Review: Combine the historic Scenic Railway and Skyrail Cableway on a Kuranda day tour from Cairns inner banner

Review: Combine the historic Scenic Railway and Skyrail Cableway on a Kuranda day tour from Cairns

Immerse yourself in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Queensland Wet Tropics rainforest on this fabulous day tour from Cairns to the picturesque village of Kuranda. Combine a historic rail journey in one direction, with a soaring cableway ride in the other.
Kuranda day tour from Cairns
Kuranda day tour from Cairns: Ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Image: Adam Ford
Kuranda Day Tour from Cairns by Train and Cableway


Visit the beautiful rainforest village of Kuranda on this fabulous Kuranda day tour from Cairns. Take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway up to the village, and the famous Skyrail cableway on the return journey. All Cairns hotel transfers are included. You’ll have plenty of time in Kuranda to explore the markets and wildlife parks (additional cost applies). Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

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We love a good holiday rail journey here in Oz.

There’s the world-famous Ghan and the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, and smaller day tour options like Katoomba’s Scenic Railway (the world’s steepest passenger railway service) west of Sydney, the Mary Valley Rattler in Gympie, and West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tassie. The last two, like many other tourist-based rail services around the country, actually started life as commercial operations. The Kuranda Scenic Railway in Tropical North Queensland is part of that family. We were lucky enough recently to do a Kuranda day tour from Cairns with Global Travel Services, which included a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Watch our video of this experience:

Ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway | Things to do in Kuranda, North QLD – The Big Bus

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…

The picturesque village of Kuranda is hidden in the lush Wet Tropics rainforest at the top of the Gillies mountain range west of Cairns, and a visit here is one of the most popular tourist activities in the area. You can choose your transport for the day from a combination of bus, train and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. We opted to take the train up to Kuranda and the cableway back down 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.

Kuranda day tour from Cairns
Kuranda day tour from Cairns: Barron Falls

On arrival in Kuranda we’re greeted by a group of Indigenous dancers, who welcome us to town. We then head off on foot to explore.

Those travelling with Global Travel Services have two-and-a-half hours of free time and there’s plenty of ways to spend it. Shopaholics will love the markets, art galleries and jewellery stores that line the main strip. Kuranda also has some great wildlife parks, and we decide to visit the Kuranda Koala Gardens. You can buy a combo ticket that will also get you into neighbouring Birdworld Kuranda (just remember to keep an eye on your earrings and shirt buttons!). The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is another option.

Kuranda day tour from Cairns
Kuranda day tour from Cairns: Hit the markets. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

If you’re after a bite to eat, head to famous Frogs Restaurant in the Kuranda Heritage Markets. Owner Terry serves up 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.

Kuranda day tour from Cairns
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

This Kuranda 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 being able to move at your own pace for much of the time gives the whole day a very relaxed feel.

The writer travelled as a guest of Global Travel Services.

Additional images: Bigstock

Chris Bright

About the writer

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.


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