Today while we had a day in Cairns (ute being taken to mechanics tomorrow) we thought we'd do some tourist activity in the capital of north Queensland. Matt had done the skyrail and scenic railway trip up the mountains to Kuranda before with his parents but I hadn't so we decided to splurge from our meagre budget. We took the skyrail up the mountain, catching the bus from our caravan park this morning to the gondola terminal.
Once we were up in the sky we got a great view over the mountains, Cairns and to the coast. We stopped at Red Peak for a little rainforest boardwalk and talk about all things rainforest before continuing on to Barron Falls and then finally Kuranda.
Kuranda is a little village up the mountains from Cairns. It has lots of markets with a weird mix of 'I love Australia' t-shirts, stuffed koalas, boomerangs and didgeridoos catering for the Asian tourist market and then the hippy peace loving hemp clothing, a lot of gemstones, dream catchers, wind chimes, fishermans pants, sarongs and the like. We wandered around for about two hours, having lunch in the park followed by a strong latte (for me) and choc-mint/rum and raison ice-cream (for Matt) sitting in a little cafe.
We meandered down to the cute little train station and boarded the 2pm train back to Cairns. The Kuranda Scenic Railway isn't a steam train like I hoped (just regular ol' diesel power) but the carriages are timber with open windows and have an old world charm to them. I do love a bit of train travel! Very Hollywood siren of me. And we sat opposite the cutest elderly couple who held hands and I'm sure used to ride trains back in the day together in the exact same pose.
We stopped at the other side of the Barron Gorge to take some photos of the falls, which must be amazing in the wet. We kept chugga-chugging through the rainforest and down the mountains - the train passes over several bridges and through 15 tunnels! There was commentary throughout about how the early pioneers blasted their way through the mountains and dense jungle to carve the path to the goldfields on the other side of The Great Divide. Very interesting.
We eventually chugged and tooted our way into Cairns central station, hopped off and walked 'home' to our caravan park. Tonight we're trying to decide where we might go tomorrow night (all going well with the ute's little tune up). Perhaps we'll backtrack to Atherton, perhaps we'll stay on in Cairns another night or perhaps we'll keep chugging further north a bit...