by Squage
on Jun 18th, 2007

Kuranda Day Trip!

Yes, you heard right – a day trip! A day where Pat and I spend the day doing something other than sitting in the hostel, sitting by the pool, sitting in net cafes (bar this bit) and generally milling around. Makes a change, given the past few days!

Today Pat and I went to Kuranda, a village in the rainforest about 15 miles northwest of Cairns.

Part of the fun was actually the getting there and back – although some cool stuff was done whilst at the village itself.

Getting There
The journey to Kuranda was pretty cool, mainly due to the 2nd part of the journey. However, at a couple of points during the first stage of the journey Pat was concerned that we’d not actually make it to Kuranda at all.

The first time was before we were picked up. Pat was standing by the side of the road, in the rain, next to his hostel, waiting for the courtesy bus to pick us up. And waiting… and waiting. Pat was getting rather concerned that this would be a repeat of his previous, failed white water rafting trip, but just as he was about to phone the company and state (as was stated when booking about 5 times) that he was standing outside Cairns International HOSTEL, the bus turned up. Phew.

The second time Pat thought we’d never get there was during the bus trip, whereupon the bus driver repeatedly pulled to the side of the road (whether it was a minor back road or major dual carriageway, it didn’t seem to matter) in order to answer one of the two mobile phones he had by him. Which rang a lot. At the volume of a harrier jump jet from 2 metres away. To be fair, at least he pulled over to answer. From Pat’s experience, most Aussie drivers just answer their mobiles whilst cruising along – and it seems the concept of “hands free” equates to “holding the phone under your chin whilst trying to change gear and steer”. And don’t get me started on seat belts…

Anyway, eventually we got to the Sky Rail depot. Thus began the fun part of the journey. This part involves traveling in a cable car up above the canopy of a mountain rain forest along the world’s longest cable car cable. Sky Rail travels over 7km through the rain forest covered mountains and provides exceptional views of the mountain ranges:

Sky Rail Views

Alas, due to a fair selection of low-lying cloud and plenty of rain everywhere, what we got to see was this:
...And Just Like That: It's Gone

Ok, ok, it wasn’t like that all of the way – Pat and I got to see some nice (raindrop filled) views:
Gondola Over The Baron River! Look!  You Can See!

Along the route are a couple of stations, where you can jump out of your cable car and have a look around the rain forest. So Pat did:
Rain Forest Pat And A Sky Rail Brolly

He also took the chance to have a look at the mightily impressive (probably more so when there’s not fupping cloud everywhere) Baron Falls:
The Impressive Baron Falls Pat And The Baron Falls... And An Umbrella

One of the good things about clouds, rain and general grottiness weather-wise is that it deters many tourists – meaning a) you’re more likely to get a cable car to yourself and, thus, b) you can take a couple of photos of yourself and your adorable (Well… – Pat) companion:
Pat On The Sky Rail: A Shocking Experience Pat And Squage Skyrailing It TMX

They actually take a snap of you as you arrive into the Kuranda station, then super impose a scenic “middle of the cable car route” backdrop, for the princely sum of $15. I think it’s fair to say that with the above photos there was no need for that. Impressively professional, aren’t they?


Getting Wet (a.k.a. At Kuranda)
Once in Kuranda, the rain continued merrily on but it didn’t stop us enjoying ourselves: browsing through the markets, sampling some of the tasty local food and laughing at some of the “fine” goods available for purchase:

  • Squidgy faces:
    Magic Face Rip Offs
    It’s a clone of everyone’s favourite squidgy face thing – Magic Face!

  • “Hilarious” door signage:
    Awful, Awful, Awful...
    Sorry, but that just simply doesn’t work. “Do it until megabytes”? What does that even mean?

We also visited the Koala Gardens, which has got all sorts in it:

  • Lizards:
    Lizard In The Grass!

  • Snakes:
    Spot The Snake
    Including Snakes POSSESSED BY EVIL:

  • Wallabies (which Pat took some time to feed):
    WALLABY! Feeding A Wallaby!

  • And, funnily enough, Koalas:

Now remember that $15 Pat didn’t spend by not buying a photo of us in the cable car? Well, he convinced himself that he’d just saved that money and thus could spend it on whatever he fancied, guilt free. To be fair, he did say he’d been wanting a photo of him holding a Koala for ages, so I guess some dosh of him with little “Irwin” didn’t hurt:
Holding A Koala! Holding A Koala

Cuddling a Koala: Check. I think that’s almost all of Pat’s “Australia: To Do” list complete! Now just white water rafting and something he’s written about Holly Valance and some whipped cr… er, forget I said that. Jeez, Scullion.

Anyway, aside from that Pat decided to go for a nice walk as, well, it was only drizzling and it would be pleasant to wander through the rain forest. The latter was true. The former was true also, although only for 15 minutes. For the remaining 30 minutes of Pat’s wander, it BUCKETED it down. I ended up rather damp, despite being in Pat’s bag. Still, some nice sights were seen:
River In The Rain Forest Rain Forest Rainy River
Attempted Arty Flower Shot #0404FFE2

A well needed dry off in a cafe later and it was just about time to head back to Cairns…

Getting Back
This was a very pleasant way to end the day. An hour and a half long train journey along the sides of mountains through the rain forest and back to Cairns, in the Scenic Railway Train.

Again due to the lack of people we had a nice amount of space to ourselves – allowing us to both get window seats:
EXTREME PHOTO TAKING: On a Train.  Whilst Being Wet! Squage Enjoying The Views

The journey itself was very relaxing, the train pootling through the beautiful scenery, past gushing waterfalls, through tunnels and across bridges over gorges, all accompanied by an automated commentary thing, which was surprisingly a) non-irritating and b) informative. Pat did have to laugh though, when at the end of the journey it stated that it was “really pleased to have [our] company for the journey”. In his words: “Uhuh, did you my friend? You enjoyed our company… from a recording studio 5 years ago? I see!”. Obviously as Pat’s never prerecorded anything and pretended it’s live, he can mock this system without being a massive hypocrite… (Yeah, ok, ok… – Pat)

Some of the sights on the way back:
On The Edge Baron Gorge
The Train Passing Stoney Creek Falls

And then… we were back in Cairns! Since that point we’ve been to an Internet cafe to write this blog, had some dinner, Pat’s spoken to James, Gib and Tony from work (Hi dudes, enjoying your Monday in the office? :-) – Pat) and come back to the hostel… to finish this blog.

Which is… now… done. Bye!


One Response to “Kuranda Day Trip!”

  1. Jimboon 19 Jun 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Pat: “enjoying your Monday in the office?”
    James: No.

    That is all.