|1988||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|Paul Tanner (UK):
With a day to spare in Cairns it was a toss up between a trip out to the Barrier Reef or to the Wet Tropics. The latter WHS was the one I felt I had seen less well on a previous trip so we booked ourselves a return trip to Kuranda – out by the Skyrail Cableway and back by the Scenic Railway. The ticket was an eye watering 101 AUD (c80 Euro) – by doing the trip as 2 singles on each mode of transport we lost the benefits of return ticket prices which would have reduced the cost a bit – but not by much!
Unfortunately the “Wet Tropics” were living up to their name as we took the cableway from its starting point a few kms north of Cairns. I can’t say I found the trip that worthwhile – ok it was going over (and at times as we climbed – among) the trees and one could make out different species and see the epiphytes and a few birds but I am not sure that all that technology really enabled one to gain a better feel for the “forest”. The cars moved at a fair speed but there were 2 stopping points to change cars which also had walkways to enable one to “experience” the forest from below. The walkways were exceedingly short. At the first stop there was a park ranger who led a “guided walk”. I am still a bit surprised at how poorly this was done. He didn’t know our nationality within the group of mainly other nationality tourists and Aussies but the commentary consisted largely of anti British jokes and asides – mostly totally irrelevant to the subject (viz Prince Charles’s sexual habits!). It wasn’t just our attention he lost. Now I am not a “nationalistic” person and don’t really care what is said about us but the whole impression given was unprofessional. The Queensland Government really ought to exercise better quality control over its rangers! The second stopping point provided a good view over the Barron Falls (photo from the cable car) but, despite all the rain, very little water was going over them as most of it is diverted for the hydro power station and we had to make do with a large picture of what they look like on the few days a year when the water is diverted back into its natural course to “flush” the system! There were also a few signs about the wildlife – including a picture of a Cassowary but they wisely stayed well away so we went into the Interpetation Centre and listened to its recordings of forest birds!
Kuranda was a pleasant enough little town set among the greenery. Today its main raison d’etre seems to be as a tourist shopping centre. We escaped without a single knick knack but had some interesting conversations with members of the local Djabugay people. The train ride back was perhaps the highlight of the trip. The railway’s construction in the 1880s was an engineering feat. 37kms long in total from Cairns, it climbs 328 metres in perhaps 20 kms with numerous tunnels and bridges. The carriages are designed to look “antique” but have modern LCD information screens and speaker systems, large windows and easy access to both sides. The locomotion is provided by modern twin diesels – painted with a Djabugay representation “of Buda-dji, the ancestral being, who, in the shape of a giant carpet snake, formed the Barron Gorge”! The trip takes around 1 hr 45 minutes with a scenic stop at the Barron Falls and another at Freshwater on the plain a few miles outside Cairns for “transit” passengers. For about 2/3rds of it there are fine views down into the gorge and up to the waterfalls above. At one point the train does a semi circle across a spindly trestle bridge providing a photo of the entire train if you are in a rear carriage.
So, if you want a day out with a couple of “gee whiz” rides then do as we did. However, if you really want to explore the Wet Tropics forest for its natural aspects you would be far better advised to arrange a walk – there are a number of trails in the Barron Gorge Park which start only a few miles outside Cairns.
Date posted: May 2012 SWIT Guide (Australia):
I reside in Carwell Queensland Australia. As of the 20th July 2006 road access from Cardwell to the hinterland World Heritage Wet Tropics has been closed. More than 30 years ago Queensland State Government sponsored logging operations ceased in the Cardwell Ranges. The key Cardwell Shire Council infrastructure which assisted logging operations is known as the Kirrama State Forest Road; currently in a state of decline, neglect, and disrepair. If you would like access to Australia's Cardwell Range "Wet Tropics World Heritage " please E-mail the Cassowary Coast Regional Council.
Thank you for your time,
Otto 07 Feb 2009.
Date posted: February 2009 ():
I visited Cooktown and the surrounding area, I spent 3 weeks there and didn't have a day when I didn't do or see something amazing. I travelled from Cairns to Cooktown along the coast road which you need to do in a 4x4 but it was worth if for the amazing scenery and wildlife. I also went up in a sea plane from Cooktown which took me over the reef and the rainforest, I saw crocs in the endevour river and whales out to sea and then landed at Lizard Island and spent the afternoon snorkelling. There are beautiful waterfalls in the area and walks into the outback to see the rock art. Fantastic!
Emilia Bautista King (USA):
Seeing my first saltwater croc in the Daintree was quite exciting! I was fortunate to be able to stay at Crocodylus in Cape Tribulation, as the hostel is situated in the rainforest. I saw a wild boar while hiking and tried to find a cassowary but had no luck.
Date posted: February 2006 Ben Pastore (USA):
I visited the Cairns/Port Douglas area and in my book it lived up to a World Heritage Site. The coastline is lovely, the coastal mountains abound with waterfalls and once you pass the tablelands you're in the fantastically empty Outback. Mossman gorge is an enjoyable and easily-accessible stop and having seen the view from Cooktown to Cairns from the air, with the turquoise of the reef on one side and the green of the jungle on the other, it became apparent that a visit here is well worth the time
Klaus Freisinger (Austria):
A collection of national parks and nature reserves in northeastern Queensland, the Wet Tropics area protects the only rainforest in a first-world country. Some parts of the site are easily accessible from places like Cairns, Cooktown, or Townsville, and the easiest trip (probably the easiest way to see a rainforest in the world) is to make the train ride from Cairns to Kuranda through the spectacular wilderness of Barron Gorge National Park. Kuranda is a charming little jungle town with many attractions, the major one being the way you should get back to the coast - by way of Skyrail, a cableway that lets you see the rain forest from above. Probably a bit questionable from an environmental point of view, but still an unbeatable experience. I suppose it's not such a bad thing that most visitors see only this area, leaving the rest of the Wet Tropics alone.
KK J (Australia):
The Wet Tropics are great! I love Cape Tribulation! EVERYONE MUST GO THERE!!!!!
duane japp (new zealand):
woo it was mad fun i saw a ground bird that looked like a kiwi i was serprised
Have you been to Wet Tropics of Queensland? Share your experiences!