The 2nd full day was remarkable, and a day to remember. After last night and the heavy rains and our finding a place to eat when we found that the Casino Restaurant was closed due to a power outage….that went back on an hour later…and we finally enjoyed our great sandwich. We got back to the hotel and early to bed in view of the early pick up for our Saturday day.
Saturday started off with a pickup at 7:20 AM…for the bus ride to the train station to take the Kuranda Classic Train up the mountain to the Rain Forest. To describe the details of the day…are just too many….and will summarize, but the essence is……”if you ever come to Australia and have the chance to go to Cairns……then today is a MUST.” What a day!
1. The train is an old vintage train completely updated….and is made up of about 10 cars. The trip up the mountain is on a one way rail….and within a few minutes the train starts through the tunnels and over the bridges as we climb into the Rain Forest. 2. The trip is filled with unbelievable photo shots, as this is land that is only accessible by the train. A lot of history in how they built the railroad…..years of amazing work and engineering. 3. The ride is about 2 hours with one photo stop over the river and falls….the views are unbelievable ….clearly a once in a lifetime experience
2. When you arrive in Kuranda Village…this is an original “hippie” kind of art town….but over the last few years has become a tourist center. It is a small village, with mainly tourist shops, etc….very fun to walk around and see the shops, especially the little “hippie” looking shops…very cute and unusual,…and the newer shops and the Kuranda Market is very nice….and quite “touristy”…….but well worth the time. A very attractive “village” in this gorgeous tropical setting.
3. We then boarded a bus and drove a few miles to the RainForest Nature Park for a delicious BBQ lunch. Very well done….a private facility that is extremely interesting and really designed to give visitors a good understanding of the Rain Forest…..and it is a real one…one of the largest in the World…and a first for us. After lunch, which was a full dinner, we went to the Army Duck area…and these are WW II Army ducks used by the Army in the war. We were able to get a seat up front…and for an hour, we drove through the Rain Forst…on land and into the water. Just a wonderful time with an outstanding driver and speaker and tour leader,,….originally from Canada with an art degree who had taught school before moving here. She was great….very knowledgeable and really able to drive the Duck…..kind of amazing. The Rain Forest has to be seen to really be appreciated….certainly nothing like we had ever seen.
4. The next part of the afternoon was a very amazing dance show…..and then a very well done Dreamtime walk….with exhibits, etc…..all done by the dancers. Really fun….and enjoyed by all. We then had a guided tour of their “zoo”…..first had look and touch area for kangaroos…and then real close up of Koala, a dingo, and a wambot. Very well done…fun, and most interesting. Very obvious that their employees really enjoy their jobs….extremely well informed and very communicative…..just a real enjoyment.
5. We then boarded the bus and headed to the Kuranda Skyrail. This is a huge lift that stretches up and down the mountain for about 10 miles….and takes you from the top of the mountain down to the bottom….very exciting as we rode in 6 seat enclosed cabins…and Audy got a bit nervous when the cable cars stopped for a few minutes, as we are literally hundreds of feet about the Rain Forest below….nothing like it and another first for us. The Cable Car has two stops where you can get off and see some exhibits….just a great and exciting ride down the mountain …a bit exciting but safe…going over the forest and rivers below that you can only see from the lift.
Back to the hotel by 6….an incredible day….enjoyed by all and a MUST for anyone traveling in or near Cairns. Too tired for dinner…but worth it all. Just a GREAT DAY.
Off to the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow…..what a place.