Heading out of Cairns

Kuranda Travel Blog

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All shopped out, we decided to head towards Kuranda since it was already 3.30pm. I’d already printed out directions from whereis.com.au and also had two maps of Cairns and surrounding areas, just in case. Turns out we could’ve not worried about it. The route to Kuranda is well signposted, especially since it’s also on the route to Mareeba. We noticed a very strange phenomenon on the roads �" these Queenslanders don’t speed. Now, I know those of you in NSW are scoffing at this because most of the “Bloody Queensland drivers!” we see in our part of the country drive like maniacs.

But FNQers don’t �" in fact, most of the people you see speeding ahead in the right hand lane are driving rental cars, yours truly included.

Driving up the range was a little hair-raising. Firstly, I’m driving a strange car. Secondly, I’m in an area I’m completely unfamiliar with and have no knowledge of the roads. Thirdly, the posted speed limits are ridiculously high in places. Just imagine, very windy and reasonably steep, with speed limits between 60 (highish, but doable) and 80 (crazy and dangerous). Actually, no, 80 is probably an ok speed if you’re allowed to drive on both sides of the road! Anywho, I had to keep moving over into the passing lane to let other drivers past �" they clearly knew the road better than I. Which was fine by me, because Rachel and I were both starting to feel a bit queasy with all the winding.

Eventually, though, we arrived at Kuranda Village around 4.30pm. We knew our hotel, Kuranda Resort and Spa, wasn’t actually in the village so we thought we’d stop in and have a quick peek around. Especially since we wanted to find somewhere to have dinner. We headed straight for the tourist information centre, which was still open. The bloke behind the counter was really friendly and told us there were really only a few, albeit nice, options for dinner in the village. Many people, he admitted, headed back into Cairns for dinner but, since Rachel and I had just survived the trip up, we weren’t too keen for a repeat of the experience so soon.

With pamphlets in hand, Rachel and I decided to check into the hotel first and decide on a dinner venue later.

I have to admit I was quite apprehensive about staying at the Kuranda Resort and Spa. Even though the actual wedding will be held at Ben’s parent’s place in Mareeba, the reception is being held at the resort so it made sense to stay there. Rachel had booked three nights at the hotel after the wedding invitation had arrived, and the package on offer was pretty good - $359 (including breakfast) for a two bedroom villa. Then, I found some reviews on TripAdvisor that absolutely panned the place and told Rachel. The reviews were really bad, basically saying that the resort is falling apart and that the villas are full of dust, dirt and bugs. Rachel is really finicky about things falling apart and being full of dust and dirt; I don’t like bugs, especially not spiders.

So we decided to take the two night package instead, for the night before and the night of the wedding. And, boy, am I glad we did.

Luckily, our two bedroom villa wasn't falling apart. Unless you count the walls not meeting the roof (leaving plenty of easy access for creepy crawlies), but that was obviously intentional. It was pretty dusty though, especially in the loft bedroom upstairs where Rachel slept. At least it wasn't dirty in the sense that it hadn't been cleaned properly, more that it was just impossible to keep the dirt out given the breezy build of the villas. There were no screens on the windows, which were just wooden slats. The airconditioning was incredibly noisy but we didn't really need to use it - being in a rainforest environment, Kuranda is actually quite cool of a night.

After dumping our bags, Rachel and I realised we were buggered and decided to just stay at the resort for dinner.
That way we could also have a few happy hour cocktails before eating and not have to worry about driving anywhere :) The dinner prices weren't cheap but not exorbitant, around $20-$28 for a main meal. We took the fixed price option - $45 for three courses. It was well worth it as we were both straining our waistbands at the end! The dishes had a kind of tropical Modern Australian flavour to them and were really delicious. In fact, the dinner almost made up for the fact that I would spend the next two nights in fear of getting up close and personal with eight-legged bugs.
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photo by: mrgishi