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Volcanoes in Australia, Say What?

undara travel

Australia has many beautiful landscapes guys.

What do you think of when you think of Australia? Dolphins? Kangaroos? Koalas? At least for me, I imagine three things – red desert for as far as you can see, the turquoise Great Barrier Reef, and golden sunsets along perfect surf beaches.

I do not, however, picture volcanoes.

undara travel

This was my last trip over to Queensland with Canon Australia, and I was ridiculously excited because this time we were getting far off the tourist trail. Heading inland for a few hours from Cairns, the towns get smaller, further apart, and harder to pronounce, and the landscape starts to change and distinctly feel like the Outback.

Finally the Outback! The Australia I’ve been imagining for ages!

After exploring the Mareeba Wetlands, we hit the road and traveled even further north to the Undara Volcanic National Park. Yes, you read that right. Volcanic. In Australia. Say whaaaaat?

When I started to think about places that match my #notatourist campaign with Visa, Undara couldn’t be a better fit.

undara travel

undara travel

Ok, I’ll take this moment to clarify before I run away with myself (as I often have the tendency to do), I might be referring to *ancient volcanoes* but volcanoes nonetheless.

Why did I enjoy my time in the volcanic area of Undara while traveling around Tropical North Queensland?

One – I am kind of a nerd, and let’s be honest here, not only is anything volcano related totally awesome, who didn’t grow up without a gem/rock collection? Not this girl, that’s for sure. And two – I LOVE visiting places like Undara for the simple fact that it’s unexpectedly random, dated, kinda weird and a little bit kitsch. And I love Tropical North Queensland, so this was a match made in heaven.

undara travel

Sometimes when I am in Australia I feel like I have stepped back in time in the States. Like to the late 80’s early 90’s. Actually, to be fair, many countries give off that vibe, not just Oz. But I digress.

As soon as we parked outside the reception area of the park/accommodation and walked inside, I literally felt like I was hit with deja-vu, not to mention the hot earthy smell of the desert. It was so nice to be somewhere dry and hot for a change. It was like stepping back in time to some family trip my parents would have dragged me on as a kid combined with something like going to summer camp.

Just wait, it gets even better.

undara travel

undara travel

Our accommodation for the night was restored turn of the century train cars. I had died and gone to locomotive heaven!

I love trains and train travel, who doesn’t right? I wish there was more of in New Zealand, and not to mention any kind of historical accommodation makes me ridiculously happy. In that moment I could imagine myself straight off the boat in early 20th century Australia, traveling around the big country by train, in first class obviously.

Walking inside was really like stepping back in time. The railway cars smelled of old wood and soft buttery leather and there was a soft breeze blowing the hot air around the carriages as I immediately fell asleep and took a nap. It was just so nice. Swoon.

undara travel

undara travel

I woke up as the sun was beginning to set and the evening started to cool down, just in time for our first tour of the lava tubes. Inside the Undara Volcanic part you’ll find the remanence of the longest lava flow coming from a single volcano, which has created these amazing cavernous lava tubes you can walk through and explore.

But beware, BATS.

We set off driving around the park at sunset, spotting kangaroos here and there before stopping at a viewpoint overlooking the landscape for snacks and bubbles. From up high you could see clearly where the caves were located, with denser green areas around them snaking along the land until out of sight.

undara travel

undara travel
As we walked into the cave we could see bats flying out, though we were told it was the low season for them (May), and it can be a lot more. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty creepy but since we were a big guided group and all had head torches and lights, it was ok.

It was spooky and exciting to see these natural wonders lit up at night, with the occasional bat flying by you.

If we stepped back in time before arriving at Undara, going down into the old lava tube cave was like stepping back millions of years to the time of dinosaurs. Even the illuminated lava walls looked the eggs of velociraptor or something equally scaly, right?

I fell asleep with the windows open next to a huge full moon listening to the wildlife chirp away.

undara travel

undara travel

The next day started out awesome with a hot filling bush breakfast outside, with eggs and bacon cooked over an open fire. Again, gotta love those kind of historical experiences on the road – it really makes you feel like an explorer or settler back in the time when Australia was just becoming colonized (eek, let’s leave that topic for another day and just enjoy it for what it is).

We hit the road again through the park, this time to visit the lava tubes during the day.

