Friday, January 16, 2009

Cairns Day 1

After a late flight from Guam, we arrived in Cairns at 12:35am and met our ride to the Holiday Inn. The accomodations are great. We are on the top floor and have a magnificent view of the harbor and ocean.

We slept in (until 0730 - we are usually up at 0600) and had breakfast at the hotel. We then checked with in with the tour desk in the lobby to see what we could do for our first day. Turns out we still had time to book a full day tour of Kuranda, a village in the rainforest just outside of Cairns. The tour would start with a cable car ride up the mountain to Kuranda, then several hours to see the sights, and end with a train ride back down. It promised to be a spectacular day, and it didn't disappoint.

Our guide picked us up at the hotel and delivered us to the Skyrail for the first leg of our trip. The view from the cable car was incredible, even though it was a little overcast. We passed near a waterfall that was nearly 1,000 feet high, then stopped at an intermediate station for a better view of the falls.

We made one other stop on our way to Kuranda where we took a guided tour through the rainforest.

We finally reached the town of Kuranda and had a wonderful lunch before continuing our sightseeing.

Our first stop was a Koala Farm where we all had a picture taken with a Koala. After the pics, we walked through along a garden path and had the chance to feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies.

Next was the bird sanctuary, where we saw a number of beatiful cockatoos and parrots. There were also two cassowaries, very rare flightless birds that are close to extinction. There are only about 1,200 of these birds left.

We then visited a butterfly sanctuary, and finally a small zoo named the Venom Museum. Drew just had to see the "most venomous spider in the Australia," the Sydney Funnel Web spider.

It was finally time to catch the train for a 1.5 hour ride back to civilization. We stopped again along the way down for an even better view of waterfalls.

At last we found our way back to Cairns, had a bath, then went out for dinner at the night market. We finished the day with a quick swim, then retired for the night.