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Under Downunder Day Tour – Chillagoe & Undara

Cairns Outback day tours, featuring the Chillagoe Limestone Caves and Undara Lava Tubes, can only be booked with Outback Overnight Journeys. Why? It’s simply too far to drive there and back in a day, while still having time see what you have gone to visit. Drive time Cairns to Chillagoe is approximately 3 hours: fly time is a comfortable 30 minutes.

Outback Overnight Journeys are inspired by Queensland’s vast interior and despite their name, provide a great selection of day tours, allowing you to see the best bits without the long car trips. Small charter flights, perfect for families and groups of up to four (4) people.

The Under Downunder day tour departs Cairns Airport at 8am and returns at 5:30pm. It includes visits to some iconic outback destinations, as well as a scenic flight over the stunning Great Barrier Reef. This full day tour needs to be booked with advance notice and is for a maximum of four (4) guests.

Your Day

Start early with a scenic departure from Cairns. Taking off, we swing out over the ocean before heading inland, passing over the rainforest clad mountain ranges of the Wet Tropics World Heritage listed Area, before heading west to the dry savannah lands.

Arriving at historic Chillagoe around 8:30am, alight from the aircraft and head out to explore the stunning limestone caves. This region is rich with natural and cultural heritage. Scientists believe the caves’ limestone foundations were formed around 400 million years ago, when this area was a shallow sea with coral reefs. Time, erosion and water have all played a part in forming the impressive caves which boast calcite stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones.

Take a park ranger guided tour of Donna cave at 9am, to learn more about the caves, their evolution and current inhabitants [bats and snakes]. The caves are lit but please note you will require good mobility to participate in the tours, which include significant walking and staircases. Emerging into the daylight, there’s time for a quick visit to Balancing Rock and the remains of the mining Smelter, before we continue on our Under Downunder day tour.

Departing Chillagoe at around 11:30am we head south to Undara Station, which is home to one of the longest lava tube cave systems in the world. Formed over 190,000 years ago, when the Undara Volcano erupted, these tubes are embedded quite literally into the landscape and are a marvel to witness. Guided tours provide information on the landscape and geology. Access is via comfortable pathways, boardwalks and stairs. Lunch can be purchased / eaten at Undara Station, but is not included in the tour price. Lunch can be purchased at Fettler’s Iron Pot Bistro, a licensed venue.

The return flight to Cairns passes over another natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef, which provides a colourful contrast to the savannah grasslands and subterranean attractions you’ve explored during the day. Arrive back at Cairns’ General Aviation Airport around 5:30pm.

What Will I See?

A bit of everything! From the air, you will see the blue waters surrounding Cairns merge into the green rainforest mountains, before transforming into the golden, ochre hues of the outback. Return flight includes a pass over the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Photographers will enjoy the unique photographic opportunities and vantage points provided by our Cessna 337.

From the ground, you explore some of Australia’s best limestone caves and lava tubes, wandering the savannah grasslands which are usually only accessed after a 6 hour (return trip) drive.

What Does It Cost?

Our Cairns Outback Day Tour (Under Downunder) includes visits and tours of the Chillagoe Limestone Caves and Undara Lava Tubes. It costs $2,600, which includes the aforementioned itinerary and pilot commentary. The Cessna 337 takes up to 4 guests (bringing the price down to $650 per person). This tour is perfect for couples travelling together, small groups and families and is the only Cairns day tour to include these destinations / attractions.

Cairns to [Destination] Return
Cairns Outback Day Tour (9.5 hours) $2,600 or $650pp for 4 people.
For more information on Outback Overnight Journeys, please contact Hew Mills on phone 0409 976 888
or email info Come fly with us.
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Why Choose Us

Outback Overnight Journeys love exploring the outback and showing it to our guests. This is the only outback day tour which allows you to see and explore the amazing limestone caves of Chillagoe and Undara's famous lava tubes. Why? These destinations are too far to access in a day (6 hour return trip). We've even included a fly over the amazing Great Barrier Reef on the way home. Day trip includes ranger guided tours.

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