Friday, May 11

Kuranda trip via Scenic Railway and back via SkyRail

Today we met another tour bus at 7:45 for transport to a local narrow-gauge railroad station for a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which takes us up through the local mountains to a village called "kuranda", which is probably native Australian for "tourist trap".  The village was not too special, although there are some nice shops and some interesting things to do there, but in short it's a good place to choose to go to and come back from in order to use some neat forms of transportation.

Our train was a regular diesel with 10 cars behind.  Our tour group had 2 cars for us so there was lots of room to move around.  The trip up the mountain took about 1.25 hours and took us through some windy roadway with some spectacular views of rainforest mountains, waterfalls, and the land below.  I'll just post the pix so you can see:

Once we got into Kuranda we walked to the center of town.  Had burgers at "Frogs" and went to "Birdland", an open aviary where the birds just fly around you, land on your shoulder, try to bite the button off your cap, and do what birds do on Gretchen's hat....

It was very neat having tropical birds just hanging around, and some were so tame you could pet them.  Some I think were victims of accidents and are being cared for since they may not have all the legs / wings / etc to get around outside.  Here's some pix of some of the friendly creatures we met today:

Of course Mom makes friends wherever she goes- here's her newest buddy.

And here's another bird doing his best to imitate one of my cats' expressions:


After the birds and some shopping it was time to go to the SkyRail station for a trip back to Cairns.  Skyrail is a series of small gondolas held off a cable in a cable car system.  Each holds only 6 people and they come about once a minute so it's on and off for the 3 stops during the trip.  A nice system, I thought.

SkyRail runs through the local rain forest and has 2 stops where you can get out and learn some more about the rainforest and see it up close.  We learned some good stuff about the forest.

Here's some pictures of the view from the SkyRail, as well as some pictures of some of the trees and plants in the Kuranda RainForest:

It was a bit scary being on this cable system but the view was spectacular!  Then it was home for some relaxation.

Tomorrow is our first day to just hang around and shop and futz around - no planned activities or sites to see.  And Sunday we're off to Melbourne.  We'll report back more later.