Enjoy a day traveling to and from Kuranda Village with the Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
Nestled in the heart of tropical North Queensland lies the picturesque village of Kuranda, just 25 kilometres away from Cairns. Kuranda is a magnet for visitors from around the world. Visitors can enjoy this stunning location via the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which offers an unparalleled experience.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
The Kuranda Scenic Railway departs Cairns Railway Station twice daily at 8.30 am and 9.30 am. The train stops en-route at the Freshwater Historical Railway Station, also known as Freshwater Connection. Here, visitors can explore a railway museum, pioneer cottage, and a café where they can savour a hearty breakfast. The station is an attraction in itself, and it is highly recommended that visitors depart or return to this station.
From Freshwater Railway Station, the Kuranda Scenic Rail & Skyrail package tours pick up visitors from Cairns hotels starting at 7.30 am and 8.30 am. They take guests to Freshwater Connection in plenty of time to meet the train. Alternatively, if visitors prefer to take the Kuranda Scenic Rail Train in the afternoon, there are two departures at 2 pm and 3.30 pm from Kuranda. This will get you back to Freshwater Station at 3.30 pm and 5 pm with coaches meeting these trains. The afternoon train is popular for guests who book the Gold Class upgrade, which includes beverages and morning or afternoon tea.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to make its way up the mountain range through Barron Gorge National Park. During the journey, visitors travel past waterfalls, over 40 bridges, through 15 hand-carved tunnels, and tropical rainforest, stopping at the scenic Barron Falls for a photo opportunity. The views over Cairns are spectactular.
We offer a variety of packages to suit everyone. All of these Kuranda tours need to be pre-booked. Coaches are for pre-booked passengers only, and there is no regular local bus service.
Once in Kuranda, there is an abundance of activities to enjoy. Visitors can shop at the famous markets, explore wildlife attractions including Butterfly Sanctuary, Bird World, and Koala Gardens, and take the Kuranda River Cruise.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a 14 km cableway that runs like a ski gondola. There are many gondolas, and they arrive every 40 seconds. It is recommended to allow 1.5 hours to go down the mountain. There are two stations on Skyrail where visitors can wander through World Heritage rainforest.
There are many different tour variations to fit visitors' schedules. For example, those who prefer to sleep in can opt for a later hotel pickup, go up on Skyrail, and come back down the mountain on the Kuranda Train.
Self-drive Kuranda Scenic Rail & Skyrail Packages
For people who have their own car, it is possible to book the Kuranda Train and Skyrail self-drive tour option. This involves driving your car to the Skyrail Station and parking it for free for the day. A coach driver then picks you up here and drives you over to the Freshwater Station, where you can explore the station, head up to Kuranda on the train, spend the day in Kuranda, then come down the mountain on the Skyrail at your leisure and jump in your car and
Kuranda Village is a vibrant little town surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest, located just 25km north-west from Cairns on the Atherton Tablelands. This unique rainforest village put its mark on the map initially in the 1960's, as the hippie generation embraced the alternative lifestyle. As new settlers arrived they brought along with them a range of artistic talents and imagination, establishing Kuranda as an arts and crafts nexus. The Kuranda Markets soon followed with the opening of the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets in 1978 aimed at attracting visitors to Kuranda. Open-air market stalls sold arts, crafts and local home-grown produce, whilst buskers and fortune-tellers entertained the crowds.
Over the years, Kuranda has become recognised a great place to shop. The markets are still a main attraction of the village today, and with the added wildlife attractions, restaurants, cafes & bars, plus the famous scenic Kuranda Train and Skyrail, the community continues to prosper.
Getting to Kuranda is all part of the experience and one that you will cherish onboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Rising from sea level to 328m, the journey to Kuranda passes through World Heritage protected tropical rainforest, spectacular waterfalls and along the awesome Barron Gorge. Authentic timber carriages will transport you on the journey through 15 hand-hewn tunnels and across 37 bridges, that stand as a monument to the pioneers of tropical North Queensland. Travel time is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes from Cairns to Kuranda with two morning departures from either Cairns Railway Station or Freshwater Station and two afternoon departures from Kuranda Station. Make sure you put some time aside to explore the delightful Kuranda Station, featuring heritage-listed buildings that blend with the tropical surroundings. The Kuranda Railway Tea Rooms at the station is a great opportunity to rest, have a refreshment and enjoy the surrounds.
