It was just as the Skyrail gondolier doors were closing that I remembered I used to have a rather loose fear of heights. Nothing big, just the odd sweaty palm and hammering heart that has me imaging all the worst scenarios.
As imagined catastrophes came into sight, so too did the vista.
An uninterrupted 360 degree panoramic view of the treetops of a rainforest and, eventually, out towards the Coral Sea.
While the Squids and Skipper squirmed with glee at the views across the World Heritage Listed Barron Gorge National Park, I was double checking safety latches, peering out at cables and leaving a slick of sweat on the handrail beside me. Yep, hadn’t grown out of that particular fear.
I was officially a captive audience onboard the Cairns Skyrail.
It was too late to hightail it back to Kuranda and thumb the next ride down the mountain. Much to the Squids glee who had never seen their mum lost for words before, I meekly took pics attempting to banish imagined plot-lines for movies involving Sandra Bullock cast as me and Keneau Reeves as The Skipper as we make a brave dash for freedom climbing along the cables (strangely, we leave the Squids to fend for themselves!)
There are much braver people than I passing by experiencing their own rainforest moments … they are aboard the open-to-the-elements Canopy Glider or the glass floored Diamond View gondolier. Fair play to them! Me? I’m hanging on the railing and trying to not to take too many shaky snaps of my beaming family.
I was able to catch my breath, and reapply my deodorant at a few stops along the way. Red Peak Station and Barron Falls Station both had terrific interpretive boardwalks trails, informative staff and even a small Rainforest Interpretation Centre where the kids loved interacting with miscroscopes and touch screens.
Regardless of my own little drama feebly unfolding, I was rather astounded by the views beneath us. Ulyssess butterflies flitted through the rainforest canopy below. The Skipper and I have done a lot of travelling in Australia and O/S rainforests of Costa Rica, Belize and Guatemala – all sensational rainforests – but riding a 7.5km cablecar through a World Heritage Rainforest is the most spectacular rainforest experience we’ve had the pleasure of oohing and aahing over.
Rainforests are complex ecosystems at the best of times, and to be able to see how they operate from the top down is rather spectacular.
This was one very unique way of experiencing the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and one which we felt was worthy of handing the credit card over for.
Towards the end of the 1 ½ hr trip I do believe I was sighted loosening my hold on the handrail and relaxing for a few happy snaps myself. Perhaps this was just the therapy I needed. Face your fears, with no turning back, and all that ra-ra. Or I may have been imagining Keneau Reeves ready to greet me at the end.
If you’d like to face your own fear of heights you can get all the info to plan your Kuranda, Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and Barron Gorge trip here on the Cairns Skyrail or the very committed Skyrail Foundation.
And if you think I’m a big girly blouse and need to just suck it up, no doubt you will drop me a line after you’ve enjoyed the Skyrail for yourself. But take along your roll-on deodorant just in case!