Paul and Elizabeth's Adventures in Oz

Day 16, Wednesday, September 11, 2002—

Flags at half mast
American & Australian flags half-mast on 9-11
Kuranda, Queensland

This morning we boarded the historic Kuranda Railway for a trip up the mountainsides above Cairns to the town of Kuranda. This railway was built over a 9 year period in the late 1800s. The rail line follows a narrow, winding track along the mountainside, through 15 hand-cut tunnels and over several very high bridges, allowing spectacular views of the plain and the oceanside below. Included is a stop at a lookout above Barron Gorge. The end of the line is the town of Kuranda where there are scores of shops offering locally made arts, crafts, jewelry & aboriginal items as well as the usual tourist souvenirs. We had a short hour and a half (not nearly enough!) to explore the area, which for us included visits to the Butterfly Sanctuary and to Cliff's Homemade Ice Cream stand for refreshment before heading down to the SkyRail station.

At the SkyRail station, we boarded a gondola for the 45 minute trip back down the mountain, gliding above the rainforest canopy. We stopped at each of the two stations along the route for a short look at rainforest points of interest. Our sky trip ended next to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center, where we had a wonderful buffet lunch and were treated to traditional Tjapukai (the area's rainforest tribe) storytelling, music, dance and demonstrations of spear and boomerang throwing. Paul learned to throw the boomerang so that it would return and got it right two out of two tries!

At the end of the afternoon we boarded the bus for our hour trip back up the coast to Port Douglas.

Red Lynch's Cottage Inside the rail carriage
Outside Red Lynch's Cottage. He was the foreman of the crew who built the Kuranda Railway
The inside of the classic rail carriage we rode in.
Train SkyRail
The train comin' 'round the mountain
SkyRail as seen from the railway
(above Barron Gorge)
Kuranda Station Butterflys mating
Butterflys mating at the Butterfly Sanctuary
The platform at Kuranda Station