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a spectacular experience allowing guests a unique opportunity to observe the rainforest from above and below. Stretching 7.5km from Cairns to Kuranda, the Skyrail gondolas glide just metres above the tropical rainforest canopy before descending through the canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest at Skyrail’s two rainforest mid-stations - Red Peak and Barron Falls. Here you can explore the forest on boardwalks and easy access walkways. Complimentary Ranger guided boardwalk tours operate regularly at Red Peak Station, and Barron Falls Station features a fascinating Rainforest Interpretation Centre and spectacular look-outs.
The journey in total takes 1.5hrs one way with the gondolas operating continuously throughout the day. Each gondola seats up to 6 people and is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. The gondola cabins can accommodate most standard type wheelchairs or Skyrail can provide the complimentary use of a wheelchair (subject to availability) during the experience. There are 32 tower sites in total with the highest being 40.5 metres (133 feet) high. Red Peak is Skyrail’s highest station at 545 metres above sea level (1,788 feet). The Kuranda Station sits at 336 metres (1,100 feet) and Caravonica Terminal is only 5 metres above sea level (16 feet). Skyrail is spectacular on a fine day and sensational in the wet. Travelling through the mist in your fully enclosed gondola cabin, you will see the rainforest come to life in the rain. This amazing experience is not to be missed, and remains the most environmentally sensitive cableway project in the world.
Kuranda is famous for its markets. The Village features two market locations - the Original Markets and the Heritage Markets, both of which are open every day of the year.
The Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets began in 1978 led by a group of local arts & crafts people looking to attract visitors to Kuranda. Today the Original Markets has retained its atmosphere, with many local artists and personalities still involved 25 – 30 years on. Renovated in 2005, this market has lost none of its rustic charm with a strong eco-conscious focus on organic, recycled, natural, holistic and remedial products.
The Kuranda Heritage Markets has been established for over 20 years and is home to the Kuranda Wildlife Experience where you can enjoy a combined day visiting the Kuranda Koala Gardens, Birdworld Kuranda and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Locally designed and produced clothing, Aboriginal arts and crafts, Australian made adventure wear as well as quality Akubra hats, whips, belts and accessories are just some of the goods to be found within this open plan, undercover complex. Local Aboriginal tribes design and manufacture many of the Didgeridoos and boomerangs that you will see available at the Kuranda Heritage Markets. Best buys are the hand-made local products and quality Australiana such as opals, wood-art, didgeridoos and other authentic Aboriginal artifacts.
The rainforest is now easily accessible to walkers with the opening of six new walking tracks in and around the rainforest village. The Kuranda Rainforest Story walks, part of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network, are all linked and each provide a different experience.
The Jumrum Creek Walk is an easy 30 minute walk that descends to the crossing over Jumrum Creek and climbs gently up to Barron Falls Road. Visitors can retrace their steps or link onto the well sign-posted Kuranda village circuit walk, which continues along the Jungle and River walks to the railway station and returns through the village to complete the circuit.
The Village Walk saunters up from the Skyrail Terminal & Kuranda Train Station, where you can wander at your leisure amongst the shops, markets stalls, cafes and restaurants.
The River Walk is a pleasant 30 minute riverside stroll along a tree-shaded esplanade, this connects to the start of Jungle Walk.
The Barron Falls Road Walk travels through a green tunnel along Barron Falls Road, finishing at the Barron Falls lookout – a 200 metre deep gorge in the middle of the rainforest offering sensational views. Best time to visit is during the wet season after a deluge of monsoonal rain when the Barron Falls puts on a spectacular show.
The Jungle Walk is a short 20 minute link walk to the Barron River, that passes through a regenerating forest, showing how quickly rainforest can re-establish in a cleared area.
The Kuranda Backstreets Walk will take you behind the main street to see how Kuranda lives – from the Djabugay to the families of the pioneer settlers to the more recent arrivals. View local architecture that ranges from traditional tropical colonial to homemade to more modern styles.
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia. Home to over 1500 magnificent tropical butterflies including the blue Ulysses, Cairns Birdwing and Red Lacewing, which are all free to flutter amidst this all-weather rainforest environment. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary breeds its butterflies from eggs laid naturally in the huge aviary, this provides them with not only all the eggs they need in order to maintain their usual population of between 1500 and 2000 butterflies, but also enough in surplus to supply other breeders in Australia - including the Melbourne Zoo butterfly house.
