Cairns Region Guide

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Undara Driving Routes

Updated: 04-Jul-2016

Getting to Undara

You can get to Undara by sealed road  - a half day scenic drive by car from Cairns or Townsville (with suggested self-drive itineraries).

Getting Here By Road
Undara Experience is easily accessible by car, 4WD or campervan. We have a range of suggested self-drive itineraries.

All car and campervan rental companies allow their conventional vehicles to go to Undara, or have offered discounted rates on their 4WD hire vehicles. The road to Undara is now sealed the entire way from Cairns. Sections between Mt Garnet and 40 mile scrub National Park are narrow and drivers share the road with an icon of Australia’s outback, Road-trains. (Some up to 50 metres long). PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY and keep an eye out for kangaroos and cattle wandering onto the road.

Self Drive Itineraries
Undara Experience is 275 kilometres south west of Cairns. It is between 390 and 510 kilometres northwest by road from Townsville, depending which route you take.

A variety of scenic routes are available if you are travelling in your own vehicle, or a rental car

From Cairns via Kuranda
Approximately 4 hours driving time.

Take the turn off at Smithfield, 15 minutes north of Cairns, and climb the scenic Kennedy Highway up the Kuranda Range, stopping off at the popular lookout to survey the patchwork of fields and cane farms beneath.

At the rainforest village of Kuranda, browse in the funky Kuranda Markets, visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary or see a cassowary at Birdworld Australia, before continuing west to Mareeba, centre of the market gardening area.

Have a ‘Driver Reviver’ break at the Mareeba Coffee Works, or continue for some 30kms to stop off at the unique Fascinating Facets and the Crystal Caves in Atherton.

From here the highway continues to Herberton, a picturesque village in the highlands where you can visit the historical museum and walk through the homes of the tin miners who found their fortunes here centuries ago. Follow the signs to Ravenshoe where the Wind Farm heralds the town’s entrance.

After Ravenshoe head further west to Innot Hot Springs – 32 kilometres.

Innot Hot Springs is a natural mineral springs located between Ravenshoe and Mt Garnet on the Kennedy Highway. The hot springs of Nettle Creek have long been established as rejuvenating and healing. Throughout the sandy creek bed bubbles hot water and many locals and visitors come here to sit in the shallows of the creek and enjoy the healthy properties of the hot springs.

Next door is the spas and pools of the Hot Springs Village. There are seven pools to enjoy all at different temperatures. The water of the springs gets up to 75 degrees Celsius. Go to www.innothotspringspark.com

The next town along the journey is Mount Garnet. After driving 53 kilometres out of Mount Garnet there is a sign that says Undara Lava Lodge is another 45 kilometres.

After you go through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park you will see a sign to Undara. Turn here and head towards Mount Surprise. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along this road. Turn left and travel towards the Undara Lava Lodge.

Travel along a sealed road for 14kms, through the Whitewater Cattle station to Undara Experience. 

From Cairns via Gillies Range
Approximately 5 1/2 hours driving time.

From Cairns head south along the Bruce Highway to the town of Gordonvale. There you turn right at the signs for the Atherton Tablelands and proceed to the Gillies Range. This Range is 19 kilometres and once you reach the top, you are on the Atherton Tablelands.

For a short scenic stop, we do suggest you call into Lake Barrine or Lake Eacham.

Continue toward Yungaburra and follow the signs to Malanda. The Malanda Visitor’s Centre & Malanda Falls are well worth a visit. On the outskirts of Malanda turn left and follow the signs toward Millaa Millaa. Continue until you see a turn off marked Ravenshoe and you can follow this up a small range where you can make a brief stop at the Millaa Millaa Lookout. This is a great spot to take photographs of the beautiful Atherton Tablelands (depending on the weather conditions). Follow the signs to Ravenshoe where you may wish to visit the Wind Farm.

After Ravenshoe head further west to Innot Hot Springs – 32 kilometres.

Innot Hot Springs is a natural mineral springs located between Ravenshoe and Mt Garnet on the Kennedy Highway. The hot springs of Nettle Creek have long been established as rejuvenating and healing. Throughout the sandy creek bed bubbles hot water and many locals and visitors come here to sit in the shallows of the creek and enjoy the healthy properties of the hot springs.

