Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   Need advice on possible CNS/Reef/Skyrail itinerary (

dave_261 Nov 19th, 2005 05:44 PM

Need advice on possible CNS/Reef/Skyrail itinerary
OK... having some major difficulties planning our time in the Queensland Beaches/Reef area during our upcomong 2 week trip to OZ.

We'll have a total of 3 nights in this area, sandwiched between Melbourne and Sydney. After a ton of logistical planning, here's what we're thinking. I'm curious to see if people think this is crazy, or if it's a good use of our precious time.

- Arrive CNS at 11:50am
- Head to hotel in CNS area
- Pick-up by Skyrail shuttle around 1:30pm
- Experience Skyrail/Kuranda until closing time at 5:15pm
- Head back to CNS for dinner and walk around town

- Pick-up by Dunk Island shuttle (Mission Beach Connection) around 7:30 am
- Take 10am boat from Mission Beach to Dunk Island
- Arrive Dunk Island around 10:45am

DAY THREE: On Dunk Island

- Take MacAir flight from from Dunk Island to CNS
- Arrive CNS at 2pm, and take 4:10pm flight to SYD

I guess it sounds like a ton on paper, but we did want to see at least one of the area attractions before heading to the reef. We would have typically wanted to spend more time on the reef to dive, but my wife is pregnant, so we won't be diving this trip.
We had thought about going straight to Dunk Island upon our arrival in CNS, and skipping the Skyrail, but, 1) the flight from MEL gets into CNS too late to catch the shuttle to the boat to Dunk, and 2) the flight from MEL also would require a 3:30 layover at CNS before the MacAir flight to Dunk.

Anyway, hope this all makes sense... curious to see if people think this is a good plan.


myaustralia Nov 19th, 2005 08:12 PM

It is definitely not enough time to really enjoy the beauty of the area around Cairns, but because you only have a very limited amount of time, I guess the itinerary is OK.

pat_woolford Nov 20th, 2005 12:55 PM

If your flight is on time and you make the 1.30pm shuttle pick-up, this should put you at Skyrail station at at 1.50pm at the earliest. You need to allow one and a half hours for Skyrail to Kuranda to include the two rainforest "stations" which will put you in Kuranda at 3.20pm. The last Skyrail leaves Kuranda at 3.45pm, allow an hour for return trip (you'll be going over the same ground). That really leaves you virtually no time in Kuranda, so may as well take last train down (leaves Kuranda at 3.30pm), so at least scenery will be different. Train goes right into Cairns city so you won't need a shuttle pick-up on return, if you do it that way.

To save a bit of time here have a look at - they will pick you up from airport and take you directly to Skyrail terminal (about a 10 minute drive, 15 at most). They'll then take your luggage to your hotel in Cairns.

Another half day alternative is Green Island, I know it gets a lot of flak here due to large amount of visitors, but it is a true coral cay island, unlike Dunk, a continental island still quite some way from reef proper.

dave_261 Nov 20th, 2005 02:40 PM

Thanks for the replies.
Pat- Might we be best off to take the airport shuttle to the Kuranda station, and start the trip there?
Also, you mention that the train goes right into Cairns city. Are you referring to the skyrail? Or another train?

One other option I'm considering is renting a car at Cairns airport, driving to Skyrail, and then dropping the car off in Cairns that evening.
This would be considerably less expensive, would allow me to store the luggage in the car, and would hopefully get us to the skyrail by 1:30 latest.

pat_woolford Nov 20th, 2005 04:36 PM

If you could get an aiport shuttle to Kuranda at the time to suit you that would work, but you can't bring your luggage down on Skyrail.

The train which goes into Cairns city (stops before that at Freshwater Station) is the Kuranda Scenic Train. You can take a limited amount of luggage on train, none on Skyrail. The website is

By taking the train into Cairns city from Kuranda you'd be saving a one way transfer, if you come down on Skyrail, you will need the transfer back to Cairns city from Caravonica.

You could pick up a rental from Cairns airport but doubt it would costs less than one way transfers.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:04 AM.