Day Trips / Queensland

A Day Trip Through The Mountains: Cairns to Kuranda

Expectations are a funny thing. They can make you excited and prepare you for what you’re about to experience.  They can also leave you very disappointed.

Everytime I travel, as much as I try and leave my expectations at home, they always follow me and I become nervous as my worst fear is being disappointed by something I have been waiting to experience.

I had always placed thoughts of Carins alongside images of the Skyrail. It become a must do item on my travel list and my main reason for wanting to visit Tropical North Queensland. With so many amazing attractions up north, I understand it is a bit bizarre how much emphasis I did place on this singular experience, but it just looked like such an awesome thing to do!

I am scared of a lot of things, but heights has never been one of them. The view from the top is always the best, so I always find myself wanting to climb higher, to get closer to the sky to see the world from above. The Skyrail certainly allowed me to fulfill that need, but I am getting ahead of myself.

This journey begins at Freshwater Station, just outside of Cairns, and after being picked up at our accommodation by Down Under Tours we arrived at the station ready to board the Kuranda Scenic Rail.

Travelling through the mountains, taking is the epic scenery that surrounds you on an old train really is a sensational way to spend a few hours. Travel is always about the people you meet along the way, and our journey was enhanced by the words of a stranger telling us to never stop travelling.  

I spent most of the trip up the mountain towards Kuranda, marvelling at the natural landscape and the determination of the human spirit to build such a train line that wove along the edge, over countless bridges and through tight tunnels. My camera and I never left the open window!

Our journey took us past a few amazing waterfalls with a stop at Barron Falls to get off the train and take a few photographs. Even though the falls were low due to the lack of rain this season, they were still quite impressive!

I don’t always have to much advice to give but one thing I would recommend is not doing this journey in summer. The train cars are air conditioned by natures breeze and those vinyl seats would heat up fast!! Tropical North Queensland gives another meaning to the word ‘hot’. And don’t forget about the humidity! Late April was actually a pretty perfect time to visit.

Once in Kuranda we had some free time to enjoy the tropical town. What better way to enjoy it than wandering through the rainforest walking tracks followed by a reward for your efforts with a double scoop from one of the many gelato shops!

The next stop on our tour was a visit to Rainforestaion Nature Park to learn a little about the rainforest and the native Australian animals. This nature park allows you to get up close and personal with the animals as the wallabies and kangaroos hop around the open area. I actually enjoyed my visit there a lot more than I had expected and found it overshadowed the ride on the Army Aquaduck which was what I had thought I would enjoy more.

After getting our quota of cute animal photos we were back at Kuranda, ready to jump on the Skyrail! Getting on and off cable cars has to be one of the most awkward things to do, not to mention I had a pounding headache (later to be revealed was due to my lack of coffee intake for the day….yes I am addicted) but on I jumped and up we went!

I have been on a few cable car rides but this has to be the biggest and most impressive. It lives up to it’s name and takes you soaring above the rainforest giving you a bird’s eye perspective of Barron gorge and the falls. There were even 2 stops along the way allowing you to get off and walk along a little boardwalk to some spectacular lookout spot. This 7.5km journey takes around 40 minutes, plus the time you take at the stops soaking up the views.

So what of those expectations? I can safely say that they were exceeded and even though the day before I had been snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, I still think my Skyrail experience topped my trip to Cairns!

Have you been to Cairns and experienced the Skyrail? What experience exceeded your expectations?

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