Wot, no steam?!?

Early start for our trip to Kuranda, the morning was damp and overcast. In fact, rather similar to our driver. We were treated to his views on British politics and a detailed description of his motorbike which we were keeping him from riding!

The Kuranda Scenic Railway station was like a step back in time, lined with carriages and reminiscent of Victorian stations back home. The train trundled in on time and…… no pleasant aroma of steam!! At the helm was a diesel electric locomotive that wouldnt win any environmental awards. John was disappointed to say the least,
having been subjected to visiting many Welsh narrow gauge railways as a child , this wasn’t what was expected.

It remained wet and cloudy journey through the rain forest up to Kuranda, with just the occasional break in the cloud to see some of the stunning views across the Barron River. The railway was built to assist towns which were struggling with the gold rush but is now just a tourist attraction. By the time we reached Kuranda, the sun had worked it’s way through the clouds, yippee. Kim and Matt don’t get up early to spend a day in the rain.

We spent an interesting couple of hours, wandering around the markets in Kuranda trying the local Mango wine and liquorice flavoured ice cream which tasted as bad as it looked, before catching the sky rail cable car back. We had been advised by one local to make sure that we came back down using the Sky Rail partly because of the views, but also because over an hour of screeching brakes on the train tends to produce headaches of gigantic proportions. We were so glad the weather had cleared as we were treated to some fantastic views across the rainforest and the ocean beyond

We returned to our tree house to be greeted by our first serious incident of the holiday….. No Teabags!! Yes, we had survived flying on Friday the 13th, but no teabags is very serious. Luckily we have an international athlete with us who, seeing the look of panic on Kim’s face, sprinted to the shop. Choosing which type of teabag proved too much for him and he returned with salt and vinegar crisps instead. He is now an International Athlete with a limp……

Electric ants – how scared should we be??

the Chill Cafe bekoned us for breakfast with excellent poached eggs and Neil Young playing on the stereo in the background, it had the makings of a good day. I think we all know that it was John who noticed the music, Matt and Kim were too focussed on the menu.

We made our way into Cairns for the David Todd Memorial run, which is a practice run for the state cross country championships. Matthew won the race comfortably and we are very proud parents of an international athlete! Although we are in Oz, it’s a small world as we met a former commonwealth and Olympic runner who is a friend of the Dee family that Matt runs with at home. When we returned to the tree house that is our accomodation Matt had been left a nice letter of congratulations to go with his medal.

People at Palm Grove are taking the Aussie lifeystyle seriously, they barbecue their food on the beach and in the grounds of the apartments in the evenings and walk everywhere barefoot. We on the other hand are not so well prepared and, without a car, a little limited. This evening we sat on the balcony of our tree house with take-away noodles envious of the barbecue aroma wafting upwards from below.

On the bus into Cairns, earlier, we noticed the large signs ‘Beware the Electric Ants’. In common with UK wildlife concerns, a new non native is creating havoc in Queensland destroying vaarious wildlife in the area and it’s……..an ant!!! There are signs along the highway forbidding us from spreading them. We’ve now done our research and are reassured that we’re not contributing to the local destruction of flora and fauna.

Matt has adapted well to the lifestyle, we’re not sure how he’ll ever manage without a pool and hot tub. In fact, our next poll could be ‘pond’ or ‘hot tub’…….

£10 Pom and rainforest

We said a reluctant goodbye to Sydney this morning, took the most effortless flight of the trip to Cairns where we were met by our first £10 Pom, Roger. He came over to Oz with his family and furniture in 1970 they were provided with hostel accommodation for two years and has never looked back. On leaving the airport, we were hit by the change in climate, hot and humid. Luckily not as bad as HK or we may never have left the airport!

Palm Cove is very tropical and we’re staying in a small resort amongst the palms with the beach just across the road. It’s like an upmarket Center Parcs and we’re staying in a glorified tree house. It’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. As you can see from the photo, both the boys are full of life.

Luckily the Stinger season is over so we can bathe in the sea without wetsuits, but we have been warned to look out for salt water crocs. Apparently they can turn up at any time but there’s no need to worry!!