The bus from Cairns to Kuranda was (april 2010) about A$ 5 each way, quite frequent, leaving Cairns from Lake street Transit Mall next to Shields street, arriving in Kuranda at Therwine street next to Kuranda Visitor Information Center. Kuranda is small enough for walking
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; it if were voices instead of colours, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night." Rainier Maria Rilke
The skyrail is another of the methods of reaching Kuranda or leaving for Cairns, while still providing some outlook onto the surrounding rainforest. Views are simply spectacular - perhaps better than those of the railway, and the height gain at times is incredible. You can see for miles and it really is astonishing. The skycars themselves are a fun way of travelling; much amusement can be gained from scaring other unwilling members of your car through persistent rocking - oh the hilarity! Really recommend this way of travelling, much more entertaining than a car ride and you get a really great perspective of where you are. Also a great opportunity to stop at intervening points to observe and walk around small rainforest lookouts.
"The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it." G.K.Chesterton
Kuranda Scenic Railway is a great way to transport yourself both to and from Cairns to Kuranda. It provides a great way of getting to your destination, but without missing important features and interesting aspects of the Australian landscape. Here, this 90 minute journey will take you up to 300m up over mountain and rainforest, sampling a few of the delights of such terrain. Although lengthier than other methods of reaching Kuranda, it is no problem as you won't even realise as there is so much to see along your journey.
Hire a car and self drive.
Many bus tours leave from Cairns/Northern Beaches/Port Douglas
Catch the Vintage train from Cairns or Freshwater.
Skyrail Cable car from Skyrail terminus north of Cairns.
More information will be found at the Tourist Centre in Cairns/Port Douglas or at the accommodation where you are staying.
The Kuranda Scenic Train brings you back from Kuranda to Cairns, and you can buy a combination ticket that includes the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture park, the sky-rail and the Scenic train.
It's a better way to go back to Cairns then the buss, that is for sure.
As this sky-rail can be used as a way to explore the rainforest from above, it's also a good idea to combine it with the scenic train that brings you back towards Cairns. You can get a combination ticket that includes your entry ticket into the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture park, the sky-rail and the Scenic train.
So besides a birds-eye view over the rainforest, you can visit other attractions too.
And you also pass over waterfalls, gorges and this river. Bear in mind that this is the dry season, and the region has been in drought for 4 years. It must really be spectacular in the wet season, when in 2 days the region can receive as much as Sydney's annual rainfall!
There are many ways to get to and from Kuranda, but the most famous tourist ways are the Sky Rail and the train. Many people do one one way, and the other way on the return journey (which is a good idea, as scenic and nice though the train is, it IS very slow - diesel engine, about 20 - 30 km max) and 2 ways of this might get a bit boring.
I took the Scenic Train up to the Kuranda and then jumped on the Skyrail to come down. You can go either way.
And from the Skyrail, you get a really good birds eye view from above of the rainforest below and so much more.
Parts of the train journey are very scenic indeed. I particularly like the parts where you can look back and see the train itself behind you.