In Cairns, we interspersed our cruises on Barrier Reef with trips on the mainland. The second day of our stay we planned to go and see the surrounding rainforest. In order to have a better view of the floods of green shades we took advantage of Sky Rainforest Cableway which goes from Cairns to Kuranda, also known as The Village in the Rainforest.
The Skyrail has two mid-stations from where you can take really short loop walks to the rainforest and see a couple of great views as well. On the way from second mid-station to the Kuranda Terminal we passed the Barron Gorge with spectacular falls. They would be definitely much more spectacular during the rainy season but even with the lower water level it was a pretty nice piece of rock.
At Kuranda we explored a lovely walk along the river and within the rainforest where we found some creepy big spiders. The trees at the final part of the walk were heavy with squealing bats. There had to be thousands of them, so we quickened our pace to not come up with “present” on our heads.
After lunch and long debate we decided to visit the Koala Gardens after all. We hesitated because we’d already visited Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, but just as well that we did because the Gardens were great! Actually, the gardens were quite small but the Koala bears there were absolute amazing. There were about five Koalas sitting and hugging their tree or quietly sleeping like little balls of wool.
The Koalas Gardens are one of a few places in Australia where you can cuddle koalas. The price which included a short cuddle and one photo was ridiculous but that cute creature was irresistible. I know, I am such a consumer tourist!!! However, that two minutes of cuddling my cute, soft, non-smelly (regularly washed I guess), fluffy and…quite heavy sweetheart, was invaluable.
In the gardens there were other nice and interesting animals too but the koalas simply stole the limelight.
When we left the gardens we still had some time to wander around Kuranda, so we visited the local heritage markets. It wasn’t really our cup of tea as most of the stalls looked weird and the things inside were a mess. But maybe we just have poor style :).
Instead of taking the cableway we chose a scenic railway to travel back to Cairns. The train with historic carriages was slow meandering through the landscape and squeaked at every gentle turn. During the next one and half hours we went through several tunnels, passed a few waterfalls and went over shaky bridges.
The whole journey was accompanied with an informative lecture about the origins of the railway and about how hard the miners’ job was, allowing us to enjoy this ride through natural wonders.