Cairns. And everything around it.
There are times when you need to go away from your lethal routine. There are times when you have to get out of the comfort zone. There are times when you know the same environment and the same faces are wearing you out. There are times when you just want to be amongst the unknown.
So this Easter/Anzac weekends, I packed up and travelled to the Tropical North Queensland – Cairns and the world’s famous Great Barrier Reef.
*It has always been one of those bucket list item, and I have always been putting it off with dozen excuses – mainly because if you don’t do the dive and snorkel, what’s the point of visiting.
If you have an unexplained fascination about rails and old trains, board on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda Village. I pictured a female Indiana Jones (with a camera instead of a whip, though I would love that) on a treasure hunt quest. Or a damsel running away from an arranged marriage, in the hope of finding a dream and finding herself. Or ladies in huge fancy dresses and gentlemen in black suits and tall hats.
Use a little bit of imagination, and complement them with the picturesque view. Soak in the warm gentle sun and fresh air, with a hint of pleasant musk.
It got mountains, it got
rivers waterfalls/valleys. It got sights that give you shivers, but it sure would be prettier with you.
The Cup Song popped in. And I remembered Alice H.
The valleys amongst the mountains. As the train hiked up higher, you could see the mountains, the valleys, the scattered houses, the ocean and that horizon that connects everything together. On the other side, you get the amazing sight of a huge waterfall, just right beside the bridge as your train passed through.
Pictures couldn’t perfectly describe the journey and views. My amateur photo skills will never do them justice.
The announcer claimed that by the end of the trip, I would have been through 50 something tunnels (!) I lost count. You would passed the Barron Gorge and the train stopped at Barron Falls Lookout. Get down QUICK and find your perfect photo spot, because in like 30 seconds, every corner of the platform would be taken by tourists.
Fun Fact: The Barron Falls is about 329 metres above sea level, and drop about 265 metres. According to the guide, there used to be a ‘flying fox’ traversed the gorge to transport supplies, livestock and people.
Imagine that is still here today – it’s gonna be one hell of a tourist spot for adrenaline junkie!
Once the train arrived at Kuranda Station, poof everyone’s gone. If you have no idea where to go, visit the Visitor Information Centre *duh*. I encountered an information overload error as I spent awhile talking to this friendly elder man who works there.
Another obsession I have – when travelling – is to visit the local villages and markets. It could possibly be something to do with where I grew up. There is abundance to marvelled at at the Kuranda Village Market. After a little search and look-around, ta-a-da I found what I’ve been looking for. German Tucker – I was highly recommended by a friend from Cairns.
There are heaps of other things to see and do:
- Rainforestation Nature Park that allows you to experience a wide range of activities, including the Army Duck Tour, Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, Wildlife Park entry, Tropical Fruit Orchard and etc;
- Butterfly Sactuary that boost a wide range of beautiful, local tropical butterflies;
- Bird World;
- Kuranda Koala Sanctuary;
- River cruise;
- Bushwalking; and many more…
You see, the top tip to Kuranda is to get the Scenic Railway up and then the Skyrail down to Smithfield (last stop). You could feel the slight exhilaration (if you’re afraid of height like my dad, and clear glass bottom didn’t make it any better for him) and take in all the surreal mix of utopia and reality.
What I like best was that all these – the height, the view, and the serenity – got better with the caressing wind through the small gaps on the door.
If you couldn’t get to the top of Hollywood and declare your love/dream like in the golden screen, or like Jack from Titanic proclaiming King of the World; try yelling “I am on top of the world” from your gondola 🙂
The whole journey was about 7.5km cableway and takes approximately 1.5 hours, depending if you make stops at certain station to explore other parts of the rainforest.
A day in Kuranda is definitely not enough. So if one got more time to spare, get a quaint little accommodation and stay the night.