2019 HAL World Cruise
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Cairns was first sighted by Capt. James Cook on June 10, 1770. It was one hundred years later, with the discovery of gold in the Palmer River and the Hodgekinson gold fields, that the settlement of Cairns would be established (in 1876 to be exact.) The inland rail service was built in 1885 with Cairns as its terminus. Thus, the town’s future was guaranteed. Cairns became a major center. The charm of Cairns is that it offers big city amenities and convenience with a small-town friendliness and charm. We have been here many times, we’ve watched the changes and growth occur. I’ll share some photos we took on our last visit in 2016. I must do so because on this trip, we took an excursion to the Kuranda Rainforest and did not have time to tour the town.
Photos of Cairns in 2016:
So, let me now tell you about this year’s interesting adventure in Cairns. We took a ship’s tour to the Village of Kuranda and the Barron Gorge National Park in the rainforest. The adventure began with a train ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The construction of this railway is considered an engineering marvel. It was designed to transport supplies from the coast up to the gold mines. The project began in May 1886. It was completed in June 1891. During that 5-year period, 1500 men laid 23 miles of track to an altitude of nearly 1000 feet above sea level through 15 hand-carved tunnels, over 55 bridges and around 98 curves. It was a 1 ½ hour train ride to Kuranda Station with a short stop at the Barron Falls Lookout for a photo op. In the village, we had time (about 1 ½ hours) for lunch or shopping or a visit to the Kuranda Koala Gardens. We did not think this was enough time to do it all, so we opted for lunch and shopping. Although cuddling a Koala is still on our list of things to do, once again it has been put-off ‘til another visit. At the allotted time, we checked-in for our return trip to Cairns aboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This 4.7-mile cableway was completed in 1995 after 1 year of construction. All the towers were lifted into place by helicopter to avoid disturbing the rainforest. The tallest tower is 133 feet. And there are 114 gondolas.
Let me show you some photos:
Once we returned to Cairns, we discovered that a brew pub had been built in the old Wharf Shed #7! This is right next to the cruise terminal as well as our ship!!!! Well, who could resist?!?
We are now cruising through the Torres Straight on our way to Darwin in the Northern Territory.