Australia

At Home, in the Kuranda Rainforest.


S16°
E145°

We blow out of Melbourne relatively easily today

with many wonderful memories. We are thoroughly impressed and enchanted with it, and leave wishing we could stay. Everywhere you look there are magnificent parks and sculptures and monuments. Even the freeways have interesting sculptures to see as you drive along.

We make all our connections to the airport ahead of time, so have time to kill when we get there. We call John’s mom and have a nice chat with her. Virgin Blue didn’t hit us up for our overweight baggage on the flight from Adelaide to Melbourne, and they don’t again today. I guess they are having too much fun at their jobs. We have two flights today to reach Cairns and the rainforest – Melbourne to Brisbane (2 hours) and Brisbane to Cairns (2 ½ hours), all of which are easy and carefree. We buy two wraps, two Diet Cokes and a small can of Pringles on the plane for lunch – $19.50 Aus. We were starving and couldn’t grab food quickly enough between connections. Such is the future of air travel!

We deplane through the back of the plane, and immediately hit with 38° humidity. We have left coolish and overcast 22° in Melbourne. It is a big change. We both quickly break a sweat and are drenched. We are far north, much closer to the equator: we hadn’t understood how far north we would be. Here are some locator comparisons: food for thought:

  • Cairns (pronounced either Kens or Cannes – you choose) is about the same latitude as Fiji.
  • In North America, Laguna Niguel, California is as far north of the equator as Sydney is south: both at 33°
  • In Central America, Guatemala is as far north of the equator as Cairns is south of the equator.
  • In Africa, Senegal and Mali are as far north of the equator as Cairns is south of the equator.

(And for those of you who didn’t recognize these tidbits of information, they are John Mountain Facts ©).

We are staying at Liberty, a resort situated in the Kuranda rainforest reserve. Although only 7 kilometres as the crow flies, we drive out of Cairns for about 25 kilometres, up and further up over windy mountainous roads until we reach the resort.

Overlooking Cairns and the Coral Sea

John is driving – again it is on the wrong side. “Keep Left!” the dashboard in the rental car reminds us. It is Sunday at about 4 p.m. The resort encompasses about 1 square kilometre of land that is all rain-forest. And there is nobody here!!! There are 50 (or that was the last number we could see) self-contained huts based on a Balinese A frame dwelling. Ours has two sleeping areas and the room we choose has an a/c unit – very nice indeed. There are also about 15 very nice “barracks” rooms with full porches closer to the main building. We check in, do the quick tour with Duran, unpack and head up to the pool which is situated just behind our “hut”. The pool is set in the most glamorous setting of natural rock and native palm and fern with two water falls – it is like swimming in your own lagoon. There seem to be only us and 4 women here, but while we are unpacking another couple checks in. Duran tells us that there are only 4 huts in use tonight.

Hmmm. Strangely Deserted

We don’t quite understand why there are so few people here – the cabins are beautiful! We have two bedrooms, excellent furniture, and our own Bang & Olufsen sound system. We head up to a good dinner at about 7:15, sitting poolside and outdoors but covered. We both have barramundi, grilled and caught within seeing distance, and salad, and watch an incredible thunderstorm start to develop over the Coral Sea, with glimpses of lightning through the palm trees heralding the thunderous booming of the rest of the storm. The rain starts gently, ever so, and then moves on to a warm, dancing torrent on the tin roof. North Queensland is tropical, and while it gets quite a lot of rain annually, most of it falls in the summer – and from the rain tonight, it would appear that “monsoon” is an appropriate description.

Sitting at the table, we listen as the afternoon cicadas sign off and the evening cicadas take over. When the rain starts the frogs join in, as Duran had earlier told us they would if it rained. John and I finish our dinner to this exquisite symphony, and head back to our hut so that we can watch the lightning and listen to the thunder rumble and the rain tumble on the roof at home. Before we leave, Duran asks if we want an umbrella. This rain is warm and gentle and inviting. It asks that you to come outside and play with it. Getting wet is the most important part – no umbrella necessary!

It is the rainforest, after all!

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