Sydney airport was busy and huge and we were in domestic section which by itself had plenty to offer ,
Quantas airlines was Australia Air India and had like our counterpart senior crews !
Most of hostesses were above thirty but they were suave hospitable and experienced and cared well ,we had a warm breakfast and in around two hours landed in Cairns .
Cairns is a small town in Queensland state and was famous as a tourist destination for one began his tour of tropical rain forest ( rainforest is one which has minimum 250 cm of annual rainfall and green forests ) and The Great barrier reef from here .
we had a pick up in the Airport from The Colonial club where we had been booked ,
Colonial club was a sprawling resort with a swimming pool and cottages around it ,
we refreshed ourselves and walked along the near empty road to a nearby park
it was quite warm and the sun reminded us of Chennai
we were to visit the Rain forest up in the hills and to a town called kuranda on top .
There were three ways one could do this ,by cable car ,by train or by road ,
before we ventured up we visited the Aborigine camp called Tjabukai
There was a show where they exhibited their traditional dances costumes and how to make fire the primitive way ,they spoke excellent English and posed for snaps with us
we also went to try boomerangs throwing a spear learnt on traditional medicines and had temporary tattos painted .real great experience
we could also buy souvenirs
all well planned and marketed
stopped on 2 stations on the way up
we reached kuranda a tiny tourist town and were taken by a shuttle bus from cable car station to its center just 2 km away some went into the butterfly park some did shopping or just walked along the qaint shops we returned to the railway station
this was vintage styled and train itself was neat and well kept
The distance to cairns was just 36 km but it would take one and half hours with a couple of stops and a lookout at Barron gorge ,it traversed 15 tunnels
there was a gold class where food would be served ,the train left at 3pm and it was a wonderful experience similar to mountain trains in India like Ooty and Darjeeling but the height was lesser ,building the railway was also a feat and involved accidents and deaths we heard
the next day we were off to the jetty to board a huge cruise ship with all facilities we chugged for around an hour having refreshments and reached near an island
we were off to the great barrier reef
one could snorkel or take a submarine boat or scuba dive if one had the training to do so
we took the submarine boat ,this was a speed boat with a hull having glass windows for viewing as hull was under sea one had a good view of the reef as one sat in the hull
the great barrier reef is strip of corals more than 3000km long and can be seen even from space it has millions of living corals and several spieces of aquatic life teeming in it great efforts are made to preserve this ecological treasure
It was one of the kost beutiful sights to see the swaying corals in multicolours and teeming fishes in all sizes gliding close to us nature was astounding and we were all speelbound
we returned back for a sumptuous cruise lunch and chugged back to reach cairns by evening
Next day we were off to Melbourne and that is a story for another day