Changing Chris’s mind

I love Cairns, always have.

Chris hated it.
He went there once on business in the 1980s, in the middle of summer, with no air-conditioning and didn’t see anything other than the city.

His opinion of Cairns wasn’t very flattering.

I needed to change that.

So that was my challenge for our days off in October.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas Look out. 

Coconut Grove Caravan park

My favourite caravan park in Cairns is the “Coconut Grove”.

OK, so I should have thought about that a little more. It’s a caravan park for the family, and it was in the middle of the school holidays.

Set amongst 28 acres of landscaped tropical gardens this park has it all and even though it was school holidays it was still very peaceful.

The staff at the coconut grove are very experienced and put our site away from most of the families. You know the family sites with all the scooters, bikes, screaming kids, yelling parents and yapping dogs.

The facilities are amazing, adult hot spas (some kids couldn’t read the Adults Only sign), pancake breakfasts, aqua aerobics, tennis courts, two pools, 18 hole mini-golf, outdoor movies, tennis courts, and the list goes on.

I’ve been coming to this park since I was a kid with my parents. Then, coming often with my our own boys. The whole family always has a fabulous time here.

Each site is surrounded by a garden of palm trees and hibiscus flowers. The gardens are well kept and it felt like our own bit of paradise. We even had rain so we were ecstatic.

Lake Placid and Barron Gorge
Barron Gorge Hydro

Lake Placid and the hydro electric station Barron Gorge

The tourist spots

Port Douglas and the heritage drive was the first point of call. Then on to Lake Placid and the Barron Gorge hydro electrical system.

Chris loves learning about the history of places and Cairns has so history and interest.

The Kuranda train and the Skyrail was a must. I had ridden the Kuranda train probably 10 times in my life and so was excited to show Chris this important and historical adventure.

The old carriages are still beautiful and Chris was already enjoying himself even with the rain

The Kuranda Train ride

Don’t go past the Kuranda Train ride, it’s well worth the trip.

The railway climbing the rugged terrain of the Barron Gorge required construction of 15 tunnels, 55 bridges and more than 150 cuttings.  

Hundreds of tons of rock and earth were excavated by men with shovels and wheelbarrows, aided by explosives.

Some 32 men were killed in accidents during construction.

That the line was completed at all is largely credited to the contractor John Robb, who together with the government engineers found a way to construct the railway despite the rugged and unstable terrain and the harsh tropical climate.

By John Oxley Library

The Kuranda Train ride continued…

With so many tunnels to go through and waterfalls to capture you don’t sit long in your seats before another photo opportunity has you jumping up and hanging out the window once more.

Kuranda 2

Waterfalls, tunnels and bridges are features those workers had to overcome.

The Kuranda Markets

Kuranda Markets are a hive of activity once the train arrives. Resulting in amazing homemade wares and food created from the young and not so young alternative lifestylers.

We had a ball wandering around the area. I enjoyed the clothes, art and jewellery while Chris was held captive by the musical instruments on display and discussing options from the sellers.

A lunch of crocodile sausages was a wonderful way to end our time there before getting aboard the Skyrail to head back to Cairns.

Kuranda Train station

Kuranda train station still beautiful

The Skyrail

This was a new experience for both Chris and me. We took a gondola over the treetops stopping a few times to take in the rain forest, Barron Gorge and other sights were truly worth it.

Sailing over the tree tops on the Skyrail

Sailing over the tree tops on the Skyrail

The new viewing platform stretching out over the Barron Gorge was a great addition with half the platform floor glass so you can see straight down.

Barron Gorge viewing platform

Just opened in May so was excited to be able to see this.

The final stretch of the Skyrail trip is overlooking Cairns. What a wonderful way to finish the day.

Coming back into Cairns