HLO Day 19: The Kuranda Broadband Trail

kurandastation I headed to Kuranda today figuring that a relatively isolated rainforest community of only 650-odd people would stretch the patience of any self-respecting mobile broadband network. Instead, I found better service than you can get in Cairns.

Having already experienced some highly variable 3G performance in Cairns itself, I figured that a mountainous and underpopulated area would offer the usual rural Australia story: a bit of Next G and not a whole lot else. On the 90 minute scenic railway trip up to Kuranda, my Vodafone-equipped BlackBerry kept losing signal, which is fair enough: there are 15 tunnels to go through. Once I sat down at the station (complete with the obligatory mango smoothie), I fully expected a GPRS-or-bust scenario from all the providers, except possibly with the Next G-via-3 connection.

Instead, I got good performance from everyone. 3 roamed onto Telstra without a hitch, Optus showed none of the fussiness it had demonstrated at the bottom of the hill, and Vodafone also got a nice strong HSDPA connection. If I had a power cord, I could work at this station all day long, but I had walks to finish and kangaroo burgers to eat.

Sadly, my plans to expand the range of transport used during Hand Luggage Only took something of a battering when it turned out that the Skyrail cable car is undergoing maintenance most of this week. But I did take in a riverboat cruise, which ups the numbers. Fortunately, small craft don't disagree with me the way that big boats do, though the guide risked everyone else's life by giving me a brief chance to steer the craft.


Throughout May 2009, Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman will be travelling throughout Australia with just one carry-on bag for the Hand Luggage Only project.


    Hi Angus,
    I didn't know you were going to be in Cairns on the HLO trip! I had assumed it would just be the southern states. If I'd known, we could have arranged to add either 4WD or motorcycle to your list of transport types, depending on how game you are to trust a stranger with your life, of course!

    Shame about the Skyrail being out of action - it's a great ride. I hope it's fixed next week as my brother and his family arrive then, and have promised their kids a ride on it.

    Are you in town for much longer? Or have you and the infamous bag already departed? Do you have your itinerary listed anywhere?

    Good luck with the remainder of the HLO project!
    Matto :)

      I depart Cairns tomorrow and head for Alice Springs. I've been tending to note my location just in advance of getting there, and in fact my current location generally appears in the Toshiba banner ads (!), but I might run a broad outline of the rest of the trip in tomorrow's post. Sorry to have missed the motorcycle opportunity!

    Hi, Just had time with your Mum. Will take an interest in your travels. I'm away for 13 days with 4 bags!! Good on you for giving this a go.

    gee it's a tough life Angus, but I guess someone has to do it :)

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