Freshwater Station

Rob's carriage

On the train

Train from the Skyrail

Siding Waterfall

Main Street Kuranda

Barron Gorge Falls

Barron Falls

Cairns from the Skyrail

Lake Placid

15th July, 2013.

We had a quiet day today, if you can call doing the laundry and cleaning the van a quiet day.

Rob rested his leg for most of the day and then in the afternoon we went for a short walk across the road and down to Lake Placid.

They are starting to rebuild the kiosk that was all but demolished in Cyclone Yasi but apart from that the vegetation has almost fully recovered. It is a nice place for a picnic.

For dinner tonight we went to the camp kitchen for an Asian Night. Boiled rice, curry chicken and cashews (I didn’t eat the cashews although I really do like them) and another dish that I don’t really know what it was but it tasted nice and had plenty of veggies.

Good value for money in my book, especially so being that I didn’t have to cook.

16th July, 2013.

Shopping day today so it’s off to Smithfield Shopping Centre.

There really is no reason to go into Cairns itself, this shopping centre has everything, except Big W but I can live with that.

Replenished the food and drinks for the next leg of our trip to Cooktown and now for a quiet afternoon son Rob can put his foot up.

17th July, 2013.

It’s the railway to Kuranda Village today which takes us through the world heritage listed Rainforest.

We arrived at the bus transfer area at the bottom of the Sky Way and were transferred to Freshwater Railway Station to connect with the train from Cairns.

It is a quaint little station and doesn’t seem to have changed much since the early 1900’s and they have quite a few old carriages turned into restaurant and café seating. As with most public places in this area there was a plethora of ferns and tropical flora.

The railway began construction in 1886 with up to 1500 men at a time armed only with picks, shovels and dynamite with which to remove almost 3 million cubic metres of earth from the unforgiving landscape to build the 37 kilometres of track.

The railway was officially opened in 1891 to serve the bustling gold fields and includes 15 handmade tunnels, 55 bridges and 98 curves.

The scenery on the journey into the mountains is beautiful, as you would imagine rain forest to be. Trees, ferns, creepers and dense undergrowth with in some places, a solid ceiling of greenery.

There are over twelve hundred species of flowering plants, eight hundred different rainforest trees, spectacular orchids, strangler figs, exotic palms and hundreds of unique creatures inhabit this area.

We arrived in Kuranda, 1000 feet above Cairns and is quite a lively community where heritage buildings are home to cafes and restaurants, galleries, shops, hand crafted pieces and authentic aboriginal artefacts, or so they would have you believe.

We took a stroll along the esplanade and then ventured a little beyond the main street to check out the market area. The goods on sale are varied from clothing and jewellery to didgeridoos and boomerangs, pieces of art and sculptures. It is truly a tourist orientated area and the prices are to match as well.

After lunch at the Kuranda hotel we made our way back to the Skyrail terminal for the return trip.

The 7.5 Kilometre of cable way was completed in 1995 and only took one year to construct.

All the towers were lifted into place by helicopters so that the rain forest would not be disturbed.

The tallest tower is 40.5 metres and there are 114 gondola carriages.

The view from up in the air is absolutely breathtaking. You get to see the top of all the trees and ferns that you saw on the way up in the train. It is amazing to see palms that usually grown on the ground actually growing out of the top of the forest canopy.

The stag horns are everywhere and some are so large that they look like eagles nests from a distance.

We stopped at Barron Gorge so that we could go and have a look at the falls.

There isn’t just one fall, there are about four and they plunge an incredible distance into the gorge below. You can just imagine what they would be like in the wet season, rushing over the edge and spray and mist covering the nearby trees. Spectacular.

Boarding the Skyrail once more we made our way back to Caravonica to the Skyrail terminal and the car.

A wonderful day, great weather and an experience not to be missed.

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