We first visited Far North Queensland way back in April of 2008. As I wrote back then:
I bought a second-hand copy of The Lost World for $6; I was just finishing Jurassic Park and I felt like I was on a roll, so that was the obvious next step. We [went on] the Skyrail, making our way out to Kuranda and having a look around there before heading back on the train. The following day we returned to Kuranda and then caught a mini-bus to Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve. The zoo was a lot more enjoyable than Taronga. It’s much more interactive, and the morning tour allows you to see all the animals as they are fed… The zoo is expanding, and we didn’t get to go snorkelling, so there is no doubt that a return trip to Cairns is on the cards.
The trip was one of our first together, and was wedged between my Thursday evening class and my Tuesday evening class of the following week. For those two reasons we didn’t cover a huge amount of ground. We flew there and back on two different airlines for reasons I can only assume to be price-related.
We stayed at a resort near Holloways Beach, which is a 15 minute drive from the centre of Cairns. It wasn’t the nicest of beaches, but it was the closest one to the city centre, which doesn’t have a beach itself although Cairns Esplanade does have a popular lagoon. The problem with not staying in the centre was that we had to rely on a very infrequent bus service to get anywhere. We couldnt fit as much as we wanted into our days.
Kuranda is quite nice. There are lots of little markets around, as well as a butterfly sanctuary. The Skyrail and train are a very picturesque way to get to the town from Cairns, especially on a nice day. The train makes a stop where you can disembark and take photos of nearby Barron Falls from a viewing platform.
I don’t know where my copy of The Lost World is, and unfortunately the zoo we visited has since closed down, but I do have wonderful memories of it, particularly one of the bears eating a pineapple with the back of its paw. After the morning tour a friend who worked at the zoo took us behind the scenes and we fed a peanut to a bear. I was amazed when it sucked it up like a vaccum cleaner, only to spit out the shell moments later!
I really enjoyed my first time in Cairns, but as seen above, even back then I had an inkling that I would return. Eight years and three months later, we did.