In the Tropics of Northern Queensland

On August 8th. This year, my wife Carol and I took a flight to Cairns where we spent a week with our old friends Linda and Alan Archer from Wellington .New Zealand. They were just completing a world trip, flying in from Singapore to Brisbane, then catching a flight to Cairns, arriving one hour after us. We had not seen each other for five years and all had a great time together.

Together again

Carol , Alan, Linda & the old guy

 Together again after five years on the Cairns harbour cruise spotting crocs !

Changing tack a moment, I should first like to mention that I for one found it a bit odd when we arrived in the Southern Hemisphere in 1973 to watch the sun rise in the East and travel north! In New Zealand it was considered a good thing if you purchased a home with a northerly aspect, as you would have the sun most of the day. (I know there was at least one home in Auckland, which stood on a turntable and could be, moved to face the sun for most of the day!) So, by travelling north over here, you are moving further towards the Equator and consequently it becomes warmer.  I should now like to relate to you three separate trips we made during our week’s holiday.

Barbecue, Holloways beach

Barbecue Holloways Beach

Carol showing one of several (free) brand new barbecues at Holloway's Beach where we stayed , 10 klms. north of Cairns. These locations have a covered area plus table and note, fresh water to the right . Just throw your sausages on the hotplate , press the button below at front and your in business ! WE have hundreds of these here on the Gold Coast ,and they are cleaned every morning by council workers.

The Silver Cascades

Carol & Coconut Palms

Carol and Coconut Palms at Holloway Beach

We really enjoyed this area which is only 10 minutes drive inland from Cairns. Leaving the car, we very soon entered an area, where we really felt we were in the tropics .The pathway meandered upwards with tropical rainforest on one’s left, and the river with its many cascades to the right. The first thing we encountered was a 3-ft Lace Monitor lizard, which ignored us completely! Further up we came across waterfalls with rock pools full of fish, The crowning feature, however turned out to be the many different Butterflies, with their myriad colorings and to complete the afternoon the wonderful Ulysses Butterflies, many of which we saw flashing their iridescent colourings above our heads. This was our first day out, and a good introduction the Tropical North.

Ulysses Butterfly

The Ulysses Butterfly is used as an emblem for North Qld. The photo is life size, isn´t beautiful , and is wonderful in its natural setting

The Cairns to Kuranda Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Taken by me as we were stopping for 15 minutes to admire the view

This is one of the most unusual railway journeys in the world, with the track, taking nine years to complete, from 1882-1891 from Cairns up to the Atherton Tablelands.At one stage 1,500 men, mainly Irish and Italian were involved in the project. Built to give relief to tin miners who were on the verge of famine, unable to receive supplies during the prolonged wet seasons up here in the tropics. Today one can travel on this railway, slowly climbing through the tropical rain forest over hair-raising viaducts, stopping at the Barron River, and Stoney Creek falls with spectacular views of the Coral Sea. On arrival, Kuranda station is festooned with masses of tropical flowers and plants, especially on the platforms, a botanist’s dream! After spending some time browsing in the markets, followed by a delightful lunch in one of many restaurants, we embarked on the return journey. This time travelling on the Sky Rail.

SkyRail  cableway

Sky Rail

On the Skyrail cable car looking back towards Kuranda, as we head towards the heighest point on the skyrail. It took us 1.5 hours to get back

Taking approximately one and half-hours, this is a spectacular ride above the canopy of the rain forests with time to step off and explore Red Peak, and Barron Falls allowing 30 minutes for each stop. Completed in 1995 (4.7 miles) The tallest tower being 133 feet, with 114 Gondola Cabins. All contributing to a great day out.


Port Douglas

Travelling by road from Cairns takes 45 minutes. The road hugs the coast at times with great views of the Coral Sea out towards the Great Barrier Reef. This is a very busy and bustling place with plenty of charter boats available to take one out to the reef and its islands .

Castaway & Coconut Palm

Star Fruit

Linda Archer and myself on the beach at Port Douglas . The fruit we are holding are tropical Star fruit .We ate them after this photo was taken. Difficult to describe the taste . Sort of crispy Lemon , Lime flavour , one we are holding side on , the other I am showing head on. As you can see Ron this is not like the beaches in the U.K. But then here they have the Box Jelly fish , Sharks , and salt water crocs ! So I guess its swings and roundabouts.

We spent some time here enjoying the colourful outdoor markets and shops. September is possibly the best time to be here as it’s the tail end of winter and temperatures are steady at around 27 degrees Centigrade with very little chance of rain. Ex. President Clinton was up here only last week .for a spot of R and R. Pity he wasn’t here on 12 Th. September, he would have been in good company! After spending time here, we decided to continue our day by motoring up into the Atherton Tablelands, with its tropical fruit farms, beautiful scenery and its hundreds of large termite hills dotted over the landscape. We eventually finished up in Kuranda, then driving down to the coast with the Sky Rail cable cars, crossing the road above our heads!

After a memorable week with our old pals we returned to the Gold Coast, whilst Alan and Linda flew on to Sydney, then home to New Zealand.

Arthur. E. Bensley




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