memories. He told us he knew it would only be a matter of time before one of Australia’s hidden gems in Gulf Savannah country would be discovered. Today we can thank Bram’s father Gerry Collins for pioneering the idea of showcasing the Lava Tubes located on his family’s land. The family desired to showcase the famous Lava Tubes that run nearly 127KM but more than that they wanted to provide a genuine eco friendly accessible outback encounter; they wanted to give the world what today is known as the “Undara Experience.”
In 1990 Undara opened its doors to visitors and for the past 24 years they’ve managed to run a successful eco-resort and they’ve preserved and protected one of the world’s most unique environments. Though the Undara Lava Tubes remain the main attraction for most visitors, the true “Undara Experience” consists of staying in the resort while taking advantage of the world the Collins have created for nature-oriented travelers like myself.
At Undara your accommodation can be as adventurous as you like. Ranging from Pioneer Huts, historic restored Railway Carriages (which we slept in), swag tents, or even a caravan park, lodging at this resort is far from traditional. What’s more, at the resort you are provided with a plethora of activities. Ranging from the annual “Opera in the Outback” (in October) to the highly anticipated “Undara Outback Rock & Blues” festival this year taking place on Anzac Day weekend from Friday April 25- Sunday April 27, 2014, there is much to do! There are over six picturesque self guided bush walks, campfire activities, BBQs available for family fun and for a special dinning experience you can even have dinner in an open air amphitheatre overlooking the wildlife while eating and drinking in Undara’s restaurant, Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro.
Our personal Undara Experience lasted a total of four amazing days. We loved everything about those four days and saying we highly recommend you making a stop by Undara is an understatement. This place deserves as much time as you can dedicate to it, but if you’re on a tight travel schedule may we recommend a full day of Undara greatness. To kick off an ultimate day in Undara go for the Bush Breakfast at the Ringer’s camp followed by the Undara Lava Tubes tour where you will come face to face with the longest lava tube systems in the world! Thereafter, we recommend putting on your hike boots, grabbing a hat, plenty of water and venturing out by doing any of their seven picturesque self-guided bush walks. But remember to bring your camera because the views on these walks are in one word, breathtaking. Upon your return feel free to cool down by going for an afternoon dip into the pool while watching the local wildlife roam freely. And just when your tummy starts rumbling, get yourself a table in Undara’s open air amphitheatre while overlooking the beautiful outback setting and enjoying an evening drink from the bar as you wait for a deliciously made meal from Undara’s very own restaurant. But don’t end your day here because we highly recommend joining one of the most amazing tours in Australia’s outback, the “Wildlife at Sunset tour.” Simply put, you can expect two hours of supreme wildlife spotting including kangaroos, lizards, birds, wallabies and more. As the sun begins to set you will learn about local landmarks including the infamous Barker’s Cave where during the tour, the brave can enter and stand amongst thousands of micro bats leaving to feed for the night. This and much more will have you feeling incredibly happy you made time to leave noisy Cairns to visit Undara because we believe this is an accessible Outback experience you simply will never forget.
Drifter Tip- If your travels take you to Undara some day, check out the shrubbery around the Pioneer Huts. Feedadrifter had the honor of helping plant 50 Australian native plants in January 2014. Have fun!
We would like to give a special thanks to Peta, Bram, Ivor and Simon for giving these drifters an experience we will forever cherish and never forget.
To make a reservation or book a tour at Australia’s Accessible Outback Undara Experience contact them by calling 1800 990 992 or email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.