Cairns (pronounced “Cans”) is a lovely city on the northeast coast of Australia. It is the stopping off place for tourists interested in snorkeling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef or touring through a pristine rain forest. It is threatening to rain today (it is the rainy season). Since snorkeling is too expensive, we decide to take a tour to Rainforestation Nature Park. The road to the park winds through lush rain forest and fern gullies as we ascend the Kuranda Range.
At the park, we learn about Aboriginal culture on the Dreamtime Walk. We watch spear throwing and listen to a didgeridoo being demonstrated. With instruction, Courtney tries her hand at throwing a boomerang. Then we watch the Pamagirri Dancers perform traditional aboriginal song and dance. Courtney also gets to participate on stage. Next we climb into an amphibious army duck to travel along jungle tracks and to cruise a small lake where we see an Eastern Water Dragon (lizard) and a Stinging Tree (painful sting lasts for months). Back at the wildlife park, we opt to have our picture taken holding a koala. We then walk around to view more koalas, crocodiles, a wombat, a dingo and a cassowary (similar to ostrich). Every few feet we walk past kangaroos freely hopping around the park. Finally, we lunch at the park’s bar ordering a chicken sandwich with garden salad. The “with garden salad” means lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts garnish the chicken in the sandwich.
After a quick shower and a change of clothes, we are off to explore Cairns. We walk along Esplanade Park which outlines the Trinity Bay. It is dangerous to be in the water here particularly during the wet season. Box jelly fish migrate from inland streams into the bay waters. These jelly fish are only the size of a thumbnail and can be deadly. Next we wander through the Night Market. This market opens around 4 pm and contains stalls of jewelry and other souvenir items. One can even get her name engraved on a grain of rice. The last aisle is totally devoted to massages.
We dine at Casa De Meze sitting out on its second floor patio overlooking the Esplanade. The park trees are full of birds singing. Around dusk, the sky becomes full of black “birds” flying among the palm trees. At first we think they are black birds but a closer look reveals that they are bats.