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“Expensive and filthy” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Undara Experience

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Undara Experience
1.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Undara Volcanic Park | Savannah Way, Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland 4870, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
The Hague, The Netherlands
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Expensive and filthy”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012 via mobile

Undara could have been a nice place to visit, but its management has clearly given up trying to keep up standards.

The good stuff:
The landscape is beautiful, the road to the camp is well maintained.
The pool is a nice refreshment on a hot day. Kangeroos everywhere, even right next to your camp site. The free walks are nice.

The manager at the reception should not be in the hospitality business. He had no clue what the bullet on the card in front of him meant, stating "Our staff will do the best to make sure you enjoy your stay". Either that, or he didn't consider himself staff.

We stayed in a campervan, so I can't judge on the cabins. The toilets and showers however we did make use of, unfortunately. Old, broken and filthy. And packed with wildlife (cockroaches, bugs, frogs, grasshoppers). To the cleaning lady: making everything wet, does not mean it's clean.

The camp kitchen: Based on reviews (and pricing) we skipped the restaurant and cooked ourselves. The camp kitchen was the filthiest we've seen on our 4 week trip throughout Oz. EVERYTHING was greasy and sticky, BBQ's dirty and again cockroaches everywhere. There is no oven/stove and no utensils. Clearly the positive reviewers haven't been near the camp kitchen.

The Trips: you can book various trips, we did the lava tube visit (the only way to see them) and the wildlife tour. The wildlife tour is OK, but still overpriced in my opinion. The lava tube visit is a scam. This is a Queensland governmental National Park, but somehow these thieves have got the exclusive right to provide trips to the lava tubes at the rediculous price of € 47 for a 2 hour bus ride and a short stroll inside one of the tubes. I sincerely HOPE €40 go the the government and €7 go to the operator, but I'm afraid this is not the case.

Another minor con: the lights at the camping sites were dead, so you had to struggle through pitch black darkness to get to the toilets at night. The above mentioned manager was told and said someone would look after it, but the second night the lights still didn't work. He really hates his job.

My advice: there are probably better places to visit a lava tube.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Rockhampton, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

Great experience. we were there for only one night in early JAN 2012 and booked the only available tours 2 tours - sunset tour and 2hr Lava Tube tour. These were explained by staff over the phone as the only tours on offer during the hot summer month, so it was acceptable. Staff were friendly, Andrew the guide was witty and outgoing. OUr tour companions were also witty happy people. We stayed in the caravan area and found it was very level and easy to get into. seeing the kangaroos right beside us resting in the next van site was great. Bush camping area at it's best. Pool area was great and amenities were clean and presentable. with the lack of easily accessible utilities, the park has done very well to be where it is today and we as visitors are lucky to see such a wonder. Would love to go back during the winter months when more tours are on offer. You have to remember that this is nature and natural formations and these don't perform on command.

Room Tip: this is 4 star bush quality service at its best
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newark, Notts
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

We were expecting much, and came away disappointed. The setting is lovely, the listed walks are really good, and we saw some fantastic birds, but that is as far as it goes. I felt like I was an inconvenience, particularly from the surly manger of the reception area, who put us off immediately, by trotting out the speil with out once engaging you, often talking to someone else. After a five hour drive from Cairns, we arrived at 2pm check in time, to be told there was no lunch available as the restaurant was closed, given we were booked on a tour at 6pm that meant no food till 8pm. We were told we could buy some crisps or sweets from a poorly stocked shop! Moving on to the Restaurant this is outdoors with some internal seating in the old railway carriages. The restaurant staff were more friendly, but to be honest the 'Undara 'work clothes they wore were dirty, covered in food etc and it was clear that over the two days we were there they were not changed,this left me worrying about the cleanliness of the kitchens. The restaurant area was covered in debris, from bird poo, to dead insects (both little and large) and food, and appeared unswept in the two nights we were their. Our first night in the restaurant coincided with a blooming of flying winged insects, you could not eat without food being covered, eventually they turned off the lights this helped but then you could not see if you were eating them! I understand this is nature and I don't have a problem with this per se, but I do have a problem with coming to breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day and finding that the old and worn chairs, tables and floors and lights, are still littered with thousands of the creatures and we were expected to clear them off! The trips were interesting, but you cant do anything on your own, other than the listed walks. The railway carriages were fine and a novel idea, but the blinds didn't all work, and privacy was not therefore possible. The tubes and bats were good and the guide Tim was enthusiastic, but again it felt like you were on a ride........all in all the owners of this need to wake up and get there act together quickly it promises much but delivers little.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

The Undara Lava Tubes was going to be our 'must do' on our recent trip. We came away so very disappointed. We travelled to Undara with our own caravan and booked to stay two nights ($30 per night = $60). We only stayed one night. We left as soon as our tour was over. One night in that dump was enough for us. When we arrived we were basically brow beaten into taking a tour of which only two were available, a morning 2 hr lava tubes tour or an evening tour. We opted for the morning tour and were slugged $46 each. Yes..it was our choice to go and we liked it but it wasn't worth the amount of money paid. The tour guide was knowlegable but we felt that he was only interested in conversing with the other people on the tour who had stayed in their on-site accomodation. We felt very ignored the whole tour.

The glossy brochure sure didn't live up to expectations either. The brochure advertised that they had fuel (petrol/diesel) available as well as laundry facilites. We found the diesel pump was 'Out of Order', the washing machines were locked away, the filthy, smelly camp kitchen was mercifully closed and the cold drink machine was also out of order.

We drove past service stations due to fuel supposedly being available at Undara. We were more fortunate than the German couple in a motorhome also needing fuel as we had 20 litres in a jerry can that we had to use. The German couple asked about getting some diesel but were told "only if it's a dire emergency and only a maximum of 10 litres".

