Manda in Kuranda
4th January, Kuranda, nr Cairns
Today Ian and I took the scenic railway to Kuranda, a little village to the north-west of Cairns. The train service runs twice a day, once at 8.30am and again at 9.30am. We took the early one and so did everyone else, it would seem!
The scenic railway is aptly named as we traversed over miles of rainforest, alongside Barron River and in admidst mountainous scenery. We passed some waterfalls - Stoney Creek Falls, followed by Barron Falls where we stopped for a ten minute photo break.
Every now and then, over the tannoy, we'd hear some information about a place where we were about to cross. It was funny when tannoy man mentioned a cemetary to our right and immediately afterwards (without a break) where the toilet facilities were ... on the train! Laughter was heard throughout the carriage at this point.
The train journey lasted an hour and forty-five minutes and took us to the Kuranda Village. The village (or road) is lined with restaurants, bars, markets and souvenuir shops. Other places also available, which we didn't see, include: - Birdworld, Butterfly Sanctuary, Koala Garden, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park etc.
We had lunch at the Rainforest View restaurant, which was very popular with the Japanese tour groups. I guess the buffet option caters for all tastes. After deliberating over whether to try a kangaroo burger or a crocodile burger, we opted for the safe option - pie and chips! Skippy and Croc live to see another day!
In the afternoon, we caught the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This cable car spans 7.5km and boasts the world's longest gondola cableway. The journey took fifty minutes, with two stops - one at Barron Falls and the other at Red Peak station. The first stop offered amazing lookout points over the top of Barron falls. The second stop revealed panoramic views of the rainforest. The scenery from the cable car itself was great - we got to see the tops of trees, mountains and the rusty-coloured Barron River as it slalomed in and out of valleys.
During the last leg, as we headed for our final stop, we could see Cairns to our right (could even see planes taking off from Cairns airport), the Coral Sea and Green Island. Feet back on the ground, we took the 2pm transfer bus back to the centre.
We decided to go to Cairns Central shopping mall for a mooch. The air conditioning in the mall was welcomed on another hot sunny day in Cairns.
We did the obligatory walk past the pet shop with the cute Jack Russell, Boxer and Schitzu puppies in the window. With both Ian and I missing our dogs in the UK, I keep threatening to take one of these pooches away with us .... but somehow I don't think the shopkeeper would agree to a travelling dog!