October 1, 2000

Today we took at tour into the rainforest up to Kuranda. We went up by skyrail ( a cable car) and in many cases gliding along the tree tops.

We went up in three stages, stopping at 2 points along the way for a walk along a boardwalk. We're just coming up to the second stop by the Barron Falls and dam on the Barron River. This damn was the first to produce hydro electric power in Queensland. The trip up took about 45 mins with the 2 short stops.

Kuranda itself was mostly a tourist trap with lots of stores selling crafts, trinkets, pictures, etc. The billing was goods made by the locals. Jean was looking for a Koala bear and found one that she like, looked at the label and found it was made in Tiawan. Guess it's the same thing the world over.

So we went for lunch in a nice setting instead.

I ordered a hamburger with "The Lot" It came with a fried egg, pineapple, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and a few other goodies. Often you'll get beets instead of pineapple when you order the lot. After slapping these two halves together, it was a real struggle to get my mouth around it. It was a bit sloppy and wet and of course most restaurants now only give you one tiny little napkin to go with the meal, so I had to lick my fingers clean.

We went down by rail. This railway is now just for tourists, but it was originally built in the 1870s to service the Atherton Tablelands where they had discovered gold and tin. These lands are high up above the coastal region. Before that, the route up was almost impassible even on foot and in the wet season no supplies could get to or from the highlands.

During the construction of the railway, a 12 year old girl broke her leg and needed to get to the hospital. I apparently took them a week to walk her down the mountain into Cairns.

There are 15 tunnels on the trip, all built by hand and dynamite.

The long trip down went along the Barron River and then up another valley, made a U-Turn and came down the otherside of that valley, in order to get enough length to get down at a reasonable grade. At the U-Turn point, there was an impressive waterfall. Here you can see the train making the turn in front of it.

And a close-up of the waterfall. The trip down by rail took about an hour and a half. Very rugged country.

For supper, we went to the Red Ochre Restaurant and ordered a platter consisting of Kangaroo, Emu and Lamb. The Kangaroos are not farmed, but instead are pests and are hunted and shot at night with powerful searchlights and high powered rifles. Fortunately, they served it as pieces of meat so Jean didn't have to look at the eyes watching her.....

We both thought the Kangaroo tasted good. A little tangy. The Emu was ok, but nothing special, and for Australians, they didn't do a very good job with the lamb. Phil's lamb the other night was much superior.