Archive for February, 2008

A visit to Barron Falls - Kuranda

Monday, February 25th, 2008

This weekend has been pretty quiet, although we managed to get up early Saturday morning and make a trip to Kuranda. Ever since I showed Steve the pics I took of Barron Falls just a couple of weeks ago, he was very keen to go and see it for himself. So we went.

As you can see, the falls are just as impressive but we found this lookout where the views are even more magnificent. Steve was telling me the story of how, many years ago, they climbed the mountain just behind me with his brother Phillip until they reached one of the pools. They had planned to have a swim in the pool to cool off a bit. I was thinking what a hero my boyfriend, and his brother, was, until he admitted that they climbed during the dry season, when there’s hardly any water in the Barron River. Not so brave after all, is he? Anyway, I must admit that climbing these rocks is pretty brave, whatever season of the year. So it seems, after all, he’s still my hero.

The rest of the weekend was fairly quiet. Sunday morning we met up with a couple of people from Colombia, who got us to book their trips and accommodation for them. Last night they were off to Airlie Beach, where they will be visiting Whitehaven Beach and Hayman Island, two of the most beautiful places in Tropical North Queensland. Good luck, Alejandro and Dora, hope you have a fantastic time in Australia.

Later on, we enjoyed the visit of one of Steve’s extended family’s member: his cousin Trevor. He is in Cairns to give a lecture about kinesiology.

And Sunday evening was cooking time. We will be hosting a Spanish night next Sunday and there’re a few dishes I would like to cook. But since I had never cooked them before, I thought I’d better try them first. As you can see in the pic, I wasn’t so successful, so I may have to rethink the menu. However, Steve only left one of my cheese ‘croquetas’, I guess the result wasn’t as bad although the look wasn’t so appealing.

A brush with adventure

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Today, we had the unusual luxury of a few hours off, sitting under an umbrella, watching people line up for a near death experience. These seemingly normal young folk jostled to get to the front of the line, so keen they were to hand over their hard earned money for the opportunity to climb a fifty metre tower in the middle of the tropical rainforest… and hurl themselves off!

Yes, we visited A.J.Hackett’s famous Cairns bungy site. Neither Maria or myself had been there yet, and it’s just across the highway from Yorkeys Knob, so we felt it was about time we checked it out. What’s more, we had just today booked five young daredevils to bungy and swing their way to palpitations, and we wanted to get in on the action… from a safe distance of course!

 The five teenagers weren’t looking their usual cavalier selves by the time Maria and I arrived at the jump site. They were craning their necks to see the top of the bungy tower, seemingly almost in the clouds. I think they were starting to wonder why they didn’t stay on their cruise ship, sipping cocktails and chatting up chicks. But there was no backing out; the piper had been paid, and besides… who would be the first 18 year old to wimp out in front of his mates?

First came the Minjin Swing, which I struggled to catch on film. But if you believe A.J.hackett’s website… “Today the Minjin roars in the shape of the Jungle Swing, at speeds of up to 120 kph in 3.5 seconds”… it’s no wonder all my photographs were blurry. The Minjin Swing is - in a nutshell - just a very, very, very, very big swing.

Safely harnessed, and in a lying position - kind of resembling Superman in flight - the hapless victim is hoisted backwards above the rainforest canopy until they are barely more than a speck to those left behind at ground zero. Then, in an instant, they find themselves hurtling through the air at highway speeds, swooping low over the spectator area and passing right across the roof of the kiosk. Of course, like the human pendulum that they have become, this action is repeated a number of times before the momentum wears off and they are able to be brought to a stop.

This definitely got the boys’ adreanalin pumping, and they were eyeing off their next challenge, the gargantuan tower that loomed above us all.

One by one, they took their turn on the gangplank, swandiving the height of a fourteen story building until splashing into the surface of the rainforest lagoon. Maria and I had to dash - we had a couple of digital underwater ameras to deliver in Cairns - but I’m sure the boys will still be on a buzz from their afternoon adventure. If you ever had any doubt that Cairns is the adventure capital of Australia, check out the range of adventure activities on our… you guessed it… Adventure Activities page.

 

Tour guiding in Kuranda

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

There is a new side to our business that we never thought of, tour guiding. Every day, I receive lots of emails from Spanish speaking people who are planning a trip around Australia and they always include Tropical North Queensland in their plans. Although there are lots of towns and areas to visit, the most popular ones are CAIRNS, the GREAT BARRIER REEF, CAPE TRIBULATION and the WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS. Among those emails there are lots of couples planning their honeymoon, groups of friends embarking on a once in a life time adventure and people who basically want to learn English. Australia is a fantastic destination for us as getting together with another Spanish person is nearly mission impossible.

Anyway, one of these people was a travel agent looking for someone to escort a a couple from Spain. Their command of English was close to none and I really respect whoever overcomes these problems and travels anyway. My task was to pick them up from the airport and take them to their Cairns hotel, make sure that everything was under control and then take them back to the airport once their time in Cairns was finished. Besides that, one of the days I was in charge of escorting them to KURANDA on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail. I had to learn a bit about these two Cairns attractions, and the more I learn about them the more impressed I am. I promise I will tell you more about them soon.

So I picked them up early in the morning from their Cairns hotel, ready for adventure. First we took the Skyrail, that, at this time of year, offers magnificent views over Barron River Falls. They are an absolutely impressive sight. Then we had a few hours in Kuranda, where we had time to visit all the markets and find the souvenirs they were looking for. Both of them were very keen to get Australian pearls and had been looking for them all around Australia. They finally found them in Kuranda and at a much cheaper price. And after shopping, we took the Kuranda Scenic Railway down, again offering sensational views over Barron River Falls, as you can see in the photo.

I had a great time and it was a very good opportunity for me to learn a bit more about the area, where the good Cairns restaurants are and about the history of Kuranda and its attractions. And I always welcome a bit of Spanish here and there.

The day finished with a great BARBIE at Cairns Esplanade, but that’s for Steve to write about…