Kuranda Scenic Rail
You'll discover something new and exciting every time you visit
As a Cairns local of close to 20 years, I believe it is important to explore our own backyard. We are incredibly lucky to have a village in the rainforest on our own doorstep, and unique forms of transport to access the colourful village of Kuranda. On my recent journey to the village, I enjoyed meandering through the rainforest with a couple of friends on the Kuranda Scenic Rail, Heritage class on the way up, Gold Class on the way down (more on that later!).
Kuranda Scenic Rail enables guests to experience one of the most unique rail journeys in Australia and to discover the natural beauty of a world-heritage listed rainforest that’s millions of years old. A journey onboard Kuranda Scenic Rail will allow you to get up close and personal with hundreds of plants, trees, flowers and unique creatures that inhabit this lush green paradise. My friends and I enjoyed winding our way deep into the rainforest, framed by rugged mountains. The journey passes spectacular waterfalls and the picturesque Barron Gorge.
Construction of the Cairns-Kuranda Railway was, and still is, an engineering feat of tremendous magnitude. This fascinating chapter in history of North Queensland stands as testimony to the ambitions, fortitude and suffering of the hundreds of men engaged in its construction. It also stands as a monument to the many men who lost their lives on this project. You will have plenty of opportunity to learn about this fascinating history on board the train, with commentary provided throughout the journey.
Upon arriving in Kuranda, we enjoyed a tour on the Kuranda Riverboat, featuring a 45 minute cruise through the world’s most ancient rainforest. The river is home to a host of wildlife, including freshwater crocodiles, turtles, snakes, fish and birds. Your cruise will provide you with some fantastic photo opportunities as your skipper gives you an insight into the wildlife, the rainforest and the history of Kuranda.
The original heritage markets are the main drawcard of Kuranda – enjoy a stroll through the markets to browse a wide range of aboriginal artefacts, handmade leather goods, wood, jewellery, arts and crafts. There’s a huge range of international foods to sample, with the most popular venues including Frogs Restaurant, Petit Cafe and La Fonda Latina for authentic Central and South American fare. Be sure to check out Kuranda Homemade Ice Cream for the most delicious ice cream – just keep and eye out for the red van.
Also popular for people wanting to check out local wildlife are KurandaKoala Gardens, Birdworld Kuranda and The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. For a taste of Aboriginal culture, a visit to Rainforestation Nature Park is a must, featuring Army Duck rainforest tours, the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience and the iconic animals in the Koala and Wildlife Park.
I have travelled on Skyrail on previous occasions, however on this trip I enjoyed the luxury of Gold Class for the first time. The trip features a dedicated attendant service and individual lounge-style chairs, as well as delicious local produce including Wondaree Macadamias, Gallo Dairyland Cheese, Skybury Coffee, Daintree Tea, Mango to Go, freshly baked muffins and a range of beers, wines and soft drinks.
A popular day for tourists, I recommend a day in Kuranda for locals, as you will always discover something new and exciting.
*For bookings to and from Kuranda, phone Kuranda Scenic Rail on 1800 577 245 or Skyrail on (07) 4038 5555. Heritage Markets are currently open Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 3:30pm and the Original Markets Thursday to Monday from 9:30am – 3:00pm.
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