Friday, February 14
It was another full day. We boarded the Kuranda Scenic Railway at Freshwater Station, and took a 24 mile ride through very beautiful country to the village of Kuranda. The narrow gauge railway was built between 1886-1891 after gold was discovered in the hills in 1873. The railway was built entirely with hand tools, and includes 15 tunnels, 55 bridges and 98 curves. After about one hour and 40 minutes, it reaches an elevation of close to 1000 feet.
Kuranda is an old mining village that caters to the tourist trade, with plenty of opportunities to spend money, which we were happy to do.
We headed to Rainforest Station for lunch and a ride on an Army Duck vehicle. This tour took us through some of the rainforest while the tour guide talked to us about some of the flora and fauna there. Of course, we had to go into the water as well.
Then we were treated to some aboriginal dancing. Mark was invited to the stage to perform. He was taught the “shake a leg” dance, and I think he did quite well. We were shown how to throw a boomerang, and each of us attempted to do so, without success. Also, saw demonstrations of spear throwing and playing the didgeridoo.
There was also a small wildlife park, which was interesting, but not nearly as extensive as the zoo in Sydney. At the end of the tour, we took the Sky Rail on a 5 mile ride over the top of the rainforest back to Cairns. This was simply breathtaking. We came as close as 10 feet above the tree line and as far as 200 feet above. It was an experience of unremitting beauty.
After returning to town, we tried to find a place to eat dinner, but it was a Friday night, and Valentine’s Day to boot. No reservation – no table. However, we found a nice frozen yogurt stand, so just went straight to dessert.