I was up nice early again this morning at around 4am as I wanted to get a time lapse recoding of the sunrise over the Marina and the mountain range. So with the tripod set up and the camera switched on, I wandered back into bed trying to get back to sleep what felt like the next 2 hours. The end result was pretty spectacular, especially when the clouds drift down the mountain as the sun peaks!!
So when we were walking around town yesterday, we saw a Paleo Café that Julie thought would be good for breakfast. Now I think that all these fad diets are just ridiculous and was expecting a pretty shitty breakfast, but it was actually pretty good.
So what is the Paleo Diet you ask? Well apparently, you’re not allowed to eat grains, dairy, processed food, starches and the like, but meat if OK!! So for breakfast, I had the pulled pork with poached eggs on ‘bread’, and Julie had chili poached eggs with the nitrate free smoked bacon.
Am I a fan of the Paleo Diet? Absolutely, any diet where I can have pulled pork and poached eggs for breakfast, I’m there. Will I adhere to the diet? Absolutely not.
On a side note, Julie asked how they make their bread without grain and starch, and old mate behind the counter (yet another who required an attitude adjustment), tried to sell Julie a Paleo cookbook which showed they use 15 eggs to make one small loaf of bread!! So if that was the case, Julie and I estimated that I had nearly 9 eggs for breakfast, so it now looks like I’ve got a heart attack coming my way soon.
The View Over The Marina From The Shangri-La
Back in the room we were just lying round relaxing which is something we don’t normally get to do considering we have little kids, when we get a call at 9:45am telling us that our transfer to the SkyRail was here. As expected, I had it in my diary & had been telling Julie that we were being picked up at 10:15am, so neither of us had our gear packed and old mate wasn’t too impressed when we apologised for having the times wrong and would be down in 5.
At the SkyRail we were in one of the Diamond View gondolas, which have a glass bottom floor. Now these ones are pretty awesome, and even though Julie and I aren’t the best with heights, it wasn’t even a consideration. The glass bottom is covered with a clear membrane which is replaced every 10 days, so the view down below was crystal clear. We shot some amazing video and images, and for an extra $10 to upgrade to the Diamond View, it’s absolutely worth it!
Even though we’d been on the SkyRail and Kuranda Scenic Railway (KSR) when we were in Cairns last time, and we still got off at both the Red Peak Station and Baron Falls. The boardwalk is only a couple of hundred metres long through the rainforest which just looks untouched!!
So back at the station we hop on the gondola for the best part of the journey. Once again the view was amazing, and we all commented how on earth they got all the poles and materials to these remote looking places without a hint of damage or vegetation removal in an area that is World Heritage Listed.
Baron Falls from the Gondola with the Karunda Scenic Railway on the Ridge
It is on this section of the trip that the Diamond View was absolutely worth it!! The view down below was amazing; at times it looked like we were at least 100m off the rainforest floor and then others where we were just scraping over the tops of the canopy at the highest peaks.
The Rainforest Floor From the Diamond View Gondola
We got off at Baron Falls, and even though there wasn’t much water flowing, it was a hell of a lot more than last time, so that was pretty cool. We took a whole heap of photos and video as usual and walked around the 3 different lookouts. We had a good laugh at how crazy the workers must have been riding across the gorge in the flying fox, and up & down the near sheer gorge embankment in the personnel trolley which looks like the car from the Flintstones. Would have been an incredible ride but you’d have to be as mad as a cut snake to get on in the first place!!
The Flying Fox Used To Carry People Across The Baron Falls
The Personal (Flintstone Looking) Trolley Used To Carry People Up and Down the Escarpment
After arriving in Kuranda, we make our way into town and pass by all the atrociously bad touristy shops and markets. All the shops just suck and there is not one good thing for sale in any of them. As expected, being in crocodile territory, there were all the crocodile skin products, crocodile heads, and even 2 whole crocodiles about 2 metres in length. I made Julie get photos with one of the crocodile heads and a video of her wrapping herself in a kangaroo skin.
Julie With A Real Crocodile Head Souvenir?!
Then just as we were saying who on earth buys these ridiculous looking Crocodile Dundee style leather akubras, we walk past 3 young Chinese teenagers sporting one… Honesty, what the hell are they thinking?!
As we were walking up towards the Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary, we stopped out the front of the Peter Jarvis Photography shop, Julie stopped outside to get a photo of the sign. Literally 2 seconds after stopping, a crazy woman who was serving someone runs outside shouting “No photos, no photos!!” and shooed us away like we were pigeons… Now I can understand if we were in the shop, or even taking photos of the canvases in the store, then by all means tell us to stop taking photos, but when we’re outside on the footpath, taking a photo of the hanging street sign, there’s no reason to carry on like an imbecile. To say Julie was annoyed was an understatement, and again, Customer Service 101.
If we had the kids with us, Birdworld and Kuranda Koala Gardens would have been great. I was actually pretty stoked we’d stopped in anyway. At the Bird Sanctuary, these amazing looking native and exotic birds fly around in a large enclosure, where you get to feed them and they freely land on you. We held this beautiful blue macaw, which I don’t think I’d even seen before let alone held.
Julie Entering the Snake Enclosure, With The Rather Large and Active Snakes!!
Taking Turns In Holding The Beautiful Blue Macaw
After this, we walked up to the Butterfly House, where Julie was actively trying to shoot the blue Ulysses butterfly. Again, it was pretty good to go there, but would have been great if the kids were with us, especially Anais with all the Butterflies.
Julie With The Butterflies
Having had enough of Kuranda, we wandered back down the street and once again, helped the local economy the best way we know how… Drinks at the Kuranda Hotel.
Supporting The Local Economy The Best Way We Know How!!
With a few pints and champagnes under our belt, it was nearing time to board the KSR. The view from the train is pretty spectacular, and with us being in First Class, we had an attendant offering us a choice of beer, wine or bubbly all the way down the mountain.
The Beautifully Painted Kuranda Scenic Railway Engine
From memory there are 17 tunnels on the way down, all of which were dug by hand. Furthermore, if you wanted a job and were willing to excavate on the side of the mountain, you had to bring your own tools…
Entering One Of The Many Hand Excavated Tunnels On The Kuranda Scenic Railway
The first sign that out trip might not be as relaxing and peaceful began just after we found our seats when some young travel agents boarded with partners in tow, talk loud enough for people in the adjoining carriages to hear. Well, things only got louder, and Julie only got angrier, and the wait staff did nothing to quieten them as they unfortunately knew others that worked on-board. Great…
Kuranda Scenic Railway Heritage Seating
What everyone learnt was that they were Travel Agents from Cairns, and they managed to drive every person insane with their carrying on. What annoyed Julie was the fact that these imbeciles had their fares comped, while everyone else paid a hell of a lot of money to “enjoy” the experience.
Kuranda Scenic Railway Gold Class Seating
Finally, when I could no longer hear the commentary on the load speakers, I “politely” asked them to quieten down. This actually worked for a while but still everyone had to put up with all the crap these 20-somethings had to say.
So KSR, you had a hell of a lot of really unimpressed passengers on-board as a result of these idiots.