Sometimes you Got To Go

Dave and Wendy Ready to Go

Wendy and Dave … All Aboard!

While I don’t call us cruising tourists, sometimes one just needs to do tourist things. With this Covid mess we’ve been getting itchy feet. Time to move, time to do something. W/

mentioned heading up to Cairns and some Tennis friends (Gary and Paula) were interested in the trip too. Thus, the planning commenced.

There was a train traveling there that sounded interesting, it had sleeping compartments, food and the promise of a nice ride. Train there, plane back. Sounds good. Gary found nice accommodations with some bonus money for

Spirit of Queenslander

Our Ride

tours. That as well as an included Aquarium tour and dinner. Breakfast (called Brekky here in Aus) was included. Sweet! With the accommodation booked and our transport there we found a flight back. All that was left were the day trips.

Considering that Covid cut down the international tourists we didn’t think there would be any issues. And …we were wrong. What I wanted to do most was the White Water rafting. W/ wanted the waterfalls and the Daintree forest. We began booking what the 4 of us wanted together and the first issue rose up. Our voucher didn’t work. Paula’s did, ours not. A couple of phone calls, a bit of a run around; call (A), (A) said to call (B). W/ calls (B) and (B) tells us to call (A). Finally working up the phone tree W/ connected with someone that fixed the issue and we made our booking. The four of us would be going on the waterfalls tour Friday. Next; book the White Water rafting, the Daintree forest with Cape Tribulation, and the Aquarium. All booked now with a day off in the middle for some R n R.
We drove to the train station and Stella and John on Exocet Strike retrieved our car from the train parking lot. W/  wanted it locked at the marina. 🙂 Upon our return; Dan from Vagabond, would take the car and pick us up at the airport. Our cruising community comes through.
The train is a pleasant mode of transport. Cairns is a long, long way from Redcliffe. About the same distance as from Chicago to Miami. 25 hours on the tracks. We were in first class with food and a personal AV station as well as a “sleeping pod”. It was not what I expected. Our seats changed at night to a pull out sleeper which was mildly comfortable but all too public for me. The movies on the AV system were excellent and neither W/ nor I had seen any before. We settled in and next stop for us; Cairns.
While trains are slower than planes, catching the scenery is not the easiest. Stops were at train stations and checking out the loading platform is not a “point of interest”. Great views and vistas still flew by. If the camera; aka phone, was not at the ready you missed it. Yet, that said, train travel is much better than driving!

We arrived in Cairns, secured a taxi and checked in to our hotel. A lovely view from

Cairns Esplanade

Our View from the Hotel

the 6th floor overlooking the esplanade and the Ocean. Brekky (Breakfast) was a full smorgasbord and the predicted rain was abating. Tomorrow would be another train ride to Kuranda and return with the Skyrail. All through another World Heritage Site. The oldest continuous Rain Forest on Earth.

After breakfast our tour company picked us up at the hotel and dropped us at the train station. A different station this time. Different because I understand inAustralia there are several different track dimensions. The Kuranda train traveled through 15 tunnels and over 37 bridges. The rail bed is 125+ years old.  We slowed for waterfalls and traveled through the rain forest into the mountains.

Another World Heritage Site: Wet Tropics. We stroll through the; now tourist town of Kuranda. Stopped for some ice cream, of course. Visited a few tourist shops and SkyRail Kurandathen we boarded the 7.5 km long SkyRail back down the mountain stopping twice. One was for a opposite side view of the Barron River Falls and the other offered a short hike through the rain forest.

The Barron River falls were a let down. While we are in the rainy Barron Falls... Tricklyseason I expected / hoped they would be raging. Unfortunately for the waterfalls officionado Queensland has diverted the majority of the water to a Power Plant. The “trickle” was nice; but, not impressive. (To see the difference and not steal another’s photos check out what the Barron falls can be like! ) The next stop downward we were lucky and hit upon a forest walk with a ranger. There we discovered more ways that life in Australia is happy to make a tourist’s visit an experience to forget. The Gympie-Gympie plant. This innocuous looking plant with heart shaped fuzzy leaves has micro poisoned stingers. Often described as microscopic hypodermic needles covering their entire surface. A light brushing against one with bare skin will implant heaps of glass like needle shards in your skin. Neutralizing the poison requires an acid wash. After which an application of a wax covering the skin. Once cooled; they tear off the wax removing as many of the shards as possible and a thin layer of your outer skin. Finally one must wait 4-6 weeks for the rest of your skin and the hypodermics to slough off. You are now free of any further agony. OUCH!

On the last Skyrail leg we noticed a water ski lake with no boats and several skiers. Cables attach to an overhead track and drag skiers / wake boarders around this lake. Jumps are placed at various locations and should a skier fall they grasp the next cable. I had to ask about this park. So I did. The park is about safety as well as fun. In Northern Queensland there are Crocodiles. These Crocs are the apex predator, meaning they are more than

Cairns View from SkyRail

Cairns View from SkyRail

willing to eat… people. A skier struggling in the water appears to a Croc as lunch. The park is a safe and fun place to water ski / wake board with no Crocodiles.

Tomorrow is my day… white water rafting Yippee!
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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