Monday, April 20, 2015

Dreadlocks and Hair Extensions at the Hidden Echidna.

From Cairnes Australia, we decided to drive up into the mountainous Rainforest, to a town called Karanda. This town is set up with kitschy shops that cater to bus loads of tourists who mob the main street. 0ff the main drag is the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets which began in 1978 on Honey House land by a group of local people trying to attract visitors to Kuranda. At that time, the village was very small with many “Hippie Artists” and craft people. The markets needed to operate their own train for two seasons to prove the viability of the service to the Railway Department.

Now the markets have been an amazing success, providing employment for many, while the town is recognized as a unique Australian rainforest destination.
In 2006 the current owners began an ambitious undertaking to completely renovate the original market site. In keeping with the rustic atmosphere that the original markets were famous for, Malcolm and Ian McLeod created a miniature village in the rainforest, with rustic touches and bright colors at every turn, tropical gardens and colorful characters.

The Original Markets are predominantly available to artisans and craftspeople. You will find locally designed and produced fashions; hand crafted jewellery; indigenous artists; leather workers; masseurs; woodworkers and gemstone specialists, as well as North Queensland’s best range of honeys; local coffee; cafes; tropical fruits; coconuts and macadamia nuts.

Terry stopped at The Hidden Echidna and on a whim decided to get dreadlocks made from her patch of purple died hair.  Amber, who had a gorgeous mane of blond dreadlocks took care of Terry. The hut was filled with portraits done by Amber Moon (Lunar Sun) of famous people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Dali. Bowls were filled with beads which are used to cap off dreadlocks once they are made. She was able to make three dreadlocks that still remain today. Artegon here in Orlando could learn a thing or two from this market. In Orlando artists rent a cage in a former mall whereas in Kuranda, artists get a rustic shack with character that feels like a quirky community. I was tempted by some hand bound sketchbooks and Terry purchased some intricate Indian curtains for our bedroom.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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