A view from our tram car after we left the first station. We went over the mountain. The tram car on the right is coming toward us, carrying a trash container from the previous station. We are heading toward the mountain.
The view from the tram. It's beautiful, but the photo captures only a small snapshot of the view we had.
Kuranda is a village/small town in Queensland in the mountains of the rainforest, east of Cairns. It’s become a tourist-attraction, particularly with the SkyRail transportation there. We went on Tuesday and the weather was the exact opposite of the previous day, warm and sunny all day long. Hope you can “forgive” the numerous photos in this blog. There were so many great views, it was was hard to choose just a few.
A view from our tram.
In the morning, we took the skytram to Kuranda which carried us up the mountain and through the rainforest, or I should say above the rainforest. It’s amazing what you can see from the tram looking out across the area toward the ocean and then right beneath you at the rainforest. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to ride the tram, but that includes two stops where you can walk through the rainforest and to views of the Barron Gorge and Falls. The views were gorgeous both on the tram and on the walks at each station. We saw incredible views to the ocean behind us and out across the rainforest and mountains, including waterfalls. The photos are amazing and yet do not do justice to what we saw in person.
Coming into one of the two stations where we stopped and took walks in the rainforest.
Besides being a tourist destination, Kuranda is a small quaint town where people live and work each day. The town has a number of tourist shops, but also grocery stores, churches, homes, etc. for the people who live there. Although it is possible to drive to Kuranda, the ride up on the skytram and back on the railroad were half the enjoyment of the day.
This tree was HUGE and had absolutely no low branches. They were all at the top of the tree, creating shade for the forest below.
We tried a jungle walk which was interesting, but very hot and muggy. We cut our walk short when, despite the inspect repellant, we became lunch for any number of mosquitos in the area. One of the main things we had looked forward to on our Kuranda visit was the Koala Cuddle in a small zoo they have in Kuranda. That experience was so incredible, we’ve saved it for the next blog, so stay tuned!
Laura gingerly touches a large, spikey vine on the jungle walk. It was definitely spikey, not fuzzy!
After the koalas, we visited the butterfly sanctuary. We’ve been to White River Gardens in Indianapolis which has butterflies during the spring and summer. This sanctuary is much like it, but it seemed like there were more butterflies and there were definitely ones we had never seen before, that are native to Australia. They landed on us multiple times and some we even convinced to sit on our hand. The literature even encouraged you to wear bright clothes to tempt the butterflies to land on you. After the butterflies, the girls and I browsed around town while David finished the nature walk. It seems even the threat of mosquitos is preferable to shopping!
Jenna eyes a butterfly that landed on her shirt.
The Cairns Birdwing Butterfly
The day ended with a return trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railroad. The railroad was built in the late 1800s replacing another railroad which had been continually affected by flooding. Before the new railroad was built, residents in the mountains were sometimes cut off from supplies, including food, for extended periods of time. The new railraod was an amazing engineering feat requiring more than 15 tunnels and a massive bridge. Small towns sprung up along the line during its construction.
The Kuranda Scenic Railroad as we went round a large curve.
Today, what was once a lifeline for the people in the mountains, is now a tourist attraction. Many of the train cars are historic, some as old as 100 years and others from the 1930s. On the train ride back, we stopped at an overlook for better view of Barron Falls. The falls are huge and incredibly powerful. I wish photos could have captured the sounds as well as the sight of this waterfall. The rest of the train ride was comfortably lulling, tempting us to doze after a long, busy, exciting day. However, our seat mates probably would have objected if we had slid into their knee space. We think they were speaking French, but couldn’t tell for sure. We heard a number of languages that day besides the lovely Australian accent.
Baron Falls from a lookout point just off the skytram. You can just see a rainbow in the lower left corner of the photo.
Another view of Baron Falls from a stop on the train. You can see the mist from the rushing water.
Stay tuned for the Koalas!
Laura, Jenna and Dad enjoy the view from a lookout at one of the tram stations.