Visit the sublime rainforest township of Kuranda on this great day out from Cairns. Hotel pick-up and drop off are included in the cost of the experience. Take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway up to the village, and the famous Skyrail cableway on the return journey. You’ll have plenty of time in between to explore Kuranda’s markets and wildlife parks (additional cost applies).
Heritage train trips are a popular holiday pastime in many parts of Oz.
There’s the Blue Mountains’ Scenic Railway (the world’s steepest passenger railway service) in New South Wales, southern Queensland’s Mary Valley Rattler (Gympie), the Steam Ranger Heritage Railway’s popular ‘Cockle Train’ from Victor Harbor to Goolwa in South Australia, and Tasmania’s Don River Railway (Devonport) and West Coast Wilderness Railway (Strahan). And let’s not forget the epic Kuranda Scenic Railway in Tropical North Queensland. We recently had the opportunity to ride this rail gem from Cairns to the picturesque rainforest village of Kuranda.
Watch our video of this experience:
Welcome to The Big Bus tour and travel guide’s YouTube channel. No visit to Cairns in Tropical North Queensland would be complete without heading into the At…
Tucked away in the Wet Tropics rainforest at the top of the Gillies mountain range, a day trip from Cairns up to Kuranda is one of the region’s top tourist activities. Global Travel Services offers a Kuranda day tour from Cairns with a mix of transport options: bus, train and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. We’re taking the train on the outward journey, and the cableway back to Cairns. Global Travel Services takes care of everything — including the transfers from your hotel to the railway station, and back to your hotel from the Skyrail terminal in the afternoon.
Construction of the Kuranda Scenic Railway began in 1886, and it proved to be an incredible engineering feat that is still admired today. The winding line rises from sea level to 328 metres, passing serene waterfalls and plunging ravines. The train stops briefly at Barron Falls station, so passengers can hop off and take in the view of beautiful Barron Gorge and the falls.
On arrival in Kuranda, tour participants have two-and-a-half hours of free time to explore. The village is home to a plethora of markets, art galleries and jewellery stores, along with three or four small wildlife parks. We decide to purchase a combo ticket to the Kuranda Koala Gardens and neighbouring Birdworld; keep an eye on your earrings and shirt buttons while exploring the latter!
Famous Frogs Restaurant is located in the Kuranda Heritage Markets outside Birdworld, so we take the opportunity to grab a bite to eat. Long time owner Terry serves an impressive menu of local specialties, including wild barramundi burgers and a spicy croc curry!
The afternoon ebbs away and it’s soon time to head to the Skyrail terminal for the trip back to Cairns. The cableway runs for 7.5 kilometres, and each gondola can carry up to six passengers. The journey provides a surreal 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the mountain range, rainforest canopy, and shimmering Coral Sea in the distance.
This Kuranda day tour from Cairns is perfect for anyone who wants to escape the city and take in the beauty of the Wet Tropics rainforest, without the hassle of driving or arranging transport. Both the Scenic Railway and Skyrail Cableway are exceptional experiences, and Kuranda itself has plenty to keep visitors entertained. All aboard for a great day out!
The writer travelled as a guest of Global Travel Services.
Additional images: Bigstock
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and much of North America. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.