Kuranda Scenic Railway, Cairns

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 Reviews

Bunda St, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia +61 7 4036 9333

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  • Barron Falls from Kuranda Scenic Railway
    Barron Falls from Kuranda Scenic Railway
    by Usctwin
  • aussirose at Kuranda Skyrail, Cairns
    aussirose at Kuranda Skyrail, Cairns
    by aussirose
  • Usctwin and baby with aussirose on Kuranda Skyrail
    Usctwin and baby with aussirose on...
    by aussirose
  • Usctwin's Profile Photo

    Great Way to See the Rainforest

    by Usctwin Updated Oct 3, 2014

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are a 3 primary ways to get to Kuranda village - Skyrail, automobile and the Kuranda Scenic Railway. These are also the options for the return trip.

    We chose to take the Kuranda Scenic Railway on the way up. A shuttle picked us up from our hotel and took us to the Cairns Station for our 9:30am departure. The journey takes approximately 2 hours including a 10 minute stop at Barron Falls station and lookout for a fantastic view of the Barron Falls.

    Throughout the journey, audio plays telling you of the history of the railway, which began construction in 1886. up to 1500 men armed with only picks, shovels and dynamite created the railway. It was interesting to learn that at one point, these men needed to provide these tools in order to get this job. Commentary is available in English, Japanese, Mandarin, and German.

    The Heritage Class (general seating) is $49 one way, or $74 round trip. We opted to take the train up and Skyrail down which was $120 AUD total.

    Kuranda Scenic Railway Kuranda Scenic Railway Kuranda Scenic Railway Kuranda Scenic Railway Barron Falls from Kuranda Scenic Railway

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  • aussirose's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail

    by aussirose Updated Sep 15, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is definitely a 'must do' when visiting Cairns. We had a fantastic day out!!
    We went up on the train and back down on the skyrail. There are various ways to get there and various packages. The train even has a gold car service if you want to pay the extra.

    I love Kuranda with its quaint little shops and beautiful railway station. It's kind of like a little hippy town with it's lovely art and craft shops. The pub down towards the railway station is nice to hang out in for an refreshing ale before heading back. I even managed to find some rocks to by for the grandson. I am hoping to start him off with a little rock collection :o)

    Check out the site below for bookings.

    Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail by aussirose Fantastic view from Kuranda skyrail by aussirose aussirose at Kuranda Skyrail, Cairns Usctwin and baby with aussirose on Kuranda Skyrail Kuranda steam train by aussirose
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    Kuranda Scenic Railway

    by sirgaw Updated May 2, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As I’m a volunteer conductor on Melbourne’s iconic Puffing Billy Railway, it was compulsory that I ride and enjoy the experience of the Kuranda Scenic Railway. I had pre-booked tickets from Melbourne, but judging on the number of people on the train, I didn’t need to bother – perhaps I was there on a quiet day.

    We decided to “lash out” and travel first class for the forward journey and heritage class for the return. Whilst I would have liked to combine the train with the Skyrail, sadly Lady Gaw is a wimp when it comes to such overhead rides and experiences.

    We boarded the train and settled in to the luxury of first class (called Gold Class) from Cairns that left at 9.30am. We headed through the suburbs of the city while peering into private back gardens, past the international airport before we arrived at what is considered the main station of Freshwater, which looked like a sleepy hamlet that only came to life with the arrival of each train – then the real fun started.

    The train line was an engineering and rail building challenge as it was originally built in a number of stages from Cairns to the gold mining area of Herberton and finally completed in 1910. Perhaps the most difficult section of the line is through the Barron Gorge, which meant a large number of tunnels, very sharp bends and bridges all had to be built. It is a very spectacular trip to the terminus of the scenic railway at the small and I think over-rated town of Kuranda. We enjoyed the ride while nibbling away on the pastries as supplied in Gold Class. There was a stop and a chance to get out and enjoy the panoramic view of the Barron River Falls.

    We explored the town of Kuranda before returning to the spectacular railway station and then the trip back to Cairns in Heritage Class.

    I felt the Gold Class was overpriced at $46 per person. It did include a selection of drinks, various savories, sweet treats and finally coffee or tea as well as a souvenir pack containing a pen, brass hat or lapel badge and a postcard. I would have liked to travel on the scenic railway when the river was in full flow over the spectacular falls. Heritage class offers harder seats, less panoramic windows and no in-train catering. There are toilets and a water cooler in all carriages.

