Cairns Day 8 – Karunda, Koalas and the Rain Forest

Panoramic of Kuranda Scenic Railway in Horseshoe Bend

Today is the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail day. We got up, fixed breakfast and walked to the train station by 8:10 am. Our train was departing at 8:30 am. We also saw 2 other couples from our snorkel trip yesterday -a couple from Brisbane and a honeymoon couple. We were in car 5 seats 53, 57, and 58. This was an old railway car from the early 1900’s. The ceilings on the cars were antique tiles and the seats were red leather. No A/C or fans. Just windows to open. It was raining pretty steadily since we got up so we didn’t open the windows next to us just the ones across from us. We started off with just a few people and made 1 stop at Freshwater to get the rest of passengers. Our car was filled about halfway. There was a narration of the history of the railway and Karunda. The rail line was originally made for a gold rush but then continued for tourism.

NOTE: Lady CurbCrusher wrote these entries, Mr. Crubcruhser is posting because I’m the one that knows how to insert the pictures. I’ll add some comments in []’s.

[I’ve always used Little CurbCrusher, but as those that have read this blog over the years know, Lady CurbCrusher has used “Pre-teen CurbCrusher”, “Teen CurbCrusher” and so forth. So now, we have the mouth full “College Bound CurbCrusher.” ]

Nadine and Kelsea at Cairns Train Station
Kurnanda Scenic Railway Passenger Car
Kurnanda Scenic Railway Passenger Car

We went through several switchbacks where we could see the front and back of the cars [see panoramic at top of post] and stopped at an observation deck to see Barron Falls. We got 10 minutes to view here.

Panoramic from Barron Falls Station

Then back on the train to get to Kuranda. When we arrived it started to really pour down rain. But we were in the rainforest so should expect it to be wet. We followed the crowd to the main street called Coondoo St. and looked around for the Koala gardens area.

Kurnada Station Kuranda Koala Gardens Map Sign

The directions funneled us through a flea market style place until we came to the right place. This is what College Bound CurbCrusher really wanted to do was hug a koala. First, when we entered we saw Freshwater Crocodiles. They are a tan color with black stripes and have a pointed narrow snout. Most were swimming but one was out trying to sun to no avail. Then there were several kinds of turtles and lizards to see.

Freshwater Crocodile Koala
Koala Koala

Then the star attraction! There were 3 koalas sleeping in a habitat right before you entered to get your pictures. Our koala was named “Yoshi” and was a male 2 years old. He was about 4 kg and will only get to about 8kg total. Steve went first, then me and then CB CurbCrusher because then she would get to hold it the longest for her individual picture as well as our family picture. Their fur was soft but bristly and Yoshi was actually awake and somewhat lively. CB CurbCrusher was so happy. We then collected our photos and finished the animal area.

Steve with Koala Nadine Cuddling a Koala
Kelsea Cuddling a Koala Steve Nadine and Kelsea with Koala

The wombats were sleeping in a log out of the rain and the wallabies and kangaroos were hiding under the walkways to stay dry, CurbCrusher and CB CurbCrusher walked over and fed them. We didn’t look at the snakes but stopped to see the squirrel gliders who were all sleeping on top of one another.

Wombat Kelsea Feeding a Kangaroo

We then talked about if we wanted to do a hike but it was so wet that we were afraid it would be slippery and muddy But we decided not to hike in this weather. It was about a 3 km walk with an add on to Barron’s Falls but just too wet today. So we went to find something to eat. CurbCrusher ordered Fish n Chips, CB CurbCrusher a hamburger and I had a baked potato with cheese, sour cream, and bacon. Mine was weird though because they put the cheese on the plate, potato on top of it then Canadian bacon and then the sour cream. I gave the ‘bacon’ to CurbCrusher and ate the rest.

Downtown Kuranda Kuranda Street Signs
Downtown Kuranda Kuranda Skyrail Station

Then we went window/souvenir shopping. CurbCrusher found himself a cool Aussie roll up hat for when we hike. It looks much cooler than the one he has been wearing for years. We also found a gallery that had water color prints I liked and we bought 4- one of Sydney, one of Cairns, one of fish, and one of the Skyrail cable car. Then we looked at opals but didn’t buy any here. We then walked back towards the rail station and Skyrail to catch the cable car through through the rainforest. We had booked Diamond Cars which have glass floors in them. They come every 10th cable car so we had to wait for one.

Skyrail Views Kuranda to Barron Falls Steve Nadine and Kelsea at Skyrail Barron Falls Overlook
Skyrail Views Barron Falls to Red Peak Rainforest Boardwalk at Red Peak Station

With it raining so hard it was a hard to see past the rain on the window but what we could see was very green. We rode it to the next station at Barron Falls and got off to view the overlooks. We had good views of the right side of the falls since we saw the left from the train. There were 3 platforms to go enjoy the view from. We walked the boardwalk back to the station and re-boarded another car to the Red Peak station. Here they would have made us get out anyway because they use 2 loops for the cables. This station had an interpretive display that showed how workers came and went to the top of the falls. It looked really scary to me. Red Peak had a viewing platform also but we could only see mist, it was so clouded over. There was a ranger giving a talk on the boardwalk but we didn’t stay to listen. We finished walking the boardwalk and went back to the cable car and boarded again for Smithfield.

The views when we could see them were gorgeous and looking through the floor was fun. It would be great on a clear day to look across the valley to the ocean. When we got to Smithfield we called a cab to take us back to Royal Harbor and within 20 min we were home again having afternoon tea and naps.

Total steps for the day – 10,242

2016 - Cairns and Kuranda

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