Today was my trip up to Kuranda Village which isn't far from Cairns but involves going on the Skyrail (basically like a ski resort gondola) up the mountainside. I think it's the world's longest at 7km but there are two stations where you can get off (Red Peak and Barron Falls) and have a look around the rainforest before arriving at Kuranda Village itself. There were wonderful Ulysses Blue butterflies at one of the stops and huge Kauri trees. We also spotted a Bush Turkey making a nest in the bush litter.
Once at Kuranda Village I went to the Butterfly Sanctuary where there was an excellent 30min guided talk and we saw how they feed the butterflies (tupperware with holes and cut-off yellow golf tees!) as well as lots of information about the butterflies themselves. Some of them are stunning, especially the electric blue Ulysses ones. However, they're a photographer's nightmare because they never land anywhere long enough to take a photo. This is because they don't have any of the warning colours of red, yellow or orange to ward off birds. If they do stop, they close their wings and just look boring brown. We were also lucky to see the world's largest moth (Hercules moth) which had just emerged from it's chrysalis that morning.
The rest of the time there was spent wandering around the markets and shops and sheltering from a very brief rain shower. It's supposed to be the rainy season here in Queensland but it hasn't started yet. By this time last year there had been about 150mm of rainfall whereas at present there's only been 3mm. I'm hoping it stays this way until I leave on Tuesday!
The way back down to Cairns was by the Kuranda Scenic Railway. There is a very picturesque old railway station and the train itself has old-fashioned wooden carriages. You get a commentary as you travel down and it stops at various points for views of the Barron Falls and Stoney Creek falls.
Another good day was topped off by meeting Jayne from the Barrier Reef trip for dinner down on the Esplanade.