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“Average campsite but location and tours are excellent”
Review of Undara Experience

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Undara Experience
Certificate of Excellence
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Average campsite but location and tours are excellent”
Reviewed March 24, 2012

Undara is a great experience, its described as the 'accessible outback' and that's exactly what it is. Its a beautiful place and coming from the wet tropics it was hard to believe we were still in Queensland as it looked so red and dry. The site is a really special place as there's loads of wildlife, we saw loads of Kangaroos just roaming freely. The facilities themselves are a bit average and the camp kitchen could have done with a clean.

We did the sunset tour whilst we were there which was brilliant. The bar restaurant on site is also lovely with really friendly staff.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jennifer A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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343 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
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English first
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2012

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.

Complaints:
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
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
10 Thank Druppels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockhampton, Australia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
Thank trudih5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newark, Notts
Level Contributor
115 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 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
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Helpful?
3 Thank carol c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 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
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Janet P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2011

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
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jumble15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
37 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2011

We stayed at Undara in June 2010 and returned to do the Wildlife at Sunset tour again in November 2011. I can't recommend the sunset tour enough and it was a completely different experience taking it in November - brilliant, providing you don't mind standing under a tree full of snakes as they catch microbats!!! If you want to take an evening tour, staying on site really is the only option.

It's fun to stay in a railway carriage for one night, but rather cramped, quite pricey and the sound proofing between carriages isn't up to much. For a more economical holiday, it is well worth moving on to Bedrock Village, 40km up the road. A tip when booking Undara online - the website often shows that there is little room availability, when in fact, there are plenty of rooms. It is best to phone up and book.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Caz134
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Undara Experience

Property: Undara Experience
Address: Savannah Way, Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland 4870, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Undara Volcanic National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Undara Volcanic National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Undara Experience 3*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
UNDARA EXPERIENCE – AUSTRALIA’S ACCESSIBLE OUTBACK! Only 3½ hours drive from Cairns and four hours from Townsville in Tropical North Queensland Australia, Undara can be easily accessed via the Savannah Way by conventional vehicle and is situated right on the edge of the Undara Volcanic National Park. The Undara Lava Tubes are a world class natural geological phenomenon. Huge tubes formed approximately 190,000 years ago; molten lava drained out under a thick cooler crust, leaving a series of long, hollow tubes. Today, Undara’s highly trained Savannah Guides conduct small group tours from the natural Bush Resort, into the lava tubes where visitors marvel at this incredible geological wonder. Booking Essential ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Undara Experience Australia/Undara Volcanic National Park, Queensland

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