Take a visit to the "engine room" of the butterfly sanctuary, the caterpillars breeding nursery, where you’ll see the caterpillars in their various stages of development and also get to see where some of the newly emerged butterflies “hang out” before being released into the main aviary. A 35 minute guided tour will take you through the aviary and laboratory where you can learn about the butterfly's life cycle and behaviour. Remember to wear brightly coloured clothes on the day, butterflies are attracted to bright colours!
Set right in the heart of Kuranda Village within the Heritage Markets, the Kuranda Koala Gardens is a beautiful boutique wildlife park where visitors can cuddle a koala, sit down beside wallabies and get very close to some iconic Aussie animals. This intimate little park is an easy attraction to tag into your Kuranda day, and perfect as a family-friendly activity.
A popular highlight for visitors is the opportunity to cuddle a koala for a treasured souvenir photo. Also on display are wombats, freshwater crocodiles and lizards, monitors and other reptiles including snakes! Kuranda Koala Gardens offers a unique 'up close' experience with pythons where you can enter their domain in Australia's first 'Walk Through Snake House'. Allocate yourself about 30 minutes to take a good look around the park. You can also combine a visit here with the adjacent Birdworld and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary as part of the Kuranda Wildlife Experience pass.
Just a brief walk from the Koala Gardens is Birdworld Kuranda. Naturally landscaped with waterfalls, ponds, exotic and native plants; Birdworld Kuranda replicates the natural habitats of almost 80 species that freely roam this unque rainforest immersion exhibit. Spot cassowaries, increasingly rare in the wild, as well as bowerbirds, parrots and lorikeets. You’ll also see international visitors such as South American macaws, and have the chance to hand-feed rainbow lorikeets, cheeky cockatoos and other Australian birds. Birdworld provides a wonderful interactive and pleasant experience as the birds fly freely in the sanctuary. All birds have had regular contact with humans, and as a result are very tame, you can even hand feed them and get some great close up photos to prove it. Bird food is available for purchase on entry.
Birdworld Kuranda is open from 9.00am to 4.00pm daily, 7 days a week. The sanctuary is nestled within the Heritage Markets and connected by walkways to both the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Koala Gardens, so you can easily complete the whole Kuranda Wildlife Experience in a day.
Rainforestation offers a little bit of everything - rainforest, wildlife, culture - to complete a tropical north experience.
The Army Duck Rainforest Tours allow you to experience the tropical rainforest from a totally unique perspective both on land and water. Rainforestation has 12 original World War II Army Duck vehicles, that traverse part of the property on a 45 minute guided rainforest tour. Your knowledgeable Duck Captain / Guide will point out and explain ferns, orchids, strangler figs and stinging trees, as well as birds such as the Azure Kingfisher and a host of other animals and reptiles.
Handfeed the free roaming kangaroos and wallabies in the wildlife park. Observe the tiger quoll, and the endangered cassowary, see wombats and lace monitors, and view local snakes and other reptiles. A guided tour of the Wildlife Park will provide an indepth summary of all of the animal species, and describe the quirky traits of the individual animals themselves.
The Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience takes approximately 1 hour, including the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance Show held in the Rainforest Amphitheatre, and the Dreamtime Walk. This natural rainforest setting provides a beautiful backdrop for The Pamagirri Corroboree; a traditional dance performance depicting aspects of indigenous culture including animals, food gathering and hunting.
Rainforestation is situated five minutes from Kuranda Village, with shuttle-buses frequently departing for the short transfer. This attraction offers a wonderful, fun family experience and is perfect for those short of time and wanting the complete experience in one package.
Both the historic Kuranda train and the Skyrail cableway provide spectacular views of the Gorge and the Barron River far below. The Kuranda train travels right past the falls and stops at to give it's passengers a birds eye view.
The Barron Falls (Din Din) Lookout walk begins with an elevated boardwalk traversing the rainforest just below the canopy. It then winds its way down the hill past several lookout points and rest stops to the lookout area which also acts as a railway platform. The walk is well maintained, accessible to all, and is a wonderful way to view these huge falls. In the rainy season, you may be enveloped by a cloud of mist from the falls. Informative displays describing the area's Aboriginal and European cultural heritage are located at the beginning and end of this 600 metre walk.