Someone once told me that in just 10 of the massive 900,000 square hectares of Kuranda National Rainforest, you will come across more different species of animals and plant-life than you would if you walked across the whole of North America.*
…Although, I should probably mention that I was actually told this by a very nice man who described himself as one of the “indigenous population” of Kuranda and was, at that time, sitting next to me on the grass, swigging a bottle of Jim Bean wrapped in a plastic bag.
(How I ended up involved in that situation, along with the fucking stupid conversation that followed is a story for another day.)
Whilst that statistic may or may not be true depending on my new friend’s ever-increasing level of inebriation, I can tell you that the Kuranda Rainforest is home to over 3,000 different species of plant, and is possibly one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful natural phenomena’s I’ve ever seen.
This would be the point where I tell you there is no better way to see it than by soaring over the canopies 545 foot above sea level – which of course there isn’t… that is, of course, unless you find yourself in a cable car with someone who is absolutely fucking terrified of heights… and if that particular cable car just so happens to break down.
My mum is terrified of heights at the best of times, which meant we had to ply her with at least 4 pints just to get her on the various flights to Australia in the first place. So you can imagine what she was like suspended in a plastic pod (with absolutely nothing to hold desperately on to) hundreds of feet above the ground.
As the pod screeched to a sudden stop we all held our breath; the only sound was my mum peeling her shaking, clammy fingers away from her eyes to peek through the gaps…
…and there we swung. For four whole minutes. Five-hundred-and-forty-five-feet above a rocky gorge.
I know what you’re thinking; “…four minutes? Bit of a drama queen aren’t you?”
Well fuck you… count it in Mississippi’s while on the brink of death and then we’ll talk.
For three of those hell-minutes no-one uttered a single word, we just casually contemplated how we could possibly survive if the cable suddenly snapped, to the sound of my mum’s ever-increasing heartbeat and desperate gasping.
Eventually the tension that had been building to a stupid level in our plastic prison got to her, and she shrieked, “what-the-FUCKING-HELL-IS -HAPPENING?”
…To which my Dad did an exaggerated, comedy ‘I’m totally relaxed’ stretch and replied, (and I think this is pretty impressive improvisation during a near death experience), “Nothing, it’s a photo opp, everything’s sound…THIS WAS IN THE LEAFLET”
“This was in the leaflet”??? Of course it wasn’t in the fucking leaflet, I’m pretty sure the surrounding pods weren’t getting much of a ‘photo-opp’ from the various canopies and foliage they were tangled up in, but of course we all nodded reassuringly.
My Dad later described his feelings during the situation as follows; and I quote, “Oh yeah, I proper thought we were going to die, I just didn’t want her to make a hysterical dash to the door to try and get out.”
All that said, the Kuranda Skyrail is probably one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences you can have in Eastern Australia…
…but just say the cable did break… what would you do? Spread yourself out like a starfish, so at least you could experience ‘zorbing’ before you die… or would you get into the fetal position in the hope that you go limp enough to bounce?
*If you think that’s impressive you should see some of the things I come across when I go through my boyfriend’s laundry.