Cairns To Kuranda On Kuranda Scenic Railway
Cairns To Kuranda On Kuranda Scenic Railway
This has to be one of the most scenic, historic and dramatic rail journeys in the world. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is the perfect way to explore the rainforest on Cairns doorstep. This rail journey will appeal to history buffs, nature lovers, train enthusiasts and families alike. The Kuranda Scenic railway follows the old mining tracks built in 1891 and then winds its way through the rugged mountain landscape of the Macalister Range. You will be sitting in the original carriages, whilst being pulled by a 1960’s, 1720 Class Diesel Electric Locomotive. This is a unique way to view the amazingly picturesque rainforest, gorges and waterfalls of the Barron Falls and Barron Gorge. You certainly will be trigger happy with your camera at the amazing vistas you will be travelling through. Your journey will end in one of the most picturesque villages in Australia “the village in the rainforest” Kuranda. In Kuranda there are a variety of activities you can enjoy from visiting the famous market, to a river rainforest tour, to a butterfly sanctuary or the unique venom zoo. Your amazing rail journey will take you through 15 tunnels, traverse 98 curves and cross 40 bridges, all with a stunning view of the valleys below. Overhead audio provides a running commentary on the harsh life and hazardous work that the rail workers had to endure and the construction methods they used and the history of the railway. There is something on this day that will excite and interest everyone, whatever age, whether for families, children or adults.
Cairns To Kuranda On Kuranda Scenic Railway
You can catch the train in the morning from Cairns Station at 8.30 or 9.30 or from Freshwater Station at 8.55 or 9.55. There is ample parking if you have your own car or speak to our Tour Specialist to arrange transportation for you.
Depending which train you catch will have you arriving in Kuranda at 10.25 or 11.25. Kuranda Railway Station is located within walking distance of Kuranda and all the activities there.
Trains leave from Kuranda at 2.00 or 3.30, so you can work out your schedule and which train would be better for you to catch back. You will arrive back in Cairns at 3.55 or 5.25 in the afternoon depending on which train you catch back.
Your rail journey will take 2 hours as it climbs the steep walls of the gorge to an elevation of 330m (1082 ft). You will pass the most amazing scenery as you will see surrounding mountains, amazing waterfalls and dramatic gorges. Your ears will pop as you climb higher and you’ll notice on arrival at Kuranda that the air is slightly cooler than in the lowlands.
Marvel at man’s engineering skills as you learn how the railway was constructed against all the odds and the history of this amazing feat of construction.
You will then arrive at Kuranda.
Things to do and see in Kuranda:
Kuranda boasts the largest Butterfly in Australia, and indeed, the Southern Hemisphere. This incredible place is located only about 5 minutes walk from the Kuranda Rail Station. Under its roof you will find over 2000 butterflies and moths from a range of species. You will see the iconic Ulysses Butterfly with its electric blue wings to the rather boring named clothes moths, that is aptly named as they do just that.
Australian Venom Zoo
Arachnid and reptile lovers unite! This is a most fascinating and unique zoo – with a twist! This Venom Zoo is one of a kind in Australia and a visit here will have you seeing animals that you will never see anywhere else.
Apart from the animals here, the major function of this zoo is to collect venom from a wide range of animals that are used not only as anti-venom treatments, but is the back bone of some of the world’s most cutting edge research in molecular biology. On your tour you will learn about the basis of the research and how 65% of medicines and drugs are derived from this biology and venom.
Indigenous people throughout the world have used these as effective medicines for thousands of years. How amazing that some of the greatest cures in the world derive from some of the most deadliest animals in the world.
In the Zoo you will view a wide range of Australian Tarantulas that the zoo has been breeding since the 80’s, with a wide range of centipedes, leaf insects, scorpions and snakes. At 1pm watch the live venom milkings (call to confirm).
Kuranda Riverboat and Rainforest Tour
Located only a minute’s walk from the Kuranda Railway Station this is Kuranda’s best-kept secrets. A 45-minute boat ride with humorous and interesting interpretive commentary will show you the wildlife along the banks of the rainforest and the Barron River. You will have a chance to see basking crocodiles, freshwater crocodiles, snakes, water dragons, turtles, fish and water dragons with over 100 species of birds.
Tours depart from the Riverside landing at:
10.45am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm & 2.30pm.
Be delighted as Welcome Swallows swoop into the boat to build their nests (Aug-March) and feed their young in the boat above you.
Join their rainforest discovery walks across the river in a secluded, pristine area of this ancient tropical rainforest. See the amazing array of ferns, lianas, trees and vines that have been there unchanged for millions of years. Follow the trail of the first ever rainforest walk in Far North Queensland that dates back to the 1920’s. You might be lucky to spot the elusive Cassowary that frequents this area. Finish your tour with a refreshing cup of tea/coffee and cake by a natural spring.