Next door is the spas and pools of the Hot Springs Village. There are seven pools to enjoy all at different temperatures. The water of the springs gets up to 75 degrees Celsius.

The next town along the journey is Mount Garnet. After driving 53 kilometres out of Mount Garnet there is a sign that says Undara Lava Lodge is another 45 kilometres.

After you go through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park you will see a sign to Undara. Turn here and head towards Mount Surprise. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along this road. Turn left and travel towards the Undara Lava Lodge.

Travel a further 14kms through Whitewater cattle station on a sealed road to Undara Experience.

Undara from Cairns via Port Douglas and Rex Range

Drive north from Port Douglas towards the sugar cane town of Mossman, and turn left onto the Rex Range Road. At the top of the range, after Julatten, turn left at Mt Molloy and follow the highway south towards Mareeba.

Just 10kms before Mareeba at Biboohra is the Mareeba Wetlands nature reserve and Savannah Guide Station. Tours take about 2 hours and include billy tea and biscuits.

Continue from Mareeba in a southeasterly direction through Herberton to the Mt Hypipamee National Park and the Crater, a huge volcanic vent in the ground well worth the short walk in to view.

Follow the signs to Ravenshoe and further west to Innot Hot Springs – 32 kilometres.

Innot Hot Springs is a natural mineral springs located between Ravenshoe and Mt Garnet on the Kennedy Highway. The hot springs of Nettle Creek have long been established as rejuvenating and healing. Throughout the sandy creek bed bubbles hot water and many locals and visitors come here to sit in the shallows of the creek and enjoy the healthy properties of the hot springs.

Next door is the spas and pools of the Hot Springs Village. There are seven pools to enjoy all at different temperatures. The water of the springs gets up to 75 degrees Celsius.

The next town along the journey is Mount Garnet. After driving 53 kilometres out of Mount Garnet there is a sign that says Undara Lava Lodge is another 45 kilometres.

After you go through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park you will see a sign to Undara. Turn here and head towards Mount Surprise. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along this road. Turn left and travel towards the Undara Lava Lodge. Travel through our neighboring cattle station, Whitewater Station, on a sealed road for 14kms.

From Cairns via Innisfail
Approximately 4 hours driving time.

From Cairns head south along the Bruce Highway to Innisfail where you turn right onto the the Palmerston Highway, named after bushman Christie Palmerston. You can obtain maps from the Innisfail Tourism Information Centre before you leave and everything is very well signed. This scenic rainforest drive takes you up to the Atherton Tablelands. Along the way, visit the many lookouts, waterfalls and picnic spots. Stop at the Nerada Tea Plantation, Australia’s most successful tea plantation set in lovely country around the Palmerston National Park.

Dairy farms dominate the Millaa Millaa region and there are some beautiful waterfalls, cool streams and rock pools. Follow the Waterfall Circuit to visit Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Elinjaa Falls. Nearby are the towns of Malanda, Yungaburra and Atherton, offering many scenic drives, walking tracks and attractions. Continue from Millaa Milla along the Palmerston Hwy, and on to the Kennedy Hwy following the signs for Ravenshoe for approximately 26km.

Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland and has been an important centre in the timber industry. Today a new industry is stirring things up – you can check this out by visiting the Wind Farm.

After Ravenshoe head further west to Innot Hot Springs – 32 kilometres.

Innot Hot Springs is a natural mineral springs located between Ravenshoe and Mt Garnet on the Kennedy Highway. The hot springs of Nettle Creek have long been established as rejuvenating and healing. Throughout the sandy creek bed bubbles hot water and many locals and visitors come here to sit in the shallows of the creek and enjoy the healthy properties of the hot springs.

Next door is the spas and pools of the Hot Springs Village. There are seven pools to enjoy all at different temperatures. The water of the springs gets up to 75 degrees Celsius.

The next town along the journey is Mount Garnet. After driving 53 kilometres out of Mount Garnet there is a sign that says Undara Lava Lodge is another 45 kilometres.

After you go through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park you will see a sign to Undara. Turn here and head towards Mount Surprise. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along this road. Turn left and travel towards the Undara Lava Lodge. This road is fully sealed. PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY!

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