Cooktown, Kuranda and Daintree – Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Like the title here’s a bit of a mixtape for you of a few of my recent Cairns experiences in planes, trains and automobiles. Also check out quite a few new shots in my gallery.


Kuranda is a lovely little village north of Cairns that time almost forgot; quite busy during the day because of two major tourist attractions – Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway. The Skyrail is great and an amazing piece of engineering but I reckon the most fun is the good old train, and here’s my postcard panorama of the train (shot out the window):

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I was entertained all the way from Kuranda to Cairns by a mid-age couple from outback South Australia sitting next to me. She smiled a lot and handed out muesli fruit snack bars to everyone and he talked a lot about water (he worked with water, never did hear exactly what he did but probably something to do with water management, South Australia is super dry.) He was extremely impressed that I’ve been to Kununurra in Western Australia (Kununurra is right next to the massive Ord River) “Always wanted to go to Kununurra my whole life and see how much water they have mate” he said to me, “so did you see the Ord River mate, did you see it? What was it like, a lot of water there?”. “Yeah” I said … “heaps of water mate, you will absolutely love it!”

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Cairns and surrounding area shot from Skyrail

Cooktown – there and back and there again

Named Cooktown because it is here that Captain James Cook and his crew spent 41 days repairing his ship after hitting the reef and damaging the ship Endeavour very severely. So grave was Cooks troubles that he named the place where he hit the reef Cape Tribulation. Well I encountered a few problems on the way to Cooktown as well! I went on a day trip where you fly up the coast to Cooktown and then drive the scenic ocean road the roughly 400 kilometers back to Cairns. We take off in a small 8 seater plane at 6.45am and have a beautiful 35 minutes flight to Cooktown in the morning light – only to find Cooktown airstrip completely shrouded in fog! We could not see the runway at all. This is from the airplane and you can see Cooktown on the right but the runway is somewhere underneath the fog:

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We circled for 15 minutes but was running low on fuel – so we bloody had to return to Cairns. At 8.45 I sat in the same Skytrans terminal in Cairns with a heavy feeling of Deja Vu! At 9.30 we took off again for Cooktown, this time with an expectation of actually landing there! We did and although it cut the tour a bit short and left us with next to no time in Cooktown we did get to fly to Cooktown – twice!

Click to see larger sizeThe Lions Den – outback pub south of Cooktown

DAintree rainforest

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A tropical rainforest is fantastic and it does not get much better than the Daintree Rainforest north of Cairns – the oldest rainforest on earth with trees that are more than a 1000 years old. It is just a phenomenal experience to walk around and study the plants, trees and wildlife. This is another of those ‘on another planet’ experiences. A polarizer filter is again a must for photographing in a rain forest and so are cloudy conditions which we were lucky to have (rain would have been nice too, but can’t have it all) as it brings out the green it shots like the one on the left.

On this 12 people trip there were 4 retired Americans from Tennessee; they were so incredibly nice and the most friendly and polite people you can imagine and they all had this fantastic slow southern accent (a drawl I believe it’s called) making them sound like a cross between Elvis, Forrest Gump & Clinton (although he’s from the neighbour state Arkansas). One of them (I’m terrible with names but he was The One With Best Accent) was videoing everything and did a running narrative as well into his video camera – hilarious stuff! “Nowwww this here is Dainnnntree Rainnnnnforest in Arrrwwwstraulia and that there is a strannnngler tree” spoken very slowly with some serious rolling on every “r”. I found it hard not to laugh every time he did it, loved it. “Now it’s been a rrrreallll pleasure meetin’ you; now you come see us soon in the United States” The One With Best Accent said to me as I left the truck. Would love to mate, especially if you can teach me that accent!

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  • I hate it when tour guides say something along the lines of “the original settlement was a penal colony”. I beg to differ, the original settlement of Australia was the aboriginals! They were here for some 50 000 years before the white people, so yeah, it was sorta their country mate!
  • This week I have a rather spectacular and huge room on the top floor (7th) of my hotel in Cairns with a great view of the ocean and the esplanade. The room is so large I can run around and exercise indoors! Means I don’t have to do my albatross impression down the esplanade in Cairns endangering all the other morning joggers who can actually run (they would be in serious danger of dying from either laughing or me crashing into them…or both)!
  • Where’s the Great Barrier Reef shots you ask? They’re coming…still waiting for my helicopter flight to outer Arlington Reef. Stay tuned.
  • ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ is outstanding, the 3 Bourne movies the best secret agent movies ever. I would be Jason Bourne except I can’t run. I could be Jason Bourne on a bicycle!

Quote of the day:

Only the paranoid survive

2 Comments on “Cooktown, Kuranda and Daintree – Planes, Trains and Automobiles”

  1. Hey – whatever happened to Forrest Gump??? You don't have a bicycle on your trip so get on started with the jogging!
    Listen to me who is still sitting at work when I should be out there enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful colours of the forrest. Yes, autumn is on its way.
    By the way – I went to Aalborg yesterday with SAS and there weren't any problems. Whatever goes up must come down 😉
    Take care!

  2. Run, Flemming, Run – I actually have been running Lykke, really, I have – it’s true! Read my albatross story. It’s a bit too soon to sign me up for CPH marathon though 😀

    It’s the tropics here, we don’t have seasons. It’s either dry (like now) or it’s wet – either way it’s always hot 😀

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