26 days away
40 km / 25 miles since last post
3,762 km / 2,338 miles total
Billed as a 'must see' in our travel book, we decided to visit Kuranda, a few kilometres west of Cairns. You can drive all the way to the village itself, although the more scenic experience is to take the Skyrail and/or scenic train. We decided to take the Skyrail there, and catch the train back. The Skyrail was fantastic. It takes you all the way to Kuranda, over the top of the rainforest trees, with stunning views. After 10 minutes or so you arrive at the next station, and there is a short boardwalk along the forest floor. It also leads to a lookout point out to the forest. It's then time to get back on the Skyrail for the next stage of the trip.
The second stage was even better. You travel past Barren Gorge to the left, and are rewarded with an amazing view, including the huge waterfall which precedes it.
You then stop at another Skyrail station, and have another boardwalk to follow. This one leads around the forest and to a couple of amazing lookouts over the gorge and waterfall - a fantastic photo opportunity. At this point it had started raining, but they provide you with an umbrella - I suppose it is a rainforest after all!
Once back on the Skyrail, you start the last stage of the journey to Kuranda. This part offered us views of the Barren River. I've been on some cable car rides in my time, but this beats them all. Not only are the views incredible, but the journey lasts for ages.
Upon arrival in Kuranda, the first thing to greet us was a large Irish pub, so we took the opportunity to grab some food and drink. I opted for the 'house speciality' of Guinness Pot Pie, and have to say it was absolutely delicious. Once refreshed we took a walk up the road, past all the shops clearly geared for the tourists. At the end of the road was the place we'd been looking for - the Butterfly Sanctuary. Another recommendation from our travel book and a good opportunity to seek out the elusive Ulysses butterfly, allegedly the most beautiful in the world.
Well, we didn't have to do much seeking - the butterflies were everywhere! If you stood still long enough you could be lucky enough for one to land on you. A couple landed on Stu's head, and I managed to capture a picture of one on his finger. I was a bit reluctant to have one land on me at first, tending to flinch a bit when they flew towards me. Stu managed to get another butterfly on his finger, and then passed it to me. So amazing to hold a butterfly in my hand - they are so tame. We also spotted the Ulysses butterfly - well, quite a few actually. They are the most brilliant blue colour, but the most difficult to photograph, as they never seem to stay still! Stu managed to capture one on camera, but after much chasing we couldn't get any more pictures. The sanctuary was a great place to visit.
We decided to head back through the village, and stopped back at the same pub for a quick drink, before boarding the Scenic Railway to take us back out of Kuranda. Thankfully, we'd booked our tickets this morning and so had obtained a window seat. I don't think the journey would have been quite as good if you were stuck on the end of the seats, as it would have made taking photos a lot more difficult.
The train journey back lasted about 1.5 hours, but it was at a scenic pace, so quite understandable. The train slowed down at appropriate moments allowing everyone to observe the sights. It took you through the rainforest, through tunnels, and eventually back to Freshwater station. This was a few kilometres from the Skyrail car park, so they provided a minibus to take you back to pick up your vehicles.
It's certainly been a great day at Kuranda. We decided to head back to the same campsite as last night. We knew they had a cafe on site so we could grab some dinner to make things nice and easy.