This year, from April 19 to May 2 Matt and I took a (much needed) vacation to the land down under, Australia! It was our first time out of PNG since we arrived April 7 2014 (except for my short trip to Jakarta for a conference, which doesn’t really count), and my first real vacation from work.
This post will be cut into 3 parts as we did a lot in the two weeks we were there, even though we were only in Cairns and Sydney. But, I’ll keep the text short so you don’t get bored!
Kuranda is a small village in the rainforest of Queensland, very close to Cairns. It’s basically a tourist village, but since we have never been to Australia before, we wanted to do all the kitschy tourist stuff.
We took the Skyrail up to the village. It takes about an hour, and has a few stops to get out and appreciate the rainforest and spectacular views.
At one of the stops on the Skyrail, there was a short rainforest walk, where we learned that all the plants here are spikey and out to get you.
Once in Kuranda, we walked around and checked out some touristy stores, then went to a small zoo.
We then took a 1.5 hour train ride back to Cairns.
There were a few other sites in Kuranda that I wanted to see, so I took our rental car up a few days later to catch the stuff I missed. First stop: butterfly sanctuary.
I also checked out the venom museum, which had all the most dangerous Australian critters.
The Daintree rainforest is the largest rainforest in Australia. We took a day tour out of Cairns to explore it. While waiting for our pick-up, we checked out the nearby beach. We were there at the end of the stinger season, so the nets were still out.
Our first stop was a short river cruise where we saw some crocodiles and an interesting plant. I can’t remember what it was called, but if you rub the seed against a hard surface the seed will heat up and you can burn your friends with it.
We went on a few short rainforest walks, where we saw more spikey plants and ferns that were up to a thousand years old. We didn’t see very many critters, the few we saw included a lizard, a turtle, an eel, and a bird that looked like a turkey vulture.
Our second last stop was an insect museum. If you’re from Canada, you should recognize the beetles on the bottom left. In SK we call them spruce bugs. The writing on the bottom middle picture says “Giant Longhorn Beetles – Cerambycidae (Batocera): The Batocera develop into the most exquisite forms in New Guinea…” Imagine my surprise when Indy caught one and brought it inside our house – we moved halfway around the world and I thought I had gotten away from these things! But here they are in PNG, even bigger and camouflaged with crazy patterns.
Our final stop was a stroll along a beach.