On the western slopes of the McBride Plateau, open woodlands give way to the vast open spaces of the savanna. Here in Undara Volcanic National Park, rich volcanic basalt soils, covered in a sea of seasonal grasses, conceal the Undara lava tube. This geological tunnel of global significance extends under a ribbon of remnant dry rainforest.
‘Undara’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘long way’. The park protects one of the longest lava tube cave systems 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.
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, insectivorous 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.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of Undara Volcanic National Park.
Looking after the park
Assist the Traditional Owners and rangers in preserving the natural and cultural values.
- Take care if driving at night—wildlife may be encountered on the roads.
- Stay on the walking tracks at all times—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion.
- Limit the spread of weeds by ensuring clothes, shoes and gear are clean and free of seeds before arriving at the park.
- Take your rubbish with you when you leave.
- Feeding of wildlife is prohibited—it can affect the health of animals and alter their behaviour.
- Leave domestic animals at home—they are not permitted in national parks.
- Everything in the park is protected—leave everything as you found it.
See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.
Gazetted in 1990, Undara Volcanic National Park is part of the extensive Einasleigh Uplands biogeographic region.
The park is managed for the purpose of protecting the natural and cultural values of the area, while allowing the public to continue to enjoy a range of recreational activities.
A combined management plan for Undara Volcanic National Park and Forty Mile Scrub National Park has been prepared and implemented.
Tourism information links
Ravenshoe Visitor Centre
24 Moore Street, Ravenshoe QLD 4888
ph (07) 4097 7700
ph (07) 4097 1900
Bedrock Village Caravan Park
Garnet Street, Mount Surprise QLD 4871
ph (07) 4062 3193
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.
The natural, cultural and historical significance of Undara
- Wet season closure: Rosella Plains lookout trail and Atkinsons lookout trail, Undara Volcanic National Park 4 November 2022 to 24 March 2023