Monday, September 19, 2016

Lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park

We are rather fascinated with all things volcanic, so Undara caught my eye during the planning process.  Yes please, let's check it out!  We set up the tour in advance, the drive from Alice Springs went as planned, and we even had time for a run on the Undara park trails (fun!) before the tour started.

Gathering with our guide at the start of the tube tour.  I so enjoy listening to the Aussie accent (in general, not just this particular guide).  We also realized how lucky we are that this is an English-speaking country and we can understand tour guides and read everything.  Kind of like the US but charmingly different.  Not all world travel is so easy.

Anyway, on to the lava tour:

Holy cannoli, that is a big ole lava tube!  Turns out these are some of the biggest in the world, well, I'm sure glad we came to see them.

Heading down the walkway for a lower vantage point:

A map of the area volcanoes and the large/long lava flows that came out of them - that's a lot of lava for a place I didn't realize was at all volcanic.  Part of the Pacific "ring of fire" perhaps?  Or maybe not.

A chance to walk further into the tube, at least until the blockage farther down:

An indicator stick to ensure that nothing had tremored or moved since the last time a tour was here - so it's most likely safe  :)

It's dang dark deep in the tube - the view back to the entrance, at least until we went around the corner and felt completely inside a cave:

Exploring the tube in the other direction, another huge cavern, trying to imagine that much lava all at once:

I guess this is a photo showing how dark it was?  I don't always remember what I was thinking at the time:

Very cool tour!  Highly recommend it.

Back at the park HQ, where you can sleep in a train car - love that concept!

The restaurant pavilion (with more train cars for sitting and eating in) and a wide ventilated roof to keep everything cooler:

Water collection to help with sustainability, nice focus on that here:

We stayed that night (not in a train car, sadly, but the Jucy was an excellent substitute) at Innot Hot Springs.  It's a campground AND a hot springs park, open all night in fact.  We took advantage of both and really enjoyed the place.

The next morning we went on a short walk to see Millstream Falls, very pretty:

A closer view to try to show the columnar basalt on the walls across from the falls, lots of nice vertical lines between that and the waterfall:

We were finally done with the big driving for the trip - time for lots of little drives and having to pick and choose what to see...

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