Posts Tagged ‘Kuranda Scenic Railway’

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The baby is not here yet, so we’re still visiting lots of places in the area. And the weather has given us a break, so this week has been pretty frantic at Cairns Unlimited.

Last Sunday I took my parents to the Cairns Botanic Gardens, where we saw lots of different species of plants from all over the world. Of course, only from those nations with a climate similar to the tropical weather you can find in Cairns, otherwise, it would be impossible for them to survive. My mum is very surprised to find in Australia plants and flowers she has seen in Spain. I guess she thought that when she was coming to Australia she was leaving Planet Earth and arriving to a completely different planet.

After the Botanic Gardens we went to visit the Centenary Lakes, one of my favourite places in Cairns. The Centenary Lakes is the name given to the park where one freshwater lake and one saltwater lake coexist. It’s a beautiful place, with lots of different plants, trees and where lots of people go for the typical Aussie barbecue.

Then on Monday we visited Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, , where we learned about the traditions of the Tjapukai peole. It was very interesting. First we started with the Creation Theatre, listening to the way the world was created. Then we moved on to the Dance Theatre, where we saw a demonstration of their dances and songs. Then, it was time to try our luck throwing the spears and boomerangs. My mum wasn’t too bad with the spear and my dad did pretty well throwing the boomeran. I was crap at both of them. Here you have a couple of pics of our day:

And yesterday it was time to visit Kuranda. We had a full day planned: first, from Cairns to Kuranda on Skyrail, , then a visit to the Koala Gardens, and Bird World, and back to Cairns onboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway, .

My mum is not very impressed with heights and we thought Skyrail could be a bit challenging for her. But as soon as we got it, she was absolutely amazed by the beauty of the scenery surrounding us. If you are lucky enough to go to Kuranda on a clear day, you will be able to see the Coral Sea, the cane sugar plantations by the coast and even a couple of the islands

Skyrail has been built taking into consideration the environment and they are very proud, so they should be, of not having destroyed any part of the rainforest while building it. All the posts were situated where there were clearings, so no trees were cut down at all. Of course, to be able to take the posts to where they were going to be located, workers would have to take them through a very dense rainforest. However, they used helicopters to transport the posts. And the workers had to work one hour each day to their work place and one hour back. A whole lot of work, isn’t it? But it’s definetely worth it.

When you go on Skyrail, make sure you stop in the two stations along the way. And if you are lucky enough to catch one of the rangers and do the guided tour with them, don’t miss it. They will tell you a lot about the plants in that section of the rainforest. You will then learn why a plant is called “Wait a while”, for example.

After being dropped off in Kuranda and taking the free bus that connects both the Skyrail Terminal and the Kuranda Scenic Railway station with the town centre, we made our way to Koala Gardens. You may not know that not all the states in Australia have the same laws, and while in New South Wales you cannot hold koalas, , that’s something very popular in Queensland. Don’t worry, koalas only “work” 30 minutes so they don’t get stressed. And by the way they spend their whole day sleeping, you can see their levels of stress are pretty low.

And then it was time to visit Bird World, almost next door. It’s a small enclosure where there are lots of different species of birds flying around you. If you visit it, you will have to be carefull with your jewellery, because some of the birds are attracted to all shinning things and you could loose your earings or a necklace very easily. So without our jewellery we entered the premises and were welcomed by lots of different birds. They were absolutely fantastic and so used to humans that they’re not scared to come close to you.

And then it was just time to hang around the markets, do a bit of shopping for friends and family back in Spain and enjoy a cold drink just before we got on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to come back to Cairns.

Again, as it happened with the Skyrail, both my parents were very impressed with the train. It took us about 90 minutes to descend from Kuranda to Cairns, all the time through amazing scenery, waterfalls, rainforest, etc. While you are on the train, you will be able to hear the story of the first pioneers of the area, those who built the rail line and their sufferings. I don’t think we ever give a second thought about things such as whoever built the first railway lines in very inhospitable and remote areas. Kuranda Scenic Railway hasn’t forgotten its origins and the whole presentation you can see while on the train is really worth while and eye opening. Of course, don’t forget to still keep an eye on the scenery.

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…

With Alex, from Spain

Friday, January 11th, 2008

One of the highlights of my week is always meeting with all the Spaniards who come to Cairns for holidays. Unfortunately still there are not too many, it’s too far away for us and we usually stay closer to home. Couldn’t say why. But there are some of us who decide to take a year off and travel around the world. And one of the them is Alex.

Alex and I had been in touch for a few weeks, while he was researching to plan his days in Cairns. And finally we met yesterday and had a long and very pleasant chat. Alex is travelling around the world after quitting his job in Barcelona. So far he’s been to some countries in Asia, and his next stop after Australia will be New Zealand and South America, finishing in Brazil. Travelling around the world is one of those things I always wanted to do, but never found the right time to do it. And although I’m now living on the other side of the world, I’ve come here directly, without stopping hardly anywhere on the way.

Alex is going to be in Cairns for a few days, so what I have recommended him to do on those days is what you cannot miss while in Cairns: a trip to the GREAT BARRIER REEF , a trip to CAPE TRIBULATION , ideally staying overnight so you have time to visit the CAPE TRIBULATION BEACH and then KURANDA on a day trip. The means of getting to Kuranda are exceptional, travelling one way with Skyrail over the Daintree Rainforest and the other way with Kuranda Scenic Railway, a train built by the early pioneers. One of the highlights of the trip is Barron Falls, beautiful falls that during the rainy season are absolutely breathtaking.

Barron Falls during the dry season. Still a very impresive sight Barron Falls during the wet season, when the falls are at its best.

Here you have a couple of pictures of the Barron Falls, the first one is the one we took a couple of years ago when we came here on holidays. And the other one is what the Falls look like after some rain. Impressive, isn’t it?

Steve enjoying our trip on the Skyrail. Ready to go back to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

And here you have a couple of pics of our trip to Kuranda a couple of years ago. The trip was absolutely amazing as well as all the staff we met. Recommended 100%.

I think Alex is also going to spend one day in PALM COVE , one of the beautiful CAIRNS NORTHERN BEACHES .

Alex, I hope you have a great time in Cairns and during the rest of your trip.