The main highlight of our 5night stay in Cairns was scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef (see separate post) but the remaining days also proved entertaining. We visited amongst other things:
Cairns Tropical Zoo:
Salt water crocs are huge. Don't mess with them.
Petting Koala's and Lizards doesn't seem right - they're not fluffy lambs like at the kiddies petting zoo at Chessington world of adventures. This establishment definitely fell on the "zoo" side of the sliding scale between animal exploitation zoo & environmentally sensitive research/conservation zoo (ZSL as an example)
This was an unexpected treat, with our own personal guided tour from one of the volunteers, Clint, who told us many anecdotes about the local history and made us pose for photos with some of the exhibits!
Kuranda is an old gold rush town and was originally accessed via a trainline, that is now only used as a scenic route. The journey up took just over an hour and weaves its way through a multitude of tunnels, tight bends and cuttings. The train slows at each view point to maximise the photo opportunities for the passengers with the best coming at a wide gorge crossing.
|Barron Falls - as we saw it....|
|...and how it looks in the rainy season|
I was then left to explore Kuranda at length;
- I went off on a long walk along the river side and through the rain forest which left me feeling very de-hydrated from the suffocating heat and humidity.
- Upon returning to the town itself, I sought out a refreshing banana smoothy in the "world famous" hippy markets which were all CND insignia and brightly coloured tie-die fabrics - Think Camden Market with a heavy fog of blue smoke and "herbal" aroma. There was even a pipe-whistle dance troop that shuffled about with "far-out" look in their eyes... whilst occasionally tripping over their own feet
- Once I'd extracted myself from this stoner heaven I finally found some real culture (as opposed to the "alternative" culture scene that comes across as being identical in every hippy hang-out/traveler destination i've ever been too). This came in the form of a Aboriginal Arts Co-Op where i fought my natural philistine instincts and admired the canvases and sculpture available. Maybe I'd inhaled a bit too much of the herbal aroma earlier, as i even found myself buying a small canvas depicting a crocodile to bring home with me....
We descended via the Skyrail; which was a glorified ski-lift over the jungle with 2 stops/nature walks on the way down. We weren't allowed out at these stops due to a threatening electrical storm so had to ride all the way down to the road head and get the bus back to town. Both Caroline and I struggled to understand how this has been voted as Northern Australia's premier tourist attraction for the previous few years based on this experience.
A dinner of kebab/moussaka in "Ala Turka" restaurant completed the day and Caroline claims this was our first official dinner date despite being together 8months!
Some other memories:
|Caroline's favourite place - the Cairns Laguna. Here looking very disappointed on the first day not to have a bikini with her :-(|
|Reverting to childhood ways on the hotel water slide|
|Hand feeding Kangaroo's at the Cairns Zoo. The fence between the 'roo enclosure and the crocodiles looked pretty flimsy and i wondered if any of them had strayed in and been munched previously?|