THEY are unquestionably beautiful and childlike in their playfulness. They are also big teasers.
As they pass by, I swear they are laughing at me and my clumsiness.
They are the unattainable celebrities and I am the lowly paparazzi.
This is all part of the game they are used to winning.
I find myself spinning round and round and only stop when I fall into a fellow admirer.
I apologise, and we share the joke of the impossibility of the task at hand: trying to photograph the Ulysses butterfly.
The famed electric blue and black Ulysses - the emblem of Dunk Island and found naturally in Tropical North Queensland - is in its element at The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda.
We have arrived here as part of the Rainforest, Skyrail and Butterflies shore excursion while in Cairns aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2. But after 30 minutes trying to capture a prized photo, the closest I get to the Ulysses is probably the sign out the front of the complex.
No sooner do I spot the flash of blue in my peripheral vision and try to focus my camera, the little blighter has fluttered away somewhere else.
In pairs and threes, they switch from hide-and-seek to chasey and back again until I am spinning around hopelessly like blind man's bluff.
Finally, I give up on the photos and turn the camera to movie mode.
But the butterflies still have the upper hand: the skill needed to zoom in and out, here and there, up and down as one beautiful creature after another flies into range is well beyond my reflexes and steady hand capabilities.
Suddenly, a lone Ulysses lands on my husband's camera phone, not 10cm away. And you guessed it: in my fluster and excitement to snap a close-up, my 10 thumbs fail to manipulate the camera settings in time and it flies away… again.
But I do have a very nice photo of my husband's hand holding his black phone horizontally.
Like I said: Ulysses is a big tease. And cheeky to boot.
Only much later, back at home, do I read the brochure informing me that visitors can buy a special photo of themselves, taken by staff, that shows them surrounded by the butterflies. Grrrrrr!
The brochure also tells visitors they will be "enchanted by the aerial dynamics of these elusive wonders of nature".
I must admit that if I were a butterfly, I would want to make the most of these "digs", too.
Green and leafy, pleasant surrounds. Free food and water for life. No predator or car windscreen to worry about. Nice and quiet.
The Sanctuary boasts the nation's largest live butterfly exhibit with more than 1500 specimens.
The butterflies are tropical rainforest species and the gardens, complete with waterfall and stream, are designed to replicate their natural habitat.
All are hand-reared on the premises.
Laboratory staff collect and clean eggs and hand-raise them through to the chrysalis stage, before being released into the sanctuary.
The breeding laboratory on-site is worth a look independently or on the guided tour as it houses up to 4000 caterpillars in their various stages of development.
While in Kuranda, we've also had the opportunity to stroll the village shops and browse the various markets as well as spending time riding the Skyrail atop the canopy of the World Heritage-listed rainforest.
Skyrail is like a modern-day Tarzan. But instead of swinging through the jungle using vines, the "people pods" effortlessly glide along the cables through the rainforest from tower to tower.
This is our third trip on Skyrail and we can never get enough of looking down on the magnificent green fluffy blanket of rainforest and the sight of the brown Barron River snaking its way below.
At Barron Falls and Red Peak Stations, we alight from the carriage and head into the lower storeys, walking the boardwalks to see and smell and feel the trees around us, marvelling at the diversity of the plantlife from the rainforest floor to epiphytes such as staghorns and bird's nest ferns hitching a ride high up the trunks, to towering Alexandra palms and massive kauri pines and a banyan tree.
Kuranda certainly is another world. And a visit will have you all aflutter, too.
Kuranda Heritage Market is on Rob Veivers Drive, Kuranda. Open daily, 9.30am-3.30pm. kurandamarkets.com.au
Kuranda Original Rainforest Market is on the corner of Therwine & Thoree Sts, Kuranda. Open daily, 9.30am-3pm. kurandaoriginalrainforestmarket.com.au
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
The complex is on Rob Veivers Drive, opposite the Tourist Information Centre, in the heart of Kuranda Village.
A free shuttle service operates from Kuranda Skyrail terminal and Scenic Railway Station to the sanctuary.
Opening hours are 9.45am-4pm daily.
Phone 4093 7575 or visit australianbutterflies.com
Entry with a guided aviary and laboratory tour is $18 adult, $9 children and $45 family (two adults, two children).
Expect to take up to 90 minutes each way on Skyrail, which will allow time to walk around Red Peak and Barron Falls mid-stations.
The 7.5km cableway was completed in 1995 after a year in construction.
All towers were lifted into place using helicopters for minimal disturbance of the environment.
The cableway has 114 gondola cabins and 33 towers. The tallest tower - No.6 - is 40.5m high.
Red peak station is the highest point of the cableway at 545m.
Queen Mary 2
For more information on Queen Mary 2, visit www.cunardline.com.au
This property gives you the complete package, a 3-bedroom home, outside living, in ground pool and a mans shed with plenty of room for the cars and caravans. Very...
Enjoying exceptional elevation and city views with beautiful sweeping mountain backdrops. This 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom massive family home, is perfectly positioned...
This amazing property must be SOLD the renovations have been started. Giving you a glorious kitchen with room for the largest of families to share a feast. Be...
Fantastic renovated property with beautiful polished timber floors throughout, gourmet kitchen with a large island bench, timber finish, great for entertaining.
From the moment you lay eyes on this home you will instantly appreciate the time, effort and love that has gone into making this house a home and one that will be...
With title only weeks away this near 25 acre rural lot offers you a slice of the big country out this way. Just a short drive from town out past St Brendans...
Looking for a stylish beach? 5 Hideaway Road Sea Spray has it all; • Ultimate lifestyle location • 400m walk to beach though national park • 100m to Gym with 2...
Just reduced in price to $329,000. The owner of this property wants it gone so inspections are a must! Unit One has 2 bedrooms side by side with a central living...
Opportunity exists here for someone to add their own personal touches to this large original colonial. This property still displays its character wide open...
This superior home is positioned on a family friendly 817m2 boasting 296m2 under roof and surrounded by quality homes. Providing an abundance of space, this...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.