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Kuranda Scenic Railway Review

Updated on February 14, 2015
All Aboard - Kuranda Scenic Rail Carriage
All Aboard - Kuranda Scenic Rail Carriage

Kuranda Scenic Railway Review - Ticket Information

Tickets for the Kuranda Scenic Railway journey are approximately $60 for adults, $30 for children and $155 for a family for a return fare. I would suggest buying a one-way ticket which would allow you to decide on whether you want to return via the Kuranda Scenic Railway or by Sky Rail gondola to enjoy even more spectacular views from above the rainforest. Of course if you left your car at the Freshwater Train Station, you would need to return there.

There are also deals available which include the train ride and entry to Kuranda Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda.

The train leaves from Cairns Railway Station every morning (except Christmas Day) at 8.30am and from Freshwater Station 20 mins later. If you are not an early bird, you may want to sleep in and catch the second train service of the day which leaves Cairns Station at 9.30am. Either way it’s a great way to enjoy the day!

Tickets are available at the train station.

Cairns Best Attraction, North Queensland

The Kuranda Scenic Railway was originally built in 1882 for the purpose of taking food and other essential supplies to the miners of Herberton, from Cairns in North Queensland, Australia. The miners were often cut off from supply lines due to heavy flooding and were on the verge of starvation many times.

These days the railway line is no longer used for regular commuter trains. Instead it is only available as a tourist attraction as it takes visitors on a journey which winds its way up the Macalister Range through 15 tunnels and over 36 bridges. The historic carriages take visitors to the region in comfort as the train travels the 90-minute journey between Cairns and Kuranda, stopping briefly at Freshwater Station to pick up more guests.

Barron Gorge National Park

Along the way passengers can listen to an informative commentary and enjoy the many historical pictures on the walls of the carriages. Passengers also receive a printed brochure which includes interesting written information on the history of the railways construction, a trip map and a map of Kuranda township and markets.

The railway rises to 350 metres above sea level and there are spectacular views from the open-air windows. There is a warning to passengers who are reminded not to lean out due to the danger of approaching tunnels and rocky outcrops. It is vitally important to heed the warnings for your safety. The train stops for approximately 15 minutes at Stoney Creek falls where there are some amazing photo opportunities.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is 37 kilometres long (23 miles) and intricately navigates the World Heritage listed rainforest of the Barron Gorge National Park. You can’t help but marvel at the work which was carried out over 100 years ago, by men using only basic hand tools.

Stopping to take in the sights of the magnificent Barron Falls.
Stopping to take in the sights of the magnificent Barron Falls.

Kuranda Markets

Once you arrive in Kuranda, there is plenty of time to explore the quaint village which is full of unique artisan markets, interesting boutiques, picnic areas, Birdworld, Koala Gardens, and the Butterfly Sanctuary before boarding the Kuranda Scenic Railway back to Cairns.

Alternatively you can catch a Sky Rail cable car gondola back to Cairns which drops you off at the Cairns suburb of Caravonica adjacent to two other world class Cairns attractions: Cairns Water Ski Gardens and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Public transport or taxis are available back to Cairns city if required.

Kuranda / Cairns Sky Rail
Kuranda / Cairns Sky Rail
Helen and Sharon enjoying the train ride!
Helen and Sharon enjoying the train ride!
A markerKuranda, Queensland -
Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia
get directions


Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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    • aboutaustralia profile image

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      I'm sure you would not be disappointed Milli. It is such a great day out with plenty to see and do in Kuranda as well.

      Thank you very much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Sharon

    • profile image

      Milli Thornton 5 years ago

      I would so love to ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway, and my husband would too. I would definitely opt to ride the Sky Rail back to Cairns for views of the rainforest from above.

      Loved your photos, especially the one taken at Barron Falls station. Thank you for sharing this with us. Beautiful Hub!