After spending a few hours in Kuranda, we head back down trough the mountains to Cairns on the historic scenic railway....
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Rainforest Skyrail Mid-Station
Another day, another tour. Today we set out for the Rainforest Skyrail Cableway and Kuranda Railway. Once again, Andrew drove us to the resort to catch our shuttle, but then ran back home to transport all of the others to the airport. We will be the only guests for the rest of our stay. After boarding it took about fifteen minutes to reach the Red Peak station, the highest point on the cableway at 545 meters or 1,788 feet high, where you get out and explore the rainforest at this point along boardwalks. Umbrellas are provided for those who did not think to bring one. A guide met us and offered us a free walking tour as he pointed out a number of trees and facts about them and this area of the rainforest in general. He was quite impressive with his knowledge. After he completed his tour, we were free to roam the area before boarding another gondola to the next section.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
At the end, we disembarked in the village of Kuranda. Very touristy, it is souvenir shops and restaurants galore. We had train tickets for the railroad going back down at 3:30, the last train of the day. There are only two of them and the earlier one is at 2:00. We went to the butterfly sanctuary to spend some time. We hesitated at the $16.00 entry fee per person, but once in, realized it was well worth the money. There are over 2,000 butterflies of various species at any given time. After ten minutes in we were offered a free guided tour. Our guide explained the details of half a dozen different breeds of butterflies, their life stages, their sex life, colorations, and so on. The amount of information was incredible, but the beauty of the Ulysses butterfly with its vibrant blue wings outshone anything she had to say. Two of them landed on her chest. She was wearing a white t-shirt with a Ulysses butterfly on it. There is also a large green species that I cannot recall the name of that was an incredible emerald green. At the end of the tour in the butterfly area, she took us into the museum to show us butterflies of the world. Mother nature is quite the artist. Some had wings that when opened looked like snake heads to thwart their enemies.
The first day we were by ourselves and we explored the nearby markets and eateries. We visited the Kuranda Rainforest on our second day of stay. Its lush greenery topped with mild rain made it a beautiful place to be in. It was refreshing to be amidst pure nature. There are a lot of things to do at kuranda. They have a tiny zoo, where we fed kangaroos, a space to practice boomerang throws and a tiny amphi theatre which entertains you with Australian traditions and dances. The kuranda bird sanctuary is fantastic where one can feed all the birds around. They are pretty approachable and friendly. Tiny markets also swarm this area, and you can shop for local produce and articles.An evening walk on the waterfront is something that you don't want to miss, and a dip in the blue lagoon a must! You can spend the night at the only casino that Cairns has to offer. Just don't forget to carry your passport.The third day was my favourite. We spent the day at great barrier reef and my personal recommendation: do not miss an opportunity to scuba dive here if you can. The scenery below is breathtaking and I haven't been able to shake it off my mind even after all these years. For the not so brave hearted, you can try snorkelling. But do enter the water. The flaura and fauna of this place will take your breath away. Also, though a little expensive, if you do plan to scuba dive, do rent your own waterproof camera, which is easily available from the assembly point of the cruise.So go around! Jump in, splash some water and watch the underworld go by!