|Waterfalls so close you could almost touch them|
I love trains so was really looking forward to both the train ride and the chance to get up into the forest. Our small group tour of 12 consisted of 4 Spaniards, 2 Americans, 1 New Zealander (that's me!) and 5 Australians guided by the charming Hilary, who provided an informative commentary on the hour's drive south to the train station, then it was "all aboard!" for our trip up into the mountains.
|Gold Class carriage|
|Stoney Creek falls bridge|
Construction of the Kuranda Railway began in 1887 as a way of taking supplies up to the gold miners working in the mountains. 1500 men worked on the railway, creating 15 tunnels and 37 bridges, all by hand. The track is 75km long, includes 93 curves and by any standards is a remarkable feat of engineering and a lasting testament to those workers. The journey through thick rain forest, over ravines and past dramatic waterfalls is incredibly scenic and an easy, comfortable way to get up close and personal with nature. All the carriages date back to the early 1900s and are full of lovely vintage details, such as pressed tin ceilings and dark polished timber and you can open the windows to enjoy the cool, fresh mountain air.
I traveled in the gold class carriage, a little more expensive but worth it. Extras included comfortable club chairs, a glass of
The train ends its journey at Kuranda's heritage listed (1915) and very pretty Federation style railway station set in tropical gardens.
We had an hour and a half to wander around the village of Kuranda, a bit of a Hippyville packed as it is with markets selling the usual markety stuff. But there are also a number of attractions including a Butterfly Park, Koala Gardens and Birdworld so plenty to keep you happy if markets aren't your thing. I chose to just wander around, exploring the markets, enjoying the mesmerising aboriginal art at the Doongal Gallery, housed in an extraordinary Noah's Arc-like building, listening to a didgeridoo player while pondering the mechanics of circular breathing, visiting the tranquil little church of St Saviour's and sipping on coffee amidst lush tropical plants. A very pleasant hour and a half.
|A Kuranda Market, one of several|
|The Didgeridoo, this skilled player could make all sorts of bird calls|
|Enjoying the Skyrail|
To round off a truly wonderful day we stopped off at Palm Cove on our way back to Port Douglas. This held special interest for me since my son and daughter in law had honeymooned there. It is a very pretty little seaside resort which for some reason reminded me of the Carribean, I think maybe because of the ice cream colours on some of the buildings. There we enjoyed conversation and cocktails at a seaside bar before heading back up the coast.
|Carribean colours at Palm Cove|
If you are going to North Queensland I highly recommend this day out. I also highly recommend Brett's Day Tours. Our guide was thoroughly professional, giving good advice on things to do and places to see. I particularly like small group tours and the fact that there was free time to do our own thing in Kuranda.
Note: these views are my own. I was not sponsored by Brett's.
#kurandavintagerailway #kuranda #skyrailrainforestcableway #brettsdaytours #palmcove