Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Palm Cove and Kuranda

Over dinner at the Sheraton Mirage, we were offered the treat of coming over the next morning for the full buffet breakfast and a swim. Hard to say no to! This is how we spent our morning on Tuesday, before leaving Port Douglas. Sun blazing, and swimming in the lagoon of this resort. Not bad! Ha!

We eventually called an end to our bonus resort experience, and started our drive down south for our next accommodation destination. After talking through our plans, we decided to pop into the outskirts of Cairns this afternoon, to see the Royal Flying Doctors Service headquarters. Here we walked through the museum like history room, before going out the back to board one of their old planes for a peek inside.

Taking me back to my beloved memories of one of my favourite TV shows, the Visitors Centre then had one of the nurses talk about the service, and then show a video about the work they do. Amazing service, and we were amazed at the coverage and numbers of people who use this service in the remote areas of our country.

Driving into Palm Cove, we actually trawled the tiny town to see if we could book ourselves in for a spa treatment for the afternoon. Not having any luck, we found out hotel and checked into the Rockford Esplanade - only to find that they had a service that could come to our room. So we both had a massage, much needed!

Walking along the main beach road of resorts, we had dinner at El Greco, with a full array of Greek goodies...sitting alongside Kevin Sheedy! There is no escaping footy, is there! An early night, ready for our early start the next day.

This morning we were picked up from our hotel by the Down Under Tours bus, and driven to the Freshwater train station. Here we ate breakfast, and walked through the museum to read about the history of the railway and it's feat of engineering, being built by hand, before boarding the train.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway winds its way through the mountains and rainforest, past Barron Falls, up to the town of Kuranda. Being told about the area, the history, and all the sites to see out the window of the train by the Michael Catton voiceover, we reached Kuranda. Here we wandered through the markets, before having a light lunch of scones and jam and cream at the pub.

From here, we walked to the SkyRail, and boarded a gondola for the ride down the mountains. The little pods allowed you to jump off at two different spots to take in the ranges and rainforest around us, including the other side of Barron Falls.

Next to the end of the SkyRail, we entered the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. We watched live actors and holograms enact the history of the Tjapukai people in the Creation theatre, after viewing art depicting these stories also. We then walked out to the grounds of the Park to watch a dance demonstration, with music, fire making...and even the chance to see American school kids called up to attempt to join in with the show.

From here we got to establish that Melissa could throw a boomerang and a spear...and that I throw like a girl! A lesson on bush medicines and an explanation of the challenges of Didgeridoo playing was next, before we were back to the main complex and the History Theatre, to hear the impact of white man's arrival to the area and to the Tjapukai people. They also told of the impact of having the above mentioned train track built through their sacred mountain ranges.

After such a full day, and again returning to our hotel as the weather started to cool, we talked ourselves into going for a dip in the hotel spa. We then moved to the hotel bar for Mojito and Pina Colada to mark the fact that I don't have DVT this year, one year on. Touch wood!! A massive curry for dinner, with wine, and we were exhausted and pissy enough to call it a night!

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