Far northern tropical Queensland
11.09.2012 - 18.09.2012 28 °C
Cairns is the first city we visit since we have been in Darwin three months ago and it feels like the "big smoke" after our bush trips to Cobourg Peninsula, the Red Centre and Cape York Peninsula. Cairns is a lush tropical city with a population of about 180,000 and is located 1,000 km south of Cape York and 1,700 km north of Brisbane. When gold was discovered at the Palmer River, east of Cooktown in 1872, thousands of miners arrived beginning a rush that would see Cairns eventually established in 1876.
Yesterday we went on a day trip to Kuranda, taking the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda and travelling back to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The Skyrail Cableway spans 7.5 km over a pristine rainforest which allows you to explore the wonders of this ancient tropical rainforest and learn about one of the most botanically fascinating and diverse areas on earth. You glide just meters above the rainforest canopy before descending through the canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest at Skyrail’s two rainforest mid-stations, Red Peaks and Barron Falls. At each of these stations you are allowed to alight to explore the rainforest. At Red Peaks you can view the 400 year old Kauri Pine and many other rainforest plants. Barron Falls is just a trickle in the dry season but a raging torrent in the wet. From Barron Falls, the Skyrail experience continues through the mountains before gliding over the mighty Barron River and arriving at Skyrail’s Kuranda Terminal. Kuranda is a quaint little village with many tourist attractions, shops and restaurants to spend the rest of the day before departing on the Kuranda Scenic Railway trip back to Cairns in the afternoon. We visited Bird World and Koala Gardens and both were worth the visit, especially enjoying the interaction with the birds and watching the koalas' antics as some of them were quite active for koalas. We departed from Kuranda after a delightful day for our 90 minute return to Cairns. The locomotive power at the head of the train was a 1720 Class Diesel Electric Locomotive and the passenger carriages comprised of heritage style carriages. We spoiled ourselves and travelled Gold Class with a dedicated host service and individual seating in lounge-style chairs. The historical décor, including timber look flooring, historical photographs and cedar interior enhances the experience complemented by quality refreshments whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery as the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway meanders through the ancient rainforest and past two waterfalls to Cairns. This was a memorable day and highly recommended when you visit Cairns.
This afternoon I will depart on a 4 night live aboard dive expedition to the far northern Ribbon Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef as well as Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea whilst Lorraine plans to catch up with her studies. I suspect she is relieved to see me go on a trip for the first time this year. I will log this dive trip as a separate blog.
From Cairns we will travel inland to the tablelands for a while, past the crater lakes to Wooroonooran National Park.