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Thursday 3 Dec 2009
Kuranda Port Douglas Paronella Park, Australia

December 3rd & 4th Combo

Dec 3rd - We drove to Kuranda and took the Skyrail Cableway  7.2 km down the mountain through the heart of the Wet Tropics World Heritage listed Rainforests in the Baron Gorge National Park.  Gliding just meters above the canopy of the forest, we enjoyed spectacular views of the rainforest, Cairns and the Coral Sea.  There were 2 stops along cable route - one was at Red Peak Station where rangers provided guided tours about the trees and plants. The 2nd station was Barron Falls where we were able to view the falls from a lookout platform.  While the wet season has not yet set in so the falls were small in comparison, they were still a beautiful site. 

On the way down we spotted floating ramps and buoys in a swimming area just to the right of the base station of the descent so we took a quick jaunt to see what it was all about.  Low and behold it is a Cable Skiing place.  No boats pulling skiers (wake boards not water skis) but a cable system that goes around the pond.  Pretty phenomenal really....  You hold onto a tow rope that is attached to a cabled suspended 30 feet off the water and are tugged up as if you were behind a boat and you are pulled around until you fall or let go.  There were several men who obviously have gone around the pond 100's of times because they were doing double flips in the air and jumps off the floating ramps they had around the course and were quite entertaining.  There were others that were obviously just learning (fell every time right at the beginning).  This brought memories of my last waterskiing experience at Lake Perris.... I believe I had all of my acrylic nails ripped off before I finally got up... not necessarily a good memory  now that I think about it!  Anyway, we went back to the Skyrail base station and rode back up to the top, stopping at both stations mentioned above. 

After completing our round trip we then wandered through open air markets for a few minutes before they all closed around 3pm.

We then headed to Port Douglas which is about an hour north of Cairns.  We stopped at an Opal shop that had a video about Opal mining.  We now know why they're so expensive !   I found a ring that was 50% off so I've now got a souvenir of our time in Australia.

We continued on to Port Douglas and were both hungry by the time we arrived so we found a Cucina that had tacos and Chile Rellenos so we grabbed bite.  While I wouldn't  make the hour drive to go again, but it was far more than either of us expected when we entered the place.  They did have a good salsa and the taco was chock full of shredded beef and was in a gluten free taco shell.  Now the Rellenos... were really jalapeno poppers so we're both paying for the error of our ways today !  Tony had taquitos which were pretty good.  By the time we headed back to Cairns it was dark so the drive back was a bit tense since we'd been warned about Roos, Emus and Wallabies darting across the roads at night without warning.  Luckily no incidents...

Dec 4th - we got a late start today but headed to Paronella Park, south of Cairns.  Along the way we stopped at Josephine Falls and cooled our feet for awhile while we watched kids on their skateboards roll down one of the huge rock faces into the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls.  We also saw the most beautiful butterfly (I couldn't get the camera out quick enough to take a picture).  It was an Electric Blue Ulysses Butterfly.  And when I say electric... I mean it was neon iridescent Electric Blue - WOW !

We then moved on and, after getting stuck in road construction delays we finally arrived at Paronella Park about 4pm.  Paronella Park was created in the 1930s as a Spanish-style pleasure garden with castles, cafes and mysterious rainforest pathways by Jose Paronella.  I don't have enough space on the blog site to tell you about this gem that Tony found in one of the local ‘What To Do' papers but just let me say, Jose Paronella had a dream and it came true (with a lot of ingenious investments and a lot of hard work !). I could not do it justice so am including the link to their website.  Do take the time to visit the site and read his story - it is amazing !


By the way, be sure to order your X-mas chicken dinner from the local CalTex gas station. They might run out, you know. Apparently, the heat and humidity of the summer makes the local folk grab rotisserie dinners from the kitchen of a gas station.

1 Comment for this Travel blog entry

joanne Says:

5 December 2009

Thanks for the Karanda memory; the fish mobile as you walk in our living room is from there. I am so sorry we missed Paronella Park. Keep our tour going!

Tony and Ellie's Adventure

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    Kuranda ...


    View of Falls @ Paronella
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    Kuranda ...


    Suspension bridge above falls at Paronella
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    View from road coming back from Flying Fish Point
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    Kuranda ...


    Shot from Flying Fish Point

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