Kuranda

Trip Start May 18, 2004
1
23
48
Trip End Jul 08, 2013


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, July 6, 2012

My flight from Osaka arrived at Cairns at 4:30 in the morning, although the ETA was scheduled to be at 5:00. There were two ways to get from the airport to the city centre: airport shuttle bus and taxi. Because a taxi ride would cost approximately AUD 25, I took a shuttle bus for AUD 10. I had to wait for the bus until six, but because I had nothing to do in that early morning, it didn't matter to wait. Anyway, the bus arrived at my hostel at half past six and its gate was still closed. Thankfully, there was a pay phone nearby, I was able to call in the hostel to ask them to let me in. It was colder out even in Cairns than I expected, so I was really happy that that they let me in even before their reception hours. I stayed in the hostel for a while, but because I didn't want to waste time, I chose to explore the neighbourhood. Firstly, I headed for Esplanade and it took only 15 minutes to get there. The air of the area was of a typical Australian tourist destination, which excited me a bit. When I reached the swimming pool on the beach, there was nobody there but a lifeguard. I thought it was out of season, but after a while, a few children came and started bathing there!

I was scheduled to join a tour to Kuranda, so I went back to my hostel at around nine and then checked in. The room rate was only AUD 20 and the facility was very satisfying. Actually, the hostel has been selected as one of the best hostels of Australia by Hostelworld.com. I waited for my tour bus in the lounge. The tour bus was almost full, picking up a few more guests and heading for a Skyrail station. It took about 30 minutes to go to the station and another 30 minutes to wait for a ride of Skyrail. The Skyrail was as exciting as I had heard. It was a long ropeway with two stops on the way to Kuranda. A view of the tropical rain forest was spectacular and the Barron Waterfalls were really scenic. A free guided tour was also available at the first station, or Red Peak Station. I learned about bird's nest fern, kauri and rain forest climate and the tour was beneficial. So I expected a similar tour at the second station, Barron Falls Station, but the secon station was just for waterfall observation. So if you catch a great view of the waterfalls from Skyrail, you don't need to get off at the second station.

The last stop was Kuranda. I didn't have a plan for there, but I wanted to ride an Army Duck, amphibious vehicle, in Reinforestation Nature Park. So I visited the TI office first which was a bit far from the skyrail station. Then I found the fact that the park was a bit far from the centre of Kuranda and I had to take a shuttle bus to get to and from the park. Ridiculously, it cost AUD10 for a return. When I arrived at the park, it was half past twelve and they said the next Army Duck tour was going to depart at one and to last until two. Because I had to get on the train at Kuranda Station at 'two', I had to give up on the tour, too. Eventually, the ticket seller recommended a wildlife park tour for me and although I was not interested in the tour, I had no choice. Because I had been to a great wildlife park in Adelaide, as I predicted, the wildlife park was very boring. I felt I just wasted time and money. 

Needless to say, however, the best part of the day was Kuranda Scenic Railway. It was just what I expected. From the beginning, I took many pictures. In addition, a conductor also offered me a photo-taking. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is famous in Japan, because a popular TV show featuring train journeys used the same video footage of the Kuranda Scenic Railway as its opening footage for more than 10 years. For that reason, there were a lot of Japanese tourists on the train and all the announcement in the train was also made in English and Japanese. At Barron Falls Station, I got off and saw the waterfalls. Because it was a dry season in Kuranda, the amount of water was small, but I had known it before I went there, so it was not disappointing. The Stoney Creek Falls bridge was especially impressive and memorable. The train slowed down on the bridge to offer a picture opportunity to passengers. Because the waterfalls were located on the right side, or hillside, I almost missed it. The other feature was Horseshoe Bend. The 180 degree bend was exciting, but I couldn't get a good picture, because a kid was taking a picture just in front of me. Near Freshwater Station, the sugar cane field was beautiful. I got off at the station and took a tour bus to Cairns.

After I came back to the hostel, I tried a night market. Although "night market" is music to my ears, I just love Southeast Asian night markets, or stalls set up on streets only in the evening. Actually, I didn't know exactly where the market was held, but I found it by accident after I had dinner at a food court. My impression about the market was, it was just a cluster of shops opening in the evening and similar to those of Sydney. It looked boring at first, but I was able to buy a chocolate box for gift only for three dollars and happy with it. Then I revisited Esplanade Lagoon Swimming Pool. There was nobody swimming in the pool, but it was lit up and beautiful. I explored a bit around the area and headed back to my hostel.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: