Friday, July 22, 2011

High in the sky

We had an early start today so I couldn't stay in bed until after 9 am. Roger and Jake caught the shuttle at 8.15 am and we followed by car soon after. We were booked on the 9.30 am sky gondola to Karunda. This gondola is currently the longest gondola in the world and in two stages goes for 7.8 kms. There are three stops on the way to Karunda and the first stop is at Red Peak.

Here there is a boardwalk through the rainforest and a ranger took groups along the walk explaining various highlights. Zoe took a tumble on the boardwalk because she kept running off and badly scraped her knee. Everyone heard her and a kind lady came to the rescue with a plaster. There were some kangaroos in the clearing at the beginning of the rainforest and we were surprised that the children had noticed them.

Barron Falls
The ranger told the group about the cassowary and how important it is to the rainforest. He said it was most unlikely that anyone would see a cassowary in the wild as they were nearly extinct. It certainly made us aware how lucky we were to see the cassowary at Babinda.

Back on the gondola we travelled the next nearly 5 kms to Karunda stopping off at the next stop which was Barron Falls. The falls are quite amazing. We later saw the falls again from the opposite side. Once we arrived at Karunda we walked into the village which is well set up for tourists. We wandered the shops, stopped at the playground and had lunch at one of the many outdoor restaurants. Peter wandered down to one of the two markets which are popular in the area.

We caught the one hundred plus year old sky train back to Cairns. This takes about an hour and a half as it travels very slowly and has a stop at Barron Falls on the way. The history of the building of the track and the area is given as the train travels. Once we got back to Freshwater Station we got off the train to meet the bus to take us back to where the car was parked at the gondola. Again Roger and Tim took the shuttle direct back to the caravan park.

It was a full day, on top of a late night on Thursday night, so after dinner the children were off to bed and we spent a pleasant evening playing "Five Crowns" with Peter being the winner of the evening.

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