While all of the technical vocab was lost on me, I loved all of the stories and anecdotes our guide was able to share, especially about the caves flooding. It almost never rains up in Undara, but once every decade or so, it rains so much that the caves flood and you do the tour swimming and snorkeling. Sign me up for a newsletter or email when that happens please, Undara!

I was blown away by their size and perfect formations, you can even pick out shapes among the patterns. What struck me the most was the colors of the walls, it was just exquisite. Nature’s art might have to be my favorite. Cheesy, but true.

Did you know there are volcanic places like Undara in Australia? Do you enjoy visiting quirky spots when traveling? Would you like to visit here?

undara travel
Many thanks to Canon Australia, Tropical North Queensland, Queensland and Visa  for hosting me in Undara – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you can expect less from me!

For more tips from Visa on exploring the world like #notatourist, visit Travel with Visa.

41 Responses to Volcanoes in Australia, Say What?

  1. Kas Sommers October 15, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    Wonderful story, Liz. I’m from Queensland and those pictures represent a lot of my holidays spent camping and cooking over open fires amongst the eucalypts.

    But what’s with your fear of bats? They are gorgeous fuzzy little cute mammals and THEY CAN FLY! I’d love to fly. You should have been more frightened of the snakes and spiders and scorpions. Bats don’t want to hurt you, they just want to fly out of the cave and find some tasty insects to eat.

    You make me a bit homesick. It’s cold and slightly grey as usual here in the UK. 🙁

    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

      haha come back!

  2. Lyndsey October 15, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    Wow this place looks amazing and not what I expected to be in Australia. It looks like a place I have recently visited in Greece.


    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm #


  3. Sarah October 15, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    This looks amazing – my house is built on an ancient volcano if that helps….

    I also understand what you mean about Aus being like in a different decade – a feeling I only get there!

    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

      yay not just me then haha

  4. Samantha October 15, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    This is so cool. The shape in one of those pictures looks like Hamilton Pool in Texas!

    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

      It does, hadn’t even occurred to me!

  5. liz-poppy-tall October 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    you are a living breathing definition of what it means to be a tall poppy

    do you even know what HUMILITY means? did you even look up dictionary definition of humility?

    you are BRAGGING, your whole blog is between obnoxious hustling and i’m better than you — so when instagram barbie comes up,
    or someone who doesn’t know much about dubai — you lash out in vitriol, only because those you hate are so so similar to you.

    funny how your blog is about adventuring and travelling but you haven’t matured one bit — you are still bragging, there’s not one ‘gram of a real person writing these posts, everything is fake and perfect and inauthentic

    i laughed out loud when you actually implied that
    you DISCOVERED NZ, bahahaha, and you probably actually believe that stuff — that you’re all that, that you’re on top of the world.

    it’s lonely at the top, and while your blog SEEMS to be about adventuring, it’s actually just some obnoxious combination between hustling, bragging and knee-jerk reactions to hate comments because you are SUCH a delightfully hateful person yourself.

    so do you know what tall poppy means?

    when was the last time when you wrote an authentic post? see, i think at this point being an authentic person,
    being accepted into a society, and making a TRUE friend — that’s something you can’t afford.

    people LOVE to hate you, you are like a reality TV villain everyone secretly wants to fail. there’s no harm in doing well, however, it’s a big difference
    between doing well and narcissism and immaturity.

    so what does it mean to be a tall poppy? do you think people will ever accept you for you to stay long enough in one place?

    maybe you should just continue doing what you did, just remember, your blog is not about adventuring,

    it’s about immature way of coping with insecurities, and you
    not growing the FK up. you may think you have little to do with ‘gram barbie, but deep down both examples are about bragging, arrogance and perfectionism.

    lemme know if you ever get accepted into NZ society, kthxBY

    • Trudy October 15, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      Wow, do you feel better after that? Green eyed monster much? Like to publish your own name or prefer to hide your vicious comments behind the internet? BTW, I would rather Liz in NZ than someone like you. So please don’t come.

