Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kuranda Skyrail near Cairns

This was a magic part of the trip.
The SkyRail operates from close to Kuranda rail station, up and over the hills and then down to the coast North of Cairns.
There was controversy when it was first proposed; consequently it was constructed using helicopters to airlift the pylons into position to cause the minimal possible disruption to the ecology.
If you need to get back to Cairns or Freshwater Rail Stations then mention that when you book and a ticket on a shuttle bus is included.

The cars are designed for a maximum of six, but most only had two, three or four passengers so there is plenty of room. The views are simply spectacular. The day had become overcast and gloomy, a prelude to the misty and rainy conditions of the following few days, so my photos don't really do it justice.

However, I'll let the photos tell most of the story, with a few notes.

There are two stops en-route. At the first, there is a short walkway through the rainforest to views of Barron Gorge and Falls. These are the same falls we saw from the train on the way up from a different viewpoint. Not the thundering roar of Niagara - but beautiful and spectacular all the same.

Then another viewpoint as we returned to the cable-car and swept silently up and away from the stopping point.

The second stop, unlike the first, is also a change of cables so the cars arriving here return to Kuranda and Caravonica respectively. At this stop there are two features. There is a small but very well done exhibition explaining the science of the rainforest in audio-visual displays and presentations that were full of fascinating detail at all levels; not just kids and tourist stuff but really informative and interesting. Allied to that is an easy walkway with stops along the way to see various features of the rainforest in situ; explanations of the different tres and ecology, the struggle for light on the floor of the forest and the constant death and renewal of the flora. Rangers are available for small guided groups.

Returning to the cable-car we then continued further up and over the crest to suddenly come on breathtaking vistas of the coastal plain North of Cairns. The trip takes about 45 minutes over the 7.5km (nearly 5 miles) journey plus whatever time you spend at the stops; as I left Kuranda at 2:30 pm and the bus wasn't scheduled at Carvonica until 4 pm I took my time and enjoyed a leisurely stroll at the stops.

And finally the Caravonica station appeared, beside an Aboriginal display centre with tourists being taught how to throw boomerangs in the field at the back.

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