|2nd August, 2013
We have left the tropical tablelands behind and are now headed for Mt. Surprise.
The scenery is now more the Savannah type, with tufted grass and low trees. Not a palm or fern in sight.
The Kennedy Highway is a very good road and very well maintained.
We are back into the land of unfenced roads, termite mounds and road kill.
The wattle and banksia as well as the she oaks are just coming into flower so I guess that means that winter is on the way out and spring is on the way.
We arrived in Mt. Surprise and it was.
The Bedrock Caravan Park is in a lovely bush setting and from the pictures on the walls of the office and in the little folder they give you when you book in the owners Jo and Joe have put in a lot of hard work over a number of years. Even their children, who have now grown and flown the nest helped out with the heavy work.
When they obtained the land, about 9 acres, it was just a pile of scraggly bush and rocks, thousands of rocks. They have turned it into a lovely little oasis in the outback with lovely clear water that is pumped from a bore 80 metres underground and only put through a sand filter, no chlorine, a-la-natural and oh so sweet.
The township of Mt. Surprise is small with a couple of other van parks, a police station, medical clinic which is operational two days per week and the Flying Doctor comes in once a fortnight. There is a service station where the price of diesel is reasonable considering how far it has to be transported, $1.63 is quite acceptable.
The Mt. Surprise cemetery is no longer in service and they seem to think that there are about 25 people buried there but there are only two graves with names. There a quite a few others that are un-named and many more un-marked at all. It is even said that the highway covers some of the earlier graves.
This is also where the Savannahlander Train terminates after its run up the mountains from Cairns. The people stay overnight here in the van park in the cabins and have their evening meal in the camp dining room.
We joined them on our first night here, roast pork and vegies and pav and fruit for dessert. They provide an evening meal for anyone that doesn’t feel like cooking every night of the week and the price is reasonable as well. They also have a café for those daytime nibbles and a small grocery selection as well as souvenirs.
3rd August, 2013.
WELCOME TO MY NEW GREAT GRANDSON BARRY RONALD VINCENT KELLY AND CONGRATUALTIONS TO MY GRANDAUGHTER HAILEY AND HER PARTNER BARRY.
ALSO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LOVELY STEP DAUGHTER SHANNON. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE.
Today we are going to do a tour of the Undara Lava Tubes.
Our first stop is the Kalkarni crater, a 2.5 km walk around the rim of the volcanic crater. The walk to the top was not too hard and the great views from the top were well worth the effort.
The Undara Lava Tubes are home to one of the earth’s longest lava flows from a single volcano. They estimate that the flow was 190,OOO years ago creating one of the rarest and most fascinating volcanic phenomena on earth.
It was a massive eruption and caused lava to flow more than 90 klms to the North and over 160 klms to the North West. It is estimated that 23 cubic klms of lava, at a temperature of 1,200 degrees, flowed from the volcano at a rate of about 1,OOO cubic metres every second. A lava flow this size could fill Sydney Harbour in six days.
We came back down to the rest area where we had a lovely morning tea of home-made banana cake and biscuits with a very welcome cup of tea.
Then it was on to the tubes themselves.
I didn’t really know what to expect and was astounded at what we saw. It was a bit of a rough trek, climbing over boulders and down what seemed like hundreds of stairs to an underground cavern where the torches we had all been supplied with came in very handy.
The colours of the different minerals and rocks were beautiful.
There were quite a lot of little micro bats, which you could smell before you even got into the caves, just hanging around doing what they do best in the daytime…..sleep.
We managed to look at three tubes before we headed for the Undara Resort for lunch.
The resort is made up of old railway carriages turned into accommodation of various types. There is also a caravan and camping area or if you prefer hard floor tents. Of course all this comes at a rather steep price, but to some well worth it just for the experience.
They have a large central area bordered by train carriages where we all had our lunch. Three courses, soup, mains of cold meat, salad and fruit with cheese and crackers followed by Pavlova and fruit.
Then it was off again to have a look at some more tubes.
We got to the last one and quite frankly I had been “tubed out” by this stage so elected to sit this one out.
After an exhausting day of climbing in and out of tubes with Mac our informative guide and amazing three course lunch we are happy to be back on the road home.
4th August, 2013
We are having a quiet day today, although we did go for a walk into the town and had a look at the gem shop. There is a fossicking area some 40ks outside of town where they can get topaz and quite a lot of other gemstones. For me it would be much easier just to buy a bag of was and try out luck without the back break.