    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      Holy shit what a comment! Wow, do you feel better now? Now please come to Wanaka and say of this to my face “Liz-poppy-tall”

    • Michaila October 15, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

      I’m pretty sure if I got to travel to, and experience, all these wonderful places that Liz gets to go I would feel on top of the world as well! Liz writes to inspire others to travel. To me, she is an inspiration. She’s authentic because she writes about places that no one else has. I haven’t seen any other travel bloggers write about Australia’s volcanoes, nor did I know Australia had volcanoes until Liz wrote this post. You sir/ma’am are one jealous bitch who doesn’t know how to form proper sentences nor use proper grammar.

    • Hannah Mae October 15, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

      Seriously?? You have nothing better to do then send people hate mail? You are infact the definition of an immature, shallow and petty person. You think she needs to “grow the FK up?” Take a look at yourself first buddy! Do you think your mother would be proud of a post like that? I sure hope you’re happy now!

    • Janelle October 16, 2015 at 12:44 am #

      Wow. This guy?!

      Tall poppy?!?! I hate this term, so much. It’s only used by jealous, spiteful people.

    • Kristi-lee October 16, 2015 at 2:33 am #


      I died laughing reading your comment. It is DRIPPING with jelousy. Never in my life have I read such an immature word vomit of envy. You are a joke, honestly.

      What have you done in your life? I’m guessing not much, or else you would know something about living your dreams, and stop judging others for living theirs. Why does it bother you so much that somebody on the internet is writing posts about Australia? Why does that get your back up? Why does it matter so much?

      As yourself those questions. I am still laughing at how immature and jelous you are. Like that bratty little kid at school who wanted the barbie doll that all her friends got and she just couldn’t have it.

      Grow up. If you are so “mature” and “grown up” as you imply in your comment, you wouldn’t be on here making a big fuss of someone blogging their adventures.

      Shut up and get out of your little tiny green box of hideous jealousy. LOLLLLLL.

    • Kristi-lee October 16, 2015 at 2:37 am #

      I would also like to add that I think it’s hilarious that you think that Liz going out and writing about her travels makes her arrogant – a “tall poppy.” What a stuck up term. Oh, wait, it’s because you have probably never done anything so adventurous and are jealous that a young woman can go out and live such a care free happy life and you….probably can’t. Not with that disgusting attitude. Does anyone like you, with all that hate coming off of you? Lol.

    • Carly October 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

      Wow. Would you say this to her face? My guess is that you likely wouldn’t.

      Keyboard warriors. Telling people ‘where it’s at’ since the inception of the internet.

      liz-poppy-tall you’re a jealous wanker.

      And i’d tell you that to your face if I had the opportunity.

    • Carmen October 16, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

      Wow… what just happened on here? I just can’t take comments like these serious. So get over yourself and start living your won life, Mr or Mrs Liz-Poppy-Tall.

      @Liz – I love your blog, it’s my most favouritest of all 😉 I love that you’re keeping it real!
      Also – what an amazing idea of sleeping in old train wagons?? I would totally love to try that, it looks awesome!

    • Kas Sommers October 17, 2015 at 6:40 am #

      “The tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. This is similar to begrudgery, the resentment or envy of the success of a peer.”

      So we all agree Liz is a person of genuine merit and you begrudge her talents and achievements.

      I wish I had her talent and skills with a camera and with words, and her business sense.

    • Sarah October 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      Someone just got themselves featured in the Best Hate Comments of 2015 post! I think you might want to look in a mirror before you start calling other people arrogant, immature, and insecure.

      @Liz, I hope you’ve been able to shake off this horrible comment and focus on the overwhelming majority of us who really enjoy your work, and know full well how authentic, humble, and hard-working you are!

  6. Adrian October 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Hey Liz, Great advices! Australia is a great country! You have a lot to see and to do! Australia is home to the longest fence in the world. It’s 5,614 km long. Did you have a chance to visit this one?

    • Liz October 15, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

      Where is it?

      • LC October 15, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

        I take it Adrian means the Dingo fence which stretches from SA to QLD. Then of course the famous (or infamous, If you consider the Murchison Murders) rabbit proof fences in WA. I didn’t know either were still intact. We really could do a lot better at pest control.

        All that aside, you’re making me homesick too! Looking forward to hearing about what you think of our outback.

  7. Megan October 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

    I dont get people that leave hate comments.

    If you dont like a blog, then dont read it. Simple. Dont spout your hatred into a space where it isnt needed. Most of the people who read this blog read it because it inspires them, its interests them, they can relate to Liz and her travels, and look forward to reading her posts every week.

