Monday, Nov 21: Today we arrived in Cairns, working our way up the east coast of Queensland. Cairns is a major tourist destination because of its proximity to two World Heritage sites – the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park.
We have both visited Cairns at different times in the past, and travelled on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. I had fond memories of travelling in a steam train up the mountain past gushing waterfalls on a railway which dates to 1891.
This time we discovered that the steam engine had long gone, now replaced by a diesel. All the windows were small and barred which made taking photos difficult, especially as we were sitting in the middle. However, it was still a nice trip through the rainforest, crossing 40 bridges and travelling through 15 tunnels. Unfortunately the dry weather meant that the waterfalls were not as spectacular as we remembered them.
When we arrived at Kuranda, we had time to explore the local market and shops where we hoped to find some local crafts; unfortunately all we found were cheap imports for the most part. So, our souvenir consisted of a couple of postcards showing the scenery that we saw on the way but could not photograph very well. All in all, a bit of disappointing.