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Undara Experience
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Reviewed December 20, 2007

We camped here in a powered site which was really good value for money. Facilities were good.
Plenty to do for a few days as there is a bar, restaurant, pool and loads of bush walks. They really made you feel part of the community with entertainment for visitors every night.
Kangaroos were running wild everywhere and were really tame.
The tour of the tubes was excellent, staff were knowledgeable and really friendly.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank DETSUL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2007

We booked directly with the property thru the net, for an ensuite carriage at 170 AUD for one night. That was no bargain.
After a rough and beautiful ride from Cairns among the scarefully famous roadtrains, we were greeted very kindly, the aussie way, and directed to our room, carriage number 8.
From the website, we already knew what kinda room it was, but at first sight, I was a bit depressed...
But it quickly turned out to be funny and comfortable, once we've admitted in our mind we were on a train, and not in a hotel room. So the tiny tiny room left around the big bed was enough to move from one side to another, as well as the barbie bathroom.
And everything was there, from soap to hot water and provided towels.
Let's make it clear, this is a sleeping place, not one to linger for hours, unless you're used to living in a box. The room could not be locked at any case. Why ?

Just step outside and watch the kangaroos gaze, spend your time to hike around, try to count the cookas and all those colourful parrots. This is heaven. Paid activities are daily organized like the lava tubes visits which you can't do by yourself, for the sake of conservation. As well as free for all evening bush fire camp to chat with the rangers and others fellow travellers.

We opted to go to the restaurant (a hangar ?) where the food was ok and the service efficient. And if you have brought your own food, morning instant coffee is offered in the hangar for free. Good idea.

We loved this place.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BEEPfromPARIS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2006

A review of Undara falls into two sections. The journey to Undara to see the tubes/caves was most definitely worth the trip for us. We booked for two nights, with a sunset tour on the first evening. Ross, our Savannah Guide for the tour was very knowledgeable and extremely amiable, stopping the mini-bus at frequent intervals as yet another kangaroo/wallaby was spotted. We watched the sun dip below the horizon from an elevated position, glass of sparkling wine in hand, while Ross delivered a poem dedicated to the sun. We were then driven to the entrance to one of the tubes, and stood in darkness listening to the bats flying around us as they left the cave in search of food. When we turned on our torches we could see snakes hanging from the branches above our heads as they tried to catch the bats! A first for us, and something we would have been reluctant to miss. Ross also led a sing-song around the camp fire in the evening – felt like turning back the clock and being back in Scouts/Guides.

The next day was a half day tour which familiarised us with the tubes. Our Savannah Guide was Tim, a very different style to Ross, but also very knowledgeable. He impressed us with his continued thirst for knowledge about his subject. Once again the tour was interesting and informative, and it was fascinating to hear how the tubes had been formed and to hear of the contradiction of a "Dry Rain Forest". In the evening Tim ran a slide show around the camp fire.

The positive aspects of the Undara Experience are largely confined to the professionalism of the guides and to what nature itself has provided. We stayed in the converted railway carriages in an en suite room. Photos of the rooms are flattering. Initially we were bemused by the idea of sleeping in a railway carriage, but the novelty soon wore off, and two nights was one night too many. The housekeeping left a lot to be desired. The drop down wash basin was an interesting feature, but we didn’t need to view the remnants of other people’s toothpaste. To provide a list of shortcomings would be tedious, suffice to say that this was no more than two star accommodation.

Unless you are self catering the only option is to eat in the Lodge’s restaurant. Only an okay experience, with limited choice and rather bland. The Bush Breakfast outdoors, preparing toast over an open fire using a "wire fork" gained more points for novelty value.

Our stay in late November was out of season, and the whole place had a rather out of season feel, with some of the staff really not being bothered to make much of an effort. This was disappointing as it was one of the few places in Australia where we found that service was not paramount. Maybe having a captive audience had something to do with it.

On our second afternoon there was little to do. Only the Crater Walk, some 15km distant, which we did undertake and the Circular Walk (8km in 32C temp), were available. The other “local” walks were closed as a recent bush fire had destroyed the signs. The National Park restricts the type and content of information that can be displayed and there were no “approved” replacements available!! The invitation outside the pool area was to come inside and lounge – unfortunately there was only one lounger. A small detail, but it added to the rather sad feel of the Lodge.

Suggest if you are considering using a camper van for any part of your trip, your visit to Undara would be a good time to do so.

Don’t regret the trip because the nature was so exciting BUT so much more could be done with the accommodation.

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Going-grey-nomads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2006

We spent two nights in one of the converted train cars and had a great time. We had adjoining rooms with one of them being ensuite. The rooms were quite small, which we expected as it was a train car after all. The sink in the bathroom was probably an original and flipped up to be hooked on the wall. This was not a luxurious hotel, but an adventure. Our package included all of our meals. Breakfast was a five minute walk from the trains and involved making our own toast over an open fire. There were also eggs, bacon, ect. Not to mention the kangaroos wandering around. The lunch and dinners were great.

We did a lava tube tour and the sunset tour. After spending 10 days in Australia our 10 and 12 year old both agreed that the sunset tour was the highlight of Australia. Watching 250,000 bats making their way out of a lava tube was incredible.

We also did a couple hikes on our own. The office provided us with detailed maps of several hikes. The photos on the web site showed lots of kangaroos and there are kangaroos and wallabies all over. These were not pets, but wild animals in their natural environment.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
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4  Thank expat2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2006

We stayed at Undara during a 2 month trip to Australia in April. It is a great break from the rain, crocs, and stingers in Cairns/Port Douglas. I spent the first night in one of the permanant tents with my 3 kids, ages 5, 5, and 3. It was fun except for the incredible kookabura crescendo in the AM.

There is a restaurant on site and the bush camp breakfast is great - best coffee I had during my 2 months in country. Dinner and lunch are good considering where you are. Railway rooms are servicable, but you're not here for the luxury.

Instead, your here for the wildlife and lava tubes. There are roos and wallabies everywhere, dingos, and snakes galore. We went on several guided tours with a charming Savannah Guide, Ross Rogers. He made the trips entertaining. The lava tubes at night are incredible, with bats pouring out by the thousands, flying right past you. At one tube, there was a tree full of night tiger snakes snapping at the bats in flight. It was like something you'd see on TV, except we were right there.

Great Aussie outback experience, and the drive is not bad, an adventure in itself.

  • Stayed: April 2006, traveled with family
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9  Thank Michael V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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