Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cairns- Kuranda Skyrail

So, this is actually from Cape Tribulation yesterday, but, pretty much everywhere we went that was adjacent to an ocean, lake, river, or creek there were these signs warning about the danger of horrible death by crocodile. Also, they were in German. But, strangely, not in Chinese, which judging by our fellow tourists would probably have been more helpful.

Clearly, Laurel does not listen.

Our second day in Cairns was again devoted to the rainforest. We were traveling to the small town of Kuranda which is nestled in the midst of the rainforest up a mountain. It's very scenic. You go up by train or skyrail and then down the other way. Here's our train coming into station.

During World War II this railroad was the vital lifeline for the Australian military.  It supported its bases and outposts they were setting up along the N. Queensland coast to, at first, defend from Japanese attack and then, later, to support attacks to re-take Papua New Guinea. It was built almost entirely by migrant labor, mostly Scottish, Irish, Italian, and Chinese. Kind of like US railroads.

We were in a car towards the end of the train, which was rather convenient for taking pictures while going around hairpin turns. It's absolutely incredible this rail line was ever built. It's literally on the side of a mountain, and goes over a dozen bridges and through 18 tunnels. All of it done by hand. That blows my mind. Oh and if you thought that was bad, the workers also had to supply their own tools.  Yes, seriously.

Here's the four of us. The trainride, while beautiful, was brutaly unairconditioned. There should be some kind of law about mandatory A/C in tropical zones. No wonder we all look like we're melting.

Just beautiful. About halfway down the gorge is a large pool. Greg knows it's impossible to get to, but really, really wants to go for a swim there. How awesome would that be!?

We spent about four hours in the town of Kuranda itself. It was fairly touristy, but for lunch we found a burger place that specialized in every kind of meat. Laurel had barrimundi (a fish, delicious!), Bethany had emu (mixed results), Tina had kangaroo (only okay), and Greg had crocodile (Greg says amazing, everyone else disagrees). It tasted kind of like a fishy pork, which doesn't make it sound great but it totally was.

At the rear of the town (total walking time, 7 minutes) was a small zoo, which allowed us to see alive some of the animals we had just eaten. Greg was more than a little concerned word had gotten around to these guys.

Koalas! This guy was really posing well for us- we swear he's a real live Koala and not a stuffed animal. He's awake and everything!

Different states have different rules about Koalas and what you can and cannot do with them at zoos. In New South Wales and Victoria, it's no touching! South Australia will let you pet them a little bit. In Queensland you can hold them...for an exorbitant price. Everyone will of course pay it though, because, well, where else are you going to hold a Koala? After a brief discussion, Bethany won and got to hold him.

The zoo also had an open area where a few wallabies were wandering around. Yes, you may have seen this exact picture a few times already, but we are powerless to resist their adorableness.

Since we had taken the train up, it was time for the skyrail back down. While it was completely an arbitrary decision at the time, we definitely think we did it the right way. The train up gave some facts and explanations about the place we were going to, and then on the ride down we could just appreciate the rainforest.

This is the same gorge from earlier, but now for above. Still amazing.


  1. "you may have seen this exact picture a few times already, but we are powerless to resist their adorableness" - at first I assumed you were talking about Laurel looking adorable in any and all hats, but then I realized you must have been referring to the wallabies. Regardless, it's an apt comment.

    I am amazed by your recall of what we learned on the train. You must have been taking copious notes!

  2. I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. You can visit my site.
    Cairns Skyrail