CAIRNS – MISSION BEACH – UNDARA – ATHERTON TABLELANDS – CAIRNS
4 days, 3 nights
Riddle us this – where else in the world can you see lava tubes, dormant volcanic craters, and waterfalls in the space of four days? Find your answer on this Lava and Liquid famil, which uncovers some of Tropical North Queensland’s most ancient geological formations. We’re talking caves carved out by volcanic lava over 190,000 years ago and waterfalls etched into mountain sides long before dinosaurs walked the earth. Our tour focuses on the green and gold of Tropical North Queensland, exploring the western-most corner of the region, Undara, and chasing waterfalls on the Atherton Tablelands. Excited? We are!
Tuesday 15th of October
AM: Wind your way to waterfall heaven
Today we’ll be swapping the CBD of Cairns for natural wonders hidden in the hinterland. After your midmorning arrival through Cairns Airport, our first stop is Josephine Falls, a natural waterslide made of smooth granite boulders at the peak of Queensland’s tallest mountain.
PM: Explore a garden fit for a queen
This afternoon we’ll discover Queensland’s own fairytale at Paronella Park, a garden built by Jose Paronella for his wife, nestled near Mena Creek. Keep your phone handy for Instagrammable moments through the avenue of Kauri pines, which tower over the gardens and lead you towards the Spanish inspired castle within.
We’ll finish the day by winding our way down to the Cassowary part of the coast, Mission Beach.
Overnight: Castaways Resort and Spa, Mission Beach
Wednesday 16th of October
AM: All roads lead to Undara
If you’re not one for long road trips, you’ll be happy to know there’s just 3.5 hours of driving that separates Mission Beach with the oldest standing lava tubes in the world found in Undara.
The 269km drive is far from boring, taking in the highlight of the waterfall circuit, Millaa Millaa Falls, before opening out onto the Kennedy Highway, where lush green hills are swapped for sweeping golden plains.
PM: Settle into the Undara Experience
We’ll arrive at the Undara Experience in time for lunch, before checking into our accommodation for the night. This afternoon, there’s opportunity to enjoy some downtime or wake your road-trip legs up with a bush walk around the property.
Sunset: Wildlife at Sunset Tour
Your afternoon arrival is no coincidence – we’re here for the Sunset Wildlife tour, a tour worthy of its own David Attenborough documentary. Sure you’ll be able to spot ‘roos, wallabies, cockatoos and lorikeets but we’ll need to descend into the caves for the main event. We’re here for snake Cirque du Soleil, as pythons perform aerial tricks and catch thousands of insect-eating microbats as they take off into the night.
Overnight: Undara Experience
Thursday 17th of October
AM: Lessons of camp cooking
Your most important meal of the day will be served over an open fire today, where you’ll learn the secrets to toasting bread over a flame before tucking into a feast of bacon, eggs and sausages.
AM: Tour the lava tubes
This morning you’ll turn back the clock 190,000 years with a guided tour of Undara Lava Tubes. Escorted by a Savannah Guide, you’ll visit up to three sections of the lava tubes across two hours and learn how the 160km of lava tubes were formed by the fast-moving molten liquid.
PM: Swap Undara’s outback for Wet Tropics wonderland
Back in the car, we’ll put just over two hours of driving between the outback and the rainforest. Our stop – Gallo Dairyland, one of many working dairy farms on the Atherton Tablelands. Pack your appetite because you’ll find a selection of 16 European cheeses (including a range of lactose-free gourmet cheese) and gourmet chocolates on offer.
PM: Chase waterfalls & crater lakes
This afternoon, we’ll make like TLC and chase waterfalls across the Tablelands, with a stop at the cremede- la-creme of the waterfall circuit, Millaa Millaa Falls. Pack your swimmers for a dip in its chilly fresh water or add this perfectly palm fringed waterfall to your Instagram feed to make those playing at home rife with jealousy.
The volcanic history will continue with a visit to Lake Eacham, one of three crater lakes in these parts. This inky blue crater lake was formed 12,000 years ago when molten magma rose to the earth’s surface, shaping it like a crater. We’ll pace the perimeter and spot wildlife that makes this area one of the most biologically diverse on the planet.
Overnight: Group to be split between Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat and Canopy Tree Houses
Friday 18th of October
AM: Breakfast and road trip
After breakfast onsite at your accommodation, its back in the car for just shy of two hours. Our destination is Cairns with a 10.30am ETA.