First discovered by Captain Cook in 1770 who named Trinity Bay as it was Trinity Sunday when he anchored here. Gold was discovered in 1876 that led to the large settlement called Cairns. The city is a very modern city with a small town feel. There are many outdoor activities centered around the 2,000 mile long Great Barrier Reef, The Barron Gorge National Park and the usual Crocodile Wildlife Park. Since I had been here in 1994 for a week and been out to the reef and white water rafting and we only had one day to visit we chose the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail trip up into the World Heritage tropical rainforest.
The first part of the trip was by train. The route was needed to link the gold fields in the mountains to the sea. Construction began in 1887 on the 37km track. 1500 men built it with about 30 deaths. There are 15 hand carved tunnels, 55 bridges (some steel, some timber) and 98 curves. The ascent is 327 metres above sea level.
The coaches we traveled in are from the early 1900’s. Kuranda station at the top was completed in 1915.
The town of Kuranda is quite small and touristy now as the railway is a major attraction in the area. We had lovely scones and tea while we tried to get online before heading to the cable car for the ride back down over and through the Barron’s Gorge. There were 2 stops on the way down to look at waterfalls, trees and birds.
We left Cairns and cruised north through the Great Barrier reef. We could see sand bars and reefs off to the side. There is concern about the bleaching of the coral which is quite a high percentage in some areas possibly due to global warming amongst other things. We have a reef pilot onboard to help guide us through the reef. He gave a couple of talks as well. We are on the Northern Coast now at 10S and 134E so not too far from the equator. We arrive in Darwin tomorrow and it’s going to be 93F. The humidity is 88%!