Another equally wonderful and educational experience from Cairns, was a visit to the Aborigine town of Kuranda on the scenic Kuranda Railway http://www.ksr.com.au, where we were able to learn about the Aboriginal way of life and enjoy their unique culture and Art.
The journey itself is a wonder to behold and should not be missed at any cost if staying in Cairns. This is an unique opportunity to discover the pioneering history of the tropical northeast of Australia, dating back to 1800. It stops in various points of interest and natural beauty, including the impressive Barron Falls. Once again, the stewards on the train did their very best to make us all feel at home with their natural Ozzy friendliness and charm and explained the various places of interest we were travelling though and stopping at.
Once in Kuranda, we had the opportunity to try our hand at traditional Aborigine skills like spear and boomerang throwing, which proved more difficult than it seems from a distance and an activity in which every adult and child on the trip took part, safely surrounded by nets.
We also enjoyed a performance of the ‘Dreamworld’ Aborigines believe is the beginning of all life, as well as a film on the history of Australia after the first Europeans settlers began to take control of the continent. This is a very powerful and moving story of all the atrocities committed by such settlers and one that would make any European ashamed of their history: a cruel reminder that everywhere we went, we thought nothing of destroying the local way of life, culture and traditions in order to impose our own. This is something that we all have to learn to live with, and all we can hope for is to make a better present and future for those we wronged so cruelly.
Still, today’s Aborigines seem to be very philosophical about all this regrettable past and are doing their best to preserve their culture, still using and teaching old skills and amazing art form, including the didgeridoo playing, at which we all had a go too. I dare anyone to breath in and out at the same time, some form of circular breathing, that produces that haunting and non-stopping sound. Didgeridoos are beautiful works of art in their own right and this is one item that we decided to buy from the local museum and shop, as well as some paintings to hang on our walls.
I mustn’t forget the equally impressive skyrail trip above the rainforest canopy and Barron Gorge which, like the railway, will leave you breathless.