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23 Nov 2006 - Kuranda and Tjapukai
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Kuranda express 1st stop, just before the rain Yes, ok, another bad hair day 
Today we visited Kuranda. We went up to the mountain on the old train (although it runs on diesel, not steam). Our carriage was very crowded, I think because we were on a tour - I bet the non-tour carriages were less full, so take note if you're planning this trip! Near the top we stopped at a platform to see the falls. Just as we'd taken a few photos it tipped down and everyone had to run back to the train!

Shortly after that we reached the top and Kuranda - village in the rainforest. It's very pretty, but the village part is really just one big souvenir stop. There were walks to do, but we didn't have time for them, but I expect we'd have seen a lot more of the rainforest that way. We did see the bees. There's a honey shop which a few hives built into the wall. The bees fly into the entranace, which is on the outside, and if you look into the glass bit which is on the inside you can see them all working away in their hive. Very interesting. They don't bother you either - everyone knows I'm not keen on bees and things, but I was quite happy to stand there looking into their home because not one came anywhere near us!

We then got into the cable car to go down the mountain. You stop twice to get out and walk around the boardwalks to get a closer look at the rainforest.

At the bottom we went to Tjabukai which is an aboriginal cultural park. It's really really good. There are various films and acts going on - creation theatre teaches you about beliefs and practices, dance theatre had some young people performing dances for us, cultural village was where we learned about didgeriddos and bush food and medicine and you could try boomerang and spear throwing. Justin had a go at throwing a boomerang, but it only went one way. Then there was history - a film about what happened when the white people arrived.

The thing was that it made you see the indigenous people in a whole new light - normally you hear a lot about alcohol and drug problems and it seems that there's a general sort of barrier between the aboriginees and the white people. But here there was a group of young aboriginal people trying to teach us about theier way of life and it was so nice to listen to them - they were informative, funny, they were happy to talk to you about their culture, and I know it sounds silly, but they were just normal people. We both felt that we'd finally managed to find out a bit more about the aboriginal people and it was good to actually hear it from themselves, and this was very important to us. I can't really explain what a difference it made but we'd recommend Tjapukai to anyone.

Dines in the hotel tonight - very tired. By the way, bananas are down to just under $8 per kilo, and smoothie shops have signs in the windows saying things like "Bananas are back"!

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