Journey to Far North Queensland Day 4: Kuranda Train and Skyrail

Today is our final day in Cairns and yet again we are treated to dull and rainy weather. The sun was kind enough to tease us this morning as it briefly revealed itself in a shimmer over the ocean, but we didn’t allow ourselves to get our hopes up for a sunlit afternoon. It was just as well since low lying cloud and rain maintained its presence for the entire day as we explored the rainforest in Kuranda on the famous Scenic Railway and Skyrail. We choose to book a self-drive tour, allowing us to drive ourselves to the Caravonica Skyrail terminal, take the Skyrail to Kuranda, explore the rainforest village and catch the train to Freshwater Station. The tour also included a one way coach transfer from Freshwater Station back to our car parked at the Skyrail terminal.

We made for an early departure from our room in order to arrive at the Caravonica Skyrail terminal, approximately 20 minutes north of Cairns, by 10am. Unfortunately raindrops remained on the glass of the Skyrail gondolas, making it extremely difficult to capture a clear photograph of the green scenery below. The forest looked just as beautiful from a bird’s eye view as it did from within, although the fog blanketing the forest limited the expanse of the outlook from the gondola.

The view from our gondola on the Kuranda Skyrail

The first of three stops along the Skyrail was Red Peak Station. We exited the gondola and walked along the boardwalk path amongst the trees, holding umbrellas over our heads to protect ourselves from the rain. The fog made for interesting photos at this location and the rain added to the magic of the forest environment.

The forest at Red Peak Station, Kuranda Skyrail

The next stop was Barron Falls, the last of five waterfalls we visited yesterday. The vista of the falls was still stunning despite being clouded by fog. It would have been nice to see the falls behind a backdrop of sun and blue sky; however the cloudy setting created a mystical ambience to the environment. After enjoying the falls in the rain we headed back to the gondola for the final leg of the Skyrail journey to Kuranda.

Upon arrival in Kuranda, we took the opportunity to snap some photos of the iconic Kuranda train which was stationed at the station before walking to the shops in the main street. Most stores sold opals, food or souvenirs. We spent the next two hours ambling between the stores and Heritage Markets whilst battling the patchy rainfall before returning to Kuranda Station to board the 2 o’clock train to Freshwater Station.

The Kuranda train waiting at the Kuranda Railway Station

There was only one stop between Kuranda and Freshwater located at Barron Falls. We arrived just in time to see the water cascading down hundreds of metres of rock before the fog shrouded the view. The trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway was rather enjoyable. The track meandered through 15 tunnels and across many more bridges and curves. The most mesmerising part of the journey was where the train turned around a long, tight bend right in front of yet another amazing waterfall, as seen in promotional material for the railway. Travelling by train through the forest was serene and well worth the 90 minute travel time. We arrive at Freshwater Station at 3.30pm and hop onto the courtesy transfer bus back to Caravonica Skyrail terminal.

A picturesque waterfall along the route of the Kuranda Scenic Railway

Our day in the forest was a once in a lifetime experience and very pleasurable despite the fog and rain.

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