Kuranda was originally inhabited in the 60’s by hippies in their communes, where they enjoyed the ‘off the grid’ living and the wonderful climate and surroundings of the rainforest. In the 1970’s artisans, artists and musicians started to gravitate towards this special place.
The local open-air Kuranda market then sold their artworks, unique craftworks and locally grown produce. Buskers entertained the visitors to these unique and eclectic markets and their reputation grew.
With improved road links more people wanting a more natural and ethical lifestyle gravitated to take up the Kuranda lifestyle. Kuranda today is a wonderful eclectic mix of art, music and creative vibes that give this village such a unique air. All underpinned with the vibe of a happy village community that is proud of its beauty and their stunning surroundings and the complete individuality of this wonderful place in the rainforest.
There are two main market centres, plus a myriad of stores lining the Main Street and alleyways, making it a bargain hunters dream. Genuine Aboriginal art galleries, leather stores and local producers are among some of the delights to be found here, along with clothing, second hand goods and souvenirs.
If you prefer a more hands-on rainforest experience, you can choose to walk one of the regions many walking trails and visit some of Kuranda’s best lookouts. Trails range from 20 minutes to 6 hours in length and suit all fitness levels.
Upgrade your Rail Class:
In Heritage Class you can enjoy your journey in the refurbished original heritage carriages crafted from red wood. These carriages are 100 years old and provide you with a unique historical experience. Also part of the experience is the stunning historical photographs depicting the hard work and tough men who made the railway happen. You will have great views and photo opportunities as the train winds itself 328 metres above sea level. You will receive a souvenir trip guide that is available in 9 languages, and during the hot summer season they provide a chilled refresher towel for your comfort. For your comfort, there are water stations and toilets located in the carriages as well.
If you choose to travel gold class, then your gold class experience begins with your arrival at Freshwater Station, where you are given a refreshing and delicious mocktail whilst you wait for the arrival of the train. Stepping aboard, you get to enjoy the comfort of lounge-style club seating. These carriages contain hand crafted finishings, historical photographs and a cedar interior. You will also enjoy your dedicated host service, which supply refreshments, alcoholic beverages and locally produced canapés included in your gold class ticket. You will also receive a souvenir trip guide available in 9 languages, a gift pack including a badge, pen and postcard, optional free tour of the heritage listed Signal Cabin at Kuranda station, and a chilled refresher towel in summer.
Please note that if you wish to upgrade to Gold Class then this is only available on the 9.30 am and 3.30 pm trains.
Included in Price
Day return ticket on Kuranda Scenic Railway
Free Wifi at Freshwater Station and Kuranda Station
For Bookings Call Now!
1300 761 612
Gold Class Upgrade
Tours or attractions in Kuranda
7 Hours (8:30am to 3:30pm)
Cairns Station at 8:30am or 9:30am Daily
Freshwater Station at 8.55am or 9.55am Daily
Days of Operation
Departs Cairns Central Station at 8.30am or 9.30am daily.
Departs Freshwater Station at 8.55am or 9.55am daily.
What To Bring
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Jacket (can be cooler in Kuranda)
Fitness Level RequiredLow
Child Fares 4-14years. Infants under 4 years are Free of Charge, however please include them in your booking request to ensure a ticket/seat is issued. Children must be accompanied by an adult while travelling on Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Kuranda Scenic Railway Departures are available from Freshwater Station at 8.55am and 9.55am. If you require your journey to start at Freshwater, please mention this on the booking form.
Cairns, Freshwater Station, Kuranda
Speak to our Specialist Tour consultant about transport to and from the Railway stations or if you would like to book any tours or activities to ensure that you make the most of the time you have when you visit Kuranda.
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2017 - 20181 Apr 17 - 31 Mar 18
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Information for Disabled Travellers
Kuranda Scenic Railway Disability Summary
Station Locations: Cairns City, Freshwater and Kuranda Village
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
- 1 wheelchair accessible toilet on board all train services and at Cairns, Freshwater and Kuranda Stations.
- Wheelchair compliant ramps at all stations.
- Wheelchair lifts onto train carriage at Freshwater and Kuranda stations, (not needed at Cairns as train level with platform).
- Maximum 4 dedicated wheelchair areas on each train located in central carriages.
- See the following Birdworld Kuranda, Koala Gardens, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforest Station Nature Park.
- No access onto the Barron Falls platform.
- Must be able to negotiate 2 – 3 steps (dependant on vehicle utilised)
- Wheelchair must be collapsible.
- Disabled Parking available at Cairns and Freshwater Stations.
- Information in braille at Cairns Station.
- Audio commentary during train journey.
- Visual information provided.
- Carer travels free, presentation of companion card required.
Caters for Visually Impaired
Yes - see information
Caters for Hearing Impaired
Yes - see information