    Overall a great experience and particularly for the train buffs like me.

    About the photos:
    1. Two locomotives and part of the string of carriages crossing the famous Stoney Creek Bridge.
    2. Interior of the Gold Class carriage - opposite direction is catering section.
    3. Barron Falls - would love to see in full flood.
    4. Robb's Monument - 2 large rock formations left in place as a monument to those who built the line.
    5. Up close and personal with the hard working locos - and note the sign celebrating 120 years of train service on the line.

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  • Kuranda Skyrail is great!

    by MissyLiss Written Nov 11, 2011

    Cairns is a bustling place and the drivers can be crazy so be careful when driving.

    Would recommend the Kuranda Skyrail experience. Was a great day out and you can also purchase a 3 park pass for the Koala Gardens, Birdworld and Butterfly Sanctuary on top. Kuranda is a small place but it's very lovely and the people are great. If you don't like birds don't go to Birdworld as they are 'loose' and will land on you. I barely managed to avoid the bloody Macaw aiming for my shoulder!! DON'T do the train back it is boring and unnecessary and expensive at $110 for a family one way. It's also 90 minutes long (yawn) so just do the Skyrail both ways unless you absolutely LOVE trains.

    The Botanical Gardens are nice but not essential.

    There is a huge shopping mall there with many many shops. It's not a shopping destination but you would be able to find anything you needed there.

    We didn't go out on the Great Barrier Reef as we were told by locals the reef is only really good if you can scuba dive. Heard a horror story at the airport on the way back about a 20 min guided tour of the reef for those snorkelling and the focus was mainly if not solely on those wanting to dive.

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    Historic Train to Kuranda

    by wise23girl Updated Sep 23, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well we think the best option is to go up by the historic rail and come back by Sky Rail. But if you go by train pay the extra and upgrade to Gold Class .....two special carriages....drinks served...room to move...it is well worth it.

    The scenic train does leave from Cairns main station(but read on) so you can book and leave from there yourself. You can book Gold Class here. Otherwise be sure to mention you want Gold to the tour organizer at your hotel or whereever you book..
    Most of the tour groups, if not all, take their clients out to Freshwater Station...charming place with a museum and all. This is not too far from where the Skyrail comes in.

    Just be sure you know if your tour picks you up at the completion of your day...some only take you to the train and as the SkyRail is a little out of town you will want to know how to get back to your accommodation if you opt to come back this way.

    The trains are not as frequent as the SkyRail which runs continuously ...so choose your train time to go and come back anytime within the operating hours.

    We board at Freshwater. Views on the way up. Gold Class The Kuranda station Coming Down with SkyRail
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    RIDE THE SCENIC TRAIN TO KURANDA

    by DennyP Updated Sep 6, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When in Cairns I finally got to ride the quite locally famous "Scenic" train to the small rainforrest town of Kuranda..Althoughth only a short journey of 37 kilometers and taking (about 45 minutes) the train meanders through some of the most wonderful scenery ,crossing many bridges(37), and also passing many splendid waterfalls, while traveling through fifteen tunnels and 98 curves and cuttings. The train makes a few stops along the way for locals.. and gently climbs 328 meters to the top of the range where the journey terminates in The lovely rainforrest town of Kuranda..The best stop along the way is that at "The Barron Falls" and this is a very spectacular location especially after heavy rain as the falls can be huge..There is time here (about 15 minutes) to obtain some great photos..This when it was built must have been a really difficult piece of construction....The train livery is done out in the aboriginal dreamtime and is not only colourful but very striking..Make sure that your camera batteries are charged for this journey as it is quite spectacular..There is an option of either doing a return journey OR catching the local bus back to Cairns city also you can get the Skytrain and then a bus to the city..I looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed this little scenic train journey and recommend it to all .

    CROSSING ONE OF THE MANY LOVELY OLD BRIDGES CAIRNS CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION BARRON FALLS TRAVELING THROUGH THE HINTERLAND KURANDA RAILWAY STATION
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  • pugwashman's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Skyrail

    by pugwashman Updated Feb 11, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Kuranda Skyrail offers a unique way of seeing the rainforest, as the Sky gondolas transport you right over and sometimes inbetween the trees. We took the trip from the Caravonica Station in the Cairns flatlands to the Kuranda Station up in the Rainforest. There are a number of stations on the way up that you can get off at, each one offering a slightly different experience from Rainforest boardwalks to the Barron Falls waterfall. It gets interesting as the gondola dangles out over the Barron River but as long as you don't think too hard about the crocs waiting in the water below you'll be fine !

