We packed up and headed to Cairns - all of 60km away. We checked into a lovely caravan park in a valley flanked by forested mountains and a forested river flowing by. We did some shopping, had sushi for lunch and walked around the marina then had the star on the windscreen fixed.
Our first full day in Cairns we did washing and some shopping. After lunch we walked to the river and had a lovely swim in a pool under the forest canopy.
After missing seeing the platypus while in the Atherton Tablelands we decided to return to see if we could find them. We headed over a mountain pass which rose 750 metres in altitude over a distance of 20 km of very winding roads which had over 200 bends, all through rainforest! Once up in the tablelands our first stop was a wooden lookout on a river in the town of Yungaburra and almost immediately two platypus came into view and kept us entertained for about an hour. We were told by a tour guide that we were extremely lucky to see them as they are only seen about once a month! Well as if we had not seen enough we headed to Tarzali Lakes to a place where platypus viewing is guaranteed. We were not disapointed as the lake there has about 70 platypus (according to the owner). We photographed these little animals for ages before having fish (baramundi) and chips for lunch. Before heading back to Cairns we did some more photography which is really difficult because the platypus are such busy little animals and only spend a short time on the surface of the lake.
The next day we headed for Kuranda on the restored scenic Kuranda railway. This is a great 1 hour 30 minute ride up the forested mountains to Kuranda which is a real tourist town in the rainforest. We visited the Australian Venom Zoo where we saw the world's most venomous snake, the Inland Taipan, and many other venomous snakes, spiders and scorpions (which glow under UV light). We then visited the butterfly sanctuary and tried to photograph the Ulysses Butterfly. If we thought photographing platypus was difficult then photographing this butterfly was almost impossible. The brilliant blue of the open wings is breathtaking in flight but as soon as it comes to rest it closes its wings to show the brown under-side - we did get some passable shots though. We headed home on the Skyrail which is a cablecar ride over the rainforest canopy - quite spectacilar with bridsong wafting up to us in the cablecar. That evening we had a BBQ with Vlasta's friend Renee, Sacha, Tenille and Jaz.
The next day we relaxed, did a little shopping and visited the Crystal Cascades just down the road from our caravan park.
After the rest day we stopped to photograph the Canonball Tree near our caravan park before heading back to Kuranda again to enjoy the bird park where you not only view the birds but you actually meet them. As we entered Keith was greeted by an Indian Ringneck parrot which proceeded to try and destroy anything available, be it the button on the top of his cap or the zipper draw strings on the camera bag. We saw many birds including macaws, white pigeons, a cassawary and water birds.
|Swimming in the river near the caravan park|
|A wild Platypus at Yungaburra|
|Kuranda Scenic Railway|
|Skyrail over the rainforrest|
|Spiny Leaf Insect|
|Vlasta trying to photograph the Ulysses Buterfly|
|Our caravan surrounded by mountains in the rainforrest|
|Kuranda Scenic Railway|
|One of the cascades of the Crystal Cascades|
|This what the Ulysses Butterfly really looks like|