Cairns Australia’s Tropical Paradise
Spending your vacation on a Liveaboard is wonderful way to explore the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns is, however, a destination that offers a vast range of activities that extends to the land as well as the sea.
The city and the surrounding areas offers much to the adventure seeker as well as to those that want a cultural experience or to just relax and enjoy themselves.
Cairns is the only place in the world that two UNESCO World Heritage sites border each other. The Great Barrier Reef is by far the most known Natural Heritage site.
The second site is the Wet Tropics of Queensland.
Wet tropics is an area of undisturbed forest, mostly rain forest, that stretches more than 450 kilometres.
Biodiversity in the forest is perhaps the greatest in the world, with the majority of those species found only in Australia found here.
Many of the species here are considered living fossils, having their evolution traceable for millions of years. It is the oldest surviving rainforest in the world.
Many scientists believe that this forest would have been representative of the Gondwanan forest which covered Australia and Antarctica when they were one body of land (Gondwanaland).
While the scientific aspects are important the pure beauty of the forest and its life is what got it to the list of sites.
Places Within The Wet Tropics Of Queensland
Having a distance of 450 kilometres and an area of 8,940 km² there are many looks to the Wet Tropics.
One of the most interesting day trips is a visit to Kuranda. Kuranda is a small village of about 3,000 people about a hours drive from Cairns.
In the early 1880’s, Europeans started to arrive in the area for gold mining and timber.
In 1888, the area was surveyed for a rail road connecting it to Cairns.
The nearby Barron Falls and the lush rainforest started to attract local tourist in the early 1900s and it became know as honeymoon destination.
The world-wide hippy movement in the 1960’s saw that aspect of life settling in to Kuranda with artist and musicians about a decade later.
Bartering of goods and small stalls for selling handicrafts became part of the village life. That laid back lifestyle still exist.
You can drive to Kuranda or take public transportation.
However, there are two other ways that will get you there that will heighten your experience and give you a deeper awe of the rainforest.
The Cairns-Kuranda Railway is a marvel of engineering accomplishments, with 37 bridges and 15 hand dug tunnels. It is even more of an accomplishment when you consider that it was completed in 1891.
The scenic railway gives you view of the rainforest and Barron Gorge as it slowly winds it way up the mountains. The other way is much more modern, the 7.5 kilometre long Skyway Rainforest cable way.
The Skyway starts at Smithfield about 15 minutes from Cairns. The cable car starts it climb up the mountain with you just a few meters above the canopy of the rain forest.
When you reach the top of Red Peak, the cable car journeys below the canopy and comes to Red Peak station.
You can get off here and explore the rainforest at ground level with park rangers on hand for tours and a boardwalk to show you the way. Returning to the cable car and continuing your trip the next highlight is Barron Gorge and Falls.
There are three lookout points to give you clear views of the falls and the gorge. The final stop on your hour and a half trip is the village of Kuranda itself. Many guest take the rail road in one direction and the Skyrail the other.
The Tablelands with its caves, lakes, waterfalls and mild temperatures is another destination that many people head to. Located about an hour and a half from Cairns, it is a full fledged destination in its own right.
White water rafting is a popular activity in this area.
There are also activities such as horseback riding and skydiving, in and around Cairns.
The city itself know for it night-life that has activities for singles, couples and families.