Thankfully I had my own washing machine in our caravan so could still wash clothes. Part of our arrival package included menus for their on-site restaurant. We looked at what was on offer and opted for cooking our own meals in our caravan. Their prices were exhorbitant.

Before and after the tour there wasn't much to do. Their food area was only open during set times during the day. No tea or coffee available for purchase outside of these times. The only open amenities block wasn't clean. It was a good 200+ metres from our campsite, which was fine, except for when you needed to go there when it was dark. There was no lighting at all and you had to walk along a very uneven, very dark track. They also turned off the power to the camping area over night. Just as well that the fridge is automatic and switched over to another source of power.

We went to reception looking for other visitor information and were directed to a railway carriage outside. The carriage was stocked with brochures but they were all very dirty and dusty.

Since leaving Undara we have mentioned to other travellers that we have been there. When they say that they are going there we tell them what our experience was like and they soon change their minds and go somewhere else. If you are travelling with your own caravan/camper go to the caravan park in Mt. Surprise. It's a much nicer place to stay, you have full access to amenities including washing machines and it's a hell of a lot cleaner too.

Room Tip: Take your own caravan/camper. At least you know it's clean and comfortable and can have an exce...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011 via mobile

Once quiet and beautiful and magic. Now noisy,commercial and with incredibly rude staff (especially the barmaid/waitress).
Give it a miss- you missed it

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2011

We visited Undara in November 2011. We had heard about these volcancic tubes and looked at the website, and were really looking forward to the trip. We had to go many kilometers out of our way to visit Undara and were really disappointed with the whole trip. On arrival at the campsite, the male receptionist was far from friendly, almost to the point of being rude. We had been travelling in our campervan for a few weeks and had always been greeted with a friendly smile at the other sites. We were also charged extra for using a credit card which he said was the norm, but it was definitely the first time for us. We booked a trip for the following morning to the lava tubes. The website states a choice of tours, but there was only one on offer when we visited. The following morning we duly arrived at reception and told the guide that I was very deaf and would like a synopsis of the tour, which was advertised on the website. Both the guide and the receptionist denied any knowledge of this being available and it is interesting to note that the website has now been changed and no mention is made of a synopsis being available for the hearing impaired, only a synposis for people from France, Germany, Italy and Japan. This obviously made it difficult for me as the guide spoke so rapidly that I had no chance of following him by lipreading. The tour was nothing like the pictures on the website and we saw very little of the tubes. Also the guide's torch broke down and after trying for about ten minutes to repair it, he had to give up and rely on a pencil torch supplied by one of the people on the tour. This was the final straw for me as I couldn't follow one word he said.....and he said a lot! He was obviously very knowledgeable about the tubes but we do not all have a PhD in geology and I'm sure most people were like us and went to see the tubes and not to be told so much technical information. My husband was at least offered a refund for my tour when he complained.

As far as the campsite goes, it was very expensive and the facilities were the worst we came across during our five weeks in the campervan, travelling over 6000 km. There were only three showers available and they were not very pleasant either. The rest of the amenities on the site were closed. On the day we left, we went to fill up with petrol, only to be told quite bluntly, that ALL of the pumps were out of order. We therefore had to make a detour of around 100km to go to Mount Surprise to fill up before continuing on our journey towards Cairns.

All in all, a very disappointing experience and I would certainly not advise anyone to take a long detour to visit Undara.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2011

Are you American? Don't be fooled by the notion of "Undara Volcanic National Park". You cannot drive where you like and explore on your own. Unless you want to be fined. There is only a small fraction of National Park that you are allowed access to. Once you get that out of your Yankee noggin, then you succumb to the fact that you must pay mightily for the park experience.

About 80 dollars a couple for the least expensive tour... But so worth it. We've NEVER seen lava tubes so massive. Hawaii? No... Idaho? Whatever. Imagine the size of a train tunnel x4 (2 wide and 2 high). Our cousin took a longer, pricier tour where you can swim in one of the tubes... Not bad.

Timmy, our tour guide, was quite a talker... It's too bad the tour guides aren't equipped to give more meaningful information (or maybe it was just Timmy). He assumed our basic understanding of String Theory while talking about the tubes and the universe. Our group was a little lost in the headlights as we had not brought our astrophysics notes with us. Timmy also ran a "stargazing" session round the campfire one night. When we showed up he was showing Hubble telescope shots as a PowerPoint presentation. Not very ruggedy outback.

Our favorite 'round the campfire guy was reading marginally racy cowboy poetry to a mixed group including children with a "There once was a man from Nantucket" candor. None of the families cupped hands over their youngling's ears, so we just assumed that our unfortunate response was a cringe of leftover American Puritanism... We loved it.

Camping was nice... If you enjoy combat camping. Spots are super close to each other. We actually enjoyed the overflow camping patch better as you could park anywhere and manuevor your rig in such a way as to have a bit of space. The birds at dusk were unlike anything I'd ever heard. So loud with call and response. Very cool. Light pollution is nill out there and you can see sooooo many stars. We never got tired of seeing stars we never see in the northern hemisphere.

Bottom line? You can order beers at the bar and have them charged to your campsite number. Just go out there and check it out... You're probably on holiday anyway.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Undara Experience

Address: Undara Volcanic Park | Savannah Way, Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland 4870, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Undara Volcanic National Park
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty lodging in Undara Volcanic National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:1 star — Undara Experience 1*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Undara is a place where you can explore natural geological wonders, enjoy the comforts and hospitality of a unique outback setting and where the local wildlife are as abundant as they are at home in their surroundings. In short, Undara needs to be experienced! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Undara Experience Australia/Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland

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