kuranda scenic train and sky rail
Port Douglas Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
Today we were picked up at 8.30 by bus to go to the hillside village of Kuranda about a one hour drive from Port Douglas where you then have the choice to either take the scenic train up the mountain or to ride the skyrail which, is like a ski lift. We decided to take the train up and the sky rail down.
The bus ride to the train station was a very scenic trip passing by beautiful beaches and travelling through the UNESCO rain forrest. At one point you got a lookout over to Double Dunk Island where celebrities come and stay at a secluded island ,the likes of Nicole Kidman have stayed there. Unfortunately my son didn't seem to enjoy it because the road was so windy that it made him vomitt.
The scenic train departs from one of the oldest suburbs of Cairns called Stratford. The train lines were constructed in 1881 and took about 6 years to make which is a remakable thing seeing that they had to do everything hand and the usage of dynamite and even by todays standards they are constructed extremely well.
We took our seats and quickly made friends with the couple sitting opposite us.Jay and Banita and their two year old daughter Sunday. Jay also has a sister living in Japan. The train is not a steam train but a normal train that you would use today. The train winds up the mountain in amongst the rainforrest and travels through about 20 tunnels which were made all those years ago.
The train stopped after about 45 minutes to a viewing platform at Barron falls. This is the well known waterfall that you see in all the brochures so we were expecting the water to be gushing down so it was a little bit disappointing but still quite beautiful all the same. It was interesting to see the contrast in water as it goes down the fall the water looks very clear but the pools below were a very murky and brown colour. The train stopped for about 10 minutes, time to take a couple of photos and stretch the legs.
We started talking to Jay and Banita again. we had heard that Kuranda was a bit of a tourist trap so we had decided to stay for 2 and a half hours.
When we got to the main part of the village we sat out the front of the cafe and had some lunch. Kuranda originally started as a gold settlement not the kind of gold you would think of but actually Red pine. Its called a gold settlement because back then the red pine timber was worth more than gold and this is why the train tracks were made to help transport their timber. Kuranda is now a very touristy town which is very famous for its weekend markets and galleries.
After lunch we walked through the street admiring some of the art work in the galleries and looking at the shops. at the north of town they have the beautiful butterfly sanctuary which hosts hundreds maybe even thousands of butterflies. It was very nice to see them fluttering around, pollunating the plants. Here we got to see the Cairns moth which is a big orangey butterfly and also the Ulylees butterfly which is a beautiful blue butterfly. I really enjoyed this place.
When we finished looking at the butterflies it was time for us to catch the skyrail back down the hill. This I felt was a lot better than the train.
We got on the skylift again which took us to where the bus was waiting for us.On the way back to Port Douglas nearly everybody fell asleep.
That night we ate at home a beautiful home cooked pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, cheese and salami. Agood meal to finish the day with.