The historic Kuranda Scenic Railway makes a 115-minute ascent through rain forest and 15 hand-hewn tunnels to pretty Kuranda village, gateway to the Atherton Tableland. Opt for a simple Heritage Class seat or splurge on a Gold Class ticket with fine local food and wine, table service, swanky decor, and a souvenir pack. Several tour packages are available, from full-day rain-forest safaris and visits to local Aboriginal centers and wildlife parks to simple round-trips combining
rail and cable-car journeys.
Cairns Railway Station, Bunda St., Cairns, Queensland, 4870, Australia
Apr 17, 2013
My spouse and I took a trip to Kuranda village in late August 2012, traveling to Kuranda (one-way) on the Kuranda Scenic Railway (KSR), with our return one-way trip on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. We checked in at the Cairns Railway Station, Platform 2, at 8:00 am. The station is located beside the Cairns Mall towards the city side, not the waterfront side. You can access the station directly from the mall if you are on the correct floor and correct
side during operating hours. The KSR reservations window does not open until 8:00 am, so do not arrive early. We tried to book and pay on-line, but we were not able to find the exact package that we wanted with the components in the order that we wanted them. We wanted to travel TO Kuranda by train and FROM Kuranda by Skyrail, because the Skyrail runs continuously, and by taking Skyrail home, we would not be forced to stay in Kuranda if we wanted to depart early. Instead of booking on-line, we e-mailed KSR to discuss our options, and they made a reservation for us. We did not have to pre-pay for our package, but rather, we paid using a credit card when we arrived at Cairns Station. Our cost for the Kuranda package was $187 per person, which included the Gold Class upgrade on the train service, Skyrail, Tjapukai, and one-way bus transfer. (In the morning, for our departure by train, we walked approximately 10 minutes to the Cairns Station ourselves rather than taking the organized shuttle bus transfer.) The train departs Cairns at 8:30 am and takes approximately two hours to reach Kuranda, including two stops. The first stop is at Freshwater Station (to pick up passengers), and the second stop is at Barron Falls Station (where all passengers can disembark and walk around for a few minutes). The train arrives at Kuranda Station at approximately 10:30 am. There are restrooms on the train, and also at Kuranda Station, as well as in the town of Kuranda itself. We chose to upgrade our train service to Gold Class, which seemed worthwhile. The upgraded tickets provided more comfortable and spacious seating, plus we received a substantial snack and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and the carriage attendant was quite generous with what he served. We each received a postcard and a souvenir pen, and we were told that the train company would stamp and mail our postcards for us, which they did. It is a small gesture that makes a nice impression! Seating is in club chairs in groupings of four on one side of the train car, so two passengers ride facing forward and two passengers ride facing backward. On the other side of the train car, club chairs are grouped in twos, with one passenger forward and one passenger backward. The car was not filled to capacity on the day that we traveled, and we were able to spread out so that each couple had their own group of seats and so that no one had to ride backwards if they did not wish to do so. (Initially, the train company assigned the seating from back to front, filling up every seat in the back of the car and filling no seats in the front of the car, so we were glad that we could change our positions when it became clear that the carriage was not sold out.) The train windows open for air circulation. There are several TVs positioned throughout the car that show informational/documentary films about the construction of the railroad, and a verbal commentary is provided separate from the film. (Please see our other review of the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for related information.)