    Skyrail Gondolas at Red Beak Station Skyrail Gondola at Caravonica station Skyrail Gondola at Barron River crossing Barron Falls lookout
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    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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  • dancinbudgie's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Village, Railway and Skyway

    by dancinbudgie Written Mar 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The village of Kuranda is a great destination for a daytrip. It seems to have attracted all kinds of arty people...so the kids went crazy trying to decide on souveneirs. There was aboriginal art and artifacts, pottery, glassblowing and all manner of crafts to choose from. In the end they had carictatures done by a local artist, which were great.
    The scenic railway up was excellent...even I was too enthralled to bother being scared of heights but the cable car down scared the pants off me! great views though...if you can look!

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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Family Travel

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  • lisha74's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Sky Rail

    by lisha74 Written Apr 7, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I'd definitely recommend this as the best way to see the rainforest. The Sky Rail runs from Cairns to Kuranda (both directions) and you can take it either way you choose, or even roundtrip. I took the ride from Kuranda back to Cairns. It's unbelieveable how high above ground you are, and the views are breathtaking! There are also two lookout points where you can get off to walk through the rainforest a bit before hopping back on to continue your journey.

    Barron Gorge in the rainforest A SkyRail car coming into a disembarking station

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  • rhondav_2004's Profile Photo

    Kuranda

    by rhondav_2004 Written Jan 9, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Take the skyrail or the train (or both) through the rainforest to the town of Kuranda. Shopping is the main activity here, although you can go to the Butterfly sanctuary, or the Kuala Gardens and hold a kuala for a photo op. Fun day trip!

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    • Theme Park Trips

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  • rhondav_2004's Profile Photo

    Kuranda

    by rhondav_2004 Written Jan 9, 2006

    Take the skyrail or the train (or both) through the rainforest to the town of Kuranda. Shopping is the main activity here, although you can go to the Butterfly sanctuary, or the Kuala Gardens and hold a kuala for a photo op. Fun day trip!

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  • bumpychick's Profile Photo

    Kuranda

    by bumpychick Written Nov 21, 2005

    Take a trip on the scenic railway to Kuranda. It is a very 'tourist orientated' town in the mountains, but very interesting all the same. If you go on an organised tour your time is limited, so it might be better to get their under your own steam. Once you have seen everything you can take the cable car all the way down, which is an excellent experience in itself.

    Waterfall on the way to Kuranda
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  • pugwashman's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Railway

    by pugwashman Written Dec 10, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Kuranda Railway winds its way slowly (heed the warning) from Kuranda Village down to Cairns, following closely the route of the Barron falls River. Originally built to transport miners, the train is now a major tourist attraction. Most visitors to Kuranda go one way on the Skyrail and one way on the Railway (you can get combined tickets from either end). We went up on the Skyrail and down on the Railway. Although it's slow it's very relaxing and you get to see some glorious scenery on the way, including the Barron and Stoney Creek Falls.

    Train approaching Stoney Creek Falls Barron Falls from the train Train at Kuranda station
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  • AcornMan's Profile Photo

    Kuranda Scenic Train Ride

    by AcornMan Written Apr 24, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One nice way to tour the scenic area inland from Cairns is to take a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Train. After climbing just a short distance in elevation the landscape becomes more dramatic, with steep rocky hillsides and dense vegetation.

    The train leaves from Cairns and travels past Freshwater, Stoney Creek, and then finally to Kuranda. Now there is evidently a sky train at Kuranda too, though it was only in the planning stages when I was there.

    Train on Stony Creek Bridge

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  • pmarshuk's Profile Photo

    Kuranda

    by pmarshuk Updated Sep 9, 2003

    Take a day trip up to Kuranda to see more rainforests. I travelled up on the skyrail and back by train. Although parts of the rail journey had great views it was nothing compared to what you can see from the cable cars.
    Kuranda itself has a sizeable market with stalls selling lots of craft stuff. However it was fairly quiet when I was there - no buzz or excitement around the place.

    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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