Tropical Itch

So, today it was up and at them for a Skyrail gondola up above the trees, a visit to the little town of Kuranda, and a ride on an old train back down. What mischief could we get into today?

Met the bus at 8:45 and they transported us to the gondola which I announced had me anxiety-ridden. This was a big fib but I thought it would be funny. The gondola is quite high and offered spectacular views of the Coral Sea and the surrounding area of Cairns, Port Douglas etc. As soon as we took off, Bernie pipes up with something like, “Well, we are REALLY, REALLY UP HERE.” When he didn’t get a rise out of me, he said, “If we fell the trees might watch us or break the fall and we might survive.” That Bernie, he’s quite the kidder. But since I was thoroughly enjoying the ride and the sights, I added, “You might just want to die. It might be the better alternative.” With that the conversation moved on and we all got a chuckle. Here’s some pictures from the adventure.


Here’s our shadow on the tree tops, as it were. Once we arrived at Kuranda, we had a latte and roamed the tourist shops because the other things to do were a Venom Zoo, a Butterfly exhibit and a few other things like that. Since we are going to a Night Zoo tonight, we just wandered around. I found a fabulous tee shirt and a boomerang!! I love them both. They are made in Australia and they depict Australia’s animals and people. Very cool. The aboriginal art is colorful, lively and tells a story. So my boomerang came with a story.
Ray met another woman. Actually, I was amazed to find Day of the Dead stuff here. Isn’t she beautiful?

Guess who? Good thing he wasn’t born on the Emerald Isle!!

I’ve been thinking about taking up bicycling…probably could score a deal on this one!

We took the train back and went through many tunnels and over many bridges. Here’s some pictures.


We booked the first class cabin on the train and it was lovely…complete with cheese, crackers, wine, beer etc. which we of course partook…no sense being rude!
Barron River is dammed. Not much water falling into the Barron Gorge…yet. Understand during the raining season it looks like Niagara. Not now.


More train pics. Okay, that’s about enough.

We returned to base camp in Cairns about 4ish and got ready for our Night Zoo adventure. It was a blast. But first, they had to pick us up. We were to meet up at 6 p.m. We proceeded to where the bus stop was. At 6:10 we were panicking because the bus had not arrived. Then it occurred to us that perhaps this was not the place we were to be. Actually, all the tours dropped us off at a back gate to the complex. Ray went in to the office and then called to us, “Oh, you who”. Yeah, right. “Dianna”, he yelled ( accompanied by a franic wave). The tour was looking for us at the back gate. So off we ran to the back gate which was quite a few blocks away. Snipping was involved. Bernie ran ahead, he being he youngest in the group. I was glad that he did not have to witness marital bliss. No bus. OMG. Reciminations abounded. Apologies were issued. The guys seemed resigned to an evening of missed opportunity. I stood out in the middle of the street looking for the van and making myself quite conspicuous. Alas…the van turned the corner and all that was left was to board and apologize to the nice Asian couple and their son for our botched rondevous. It turns out the driver was miffed at the resort because they were completely unhelpful in tracking down the LOST.

We finally arrived at the zoo which did not open until 7 so we were actually early. The the cockatoo arrived to great us all. Then the Doki Doki van arrived with half of the far east in it. So many Asias that an interpreter was provided. And there we were at the night zoo.

Admission included dinner, entertainment in the form of one man who strummed his guitar and sang Aussie songs. Drinks were included. Then we had dinner. OH, I almost forgot. We met a charming 26-yr. old from Georgia (US) and we spent the evening with her. She was here for 3 weeks that included 1 week of scuba diving off a boat. Sounded wonderful. She was quite a gifted traveler. Knew all the ropes. Fun was had by all.

Here are some of the sights.

There is Clara the cockatoo!!
Yes, I got to hold a real, live koala. 16 months old, he was quite a charmer. Soft and friendly.
An owl on display.
Koala on the floor…very unusual. They only eat one type of eucalyptus leaf so there is little energy in the leaf they like. Therefore, they sleep about 16-20 hours a day. Nocturnal in nature, it was fun seeing them at night.

We saw the most vemonous snakes on earth. Ugh. Glad they were behind glass. I won’t creep you out with any pictures.
Then there were the crocs. The sound their jaws made while trying to secure their food which was dangling was quite loud, sort of like nothing like we’ve ever heard. Sonic boom? Not quite. High in decibles and very convincing. The guides told us that our jaws have a 30 pounds/sq. inch — psi pressure measurement). Dogs have 160 psi. Large saltwater crocs have 3,000 psi. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, flapping your lips and beating your gums. If you’re attacked, you’re a goner. And they can live without eating for a few months at a time. Quite a relic. And they had quite a collection of them.

It brought to mind the story of the croc at the Wildlife exhibit in Sydney. They told us that particular croc was brought down from Darwin. Seems that a local cattleman kept losing cattle. Tracing the losses to THAT croc, it was decided to spare his life and take him to the exhibit. Then they tried to breed him but he attacked and killed his three females lovers(tough love?) before they abandoned the idea.

But I digress. After viewing the crocs we got to visit with the kangaroos who are also quite lively at night and they love to eat.
The guides gave us carrots and potatoes etc. and we had the opportunity to feed them!! Too cool.
Got to see mama’s baby in her pouch. It was beyond fun. I now feel complete…like I can leave Australia having achieved most of my objectives. They were:

1. see kangaroos

2. see koalas

3. see the Great Barrier Reef

4. see the Sydney Opera House

6. see some aboriginese

Also, the outback beckoned but it would be another long flight and how much can one do in 3 weeks? We’re beyond grateful that we’ve been able to see and do what we saw and did.

But I digress.

After viewing and holding and feeding the various critters, we got back together at a dance floor…and we did the hokey pokey with the people from the doki doki!!! What a hoot. Doing the hokey pokey with our Asian grandchildren. A dream come true. Actually, the Asians were fun and friendly even though many didn’t speak any english. Everyone was laughing and giggling and having a fun time.

Actually, let me digress. There was one couple that did not have a good time. He was wearing a Texas A&M hat. They were from the great state of Texas. They didn’t laugh, they didn’t clap. They didn’t dance. She refused to see the snakes. Oh, and they were in their 30s. Too bad.
See Bernie? He’s holding the sign with the koala!! That was the grande finale.

Then we returned to the nest. Bernie had things to do and it was about 10:30 when we returned. Flying stand-by doesn’t always work the way you want. So, he found out that flights back to Sydney from Cairns were tightly booked except for the 5:55 a.m. So, he had to pack and leave in the wee hours to catch a flight that had about 25 vacancies. We bid our fond adieus and told him we’d see him in Oatley sometime tomorrow. Our flight was at 1:10 p.m.

Then we all went to bed exhausted, but full of wonderful memories (excepting if you will, the snakes).

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