    If this blog doesnt do it for you, then cool, there are hundreds more out there.

    Surely you must have better things to do then incite your hatred onto someone who is simply living their life the way they want to?

    Liz – Your blog is awesome, keep doing what you are doing and dont ever change.

  8. Traveling Rockhopper October 15, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

    that’s a very interesting place!

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:07 pm #


  9. Zoe October 16, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    I think your blog is amazing. It is one of my favourite blogs. Probably my most favourite. I love the way you write, you convey so much through your writing and really show how much you love and enjoy what the you do. I adore your photography. It is stunning. You visit the most interesting places (Mongolia, South Africa – I absolutly want to ride through Mongolia now. I have that company bookmarked) and make me totally reconsider how much time I would spend in Dubai. You are so inspirational in your writing.
    I’m really sorry you get such ridiculous immature bullshit like that comment above. I don’t know what these people think they are doing. What type of crazy person goes off at someone like that? What do they achive?
    I admire how you can handle it. If my blog was big enough for people to read and I got comments like that – continual ones, I’m not sure I could deal with it with half as much class.
    Stay happy and do your best to ignore the site that some people spew.
    I think you are a great addition to NZ.

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      Thank you 🙂

  10. Ashley Sawyer October 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    I’m studying abroad in Australia starting in January and going early to travel… this is definitely something I want to add to my list of things to do!

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

      Enjoy it!

  11. Trip October 20, 2015 at 12:34 am #

    Having traveled to over 60 countries we have yet to make it to Australia. Thanks for the fabulous information and photos. Will tuck this away for our trip there next summer.

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

      Add it to the list!

  12. Quincy @ Shugurcän October 20, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    Wow, this is amazing. I had no idea Queensland had volcanic sites. I know where I”ll try to visit before I leave Australia in a few weeks!

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

      It’s pretty cool!

  13. Taj Mahal Tour By Car October 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the best travel news. This is famous travel destinations of tremendous trip.

  14. Aaron K October 21, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    You get to do so many amazing things Liz, thanks for your words and beautiful pictures. God the list of things I want to do when I visit AUS just keeps getting bigger:) lol! keep up the great work and your inspiration of others. oh, and P.S. that comment above was so nasty! what the hell!! Best Hate Comments 2015 for sure:)

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

      haha totally made the list haha

  15. Laila MA October 21, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    Nice story and very nice to read about all the places you have visited. Greetings from Norway 🙂

    • Liz October 21, 2015 at 8:29 pm #


  16. Mo October 22, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Maybe the crazy tall poppy ranter wannabe psychiatrist should try and grow some poppies and get their thrills from cutting the tallest poppies before they bloom but I doubt they would be able grow anything due to there toxic nature. Interesting how that person had to put some words in Caps to feel so self-important. Anyways what a load of boring dribble. Not sure if the writer was from New Zealand or has met Liz but it cracked me up laughing when that writer said Liz wouldn’t fit in NZ.
    It’s a pleasure and a positive experience looking at liz’s photographs and reading her blog. I’m a New Zealander, we are so relaxed and easy going in this country so Liz would be welcomed here and treasured here. It would be interesting to know what this person’s definition of “discovering nz” means …maybe enlighten us. If you are from NZ toxic poppy ….well time to step up and show us what your talents are because you could never compete with Liz’s. But alas you hide behind your keyboard. dear oh dear.

  17. louisa klimentos October 22, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    Well i can say that LIz is a most beautiful person who loves NewZealand and Australia too,probably in different ways.Her travel blogs take you to places that people haven’t been too.She sees natural beauty in a most beautiful way.I have read travel blogs on the east coast of Australia and they mainly promote the common places eg Cairns ,Whit Sundays ,Noosa,Fraiser island Brisbane and Byron bay .Then they complain that the major highway runs through barren scrubland and sugar cane farms.They are actually passing through farm areas and are not aware that they have to take turn offs which reach Beautiful national parks and then say that Australia is uninspiring.Who are they to judge when they only seen a very small percentage of Australia?Liz did a post on Cape York peninsula and even visited Cooktown and i found her blog very interesting .She has done the same with Undara Lava tubes and they are the world ‘s largest tubes.Keep up the good work Liz and keep searching places of interest that people haven’t heard of .tourists will definately be inspired

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