It was time to had inland for a not so called “sea change” to check out the lava tubes and Atherton Tablelands and say temporary goodbye to sand and humidity – notably the temperature dropped and the doona was resurrected the bed.
First stop the Undara Lava Tubes located on property owned by the Collins family for 6 generations. Wes our entertaining tour guide explained that the tubes were created when the Kalkani volcano erupted and as the lava flowed slowly it created three main river flows that create huge tubes underground and meander through the surrounding the Savannah Plains. The dryness of the plains means that the granite and basalt spewed up by the volcano does not break down, however, only two hour drive north the Atherton Tablelands with much higher rainfall has eroded the basalt into rich farmland soil and as Wes explained “you can plant a nail in the ground, come back later you’ll find a crowbar”.
The active tour of the lava tubes took us scrambling over rocks and down underground to see the amazing tunnel formations lined by solidified lava. We were shown micro bats that live in the tunnels and told that weather conditions at times in tree root infested tunnels can cause oxygen levels to drop so low it becomes dangerous for anyone to enter.
After Undara we drove over the Kalkani Crater to walk the rim. Kalkani was a slow erupting volcano that formed the lava tubes we had just visited. From the rim we could see the lava river flow as greener strips of vegetation had grown in areas where the lava tubes had collapsed and made micro rainforest environments. Chris put the drone up for a birdseye view and these river flows showed green against the Savannah Plains.