Your visit to Cairns is not complete without riding on the world-famous Kuranda Train. This is an inspiring and relaxing way to spend the day.
The train ride to Kuranda is about an hour and 45 minutes and takes you up the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range through magnificent scenery.
Catching the train at Freshwater Station
The train winds its way along deep gorges clothed in luxuriant rainforest, past gushing streams and waterfalls.
This is some of the best rainforest you’ll see in Tropical North Queensland.
Work on the railway began in 1882 when tin miners at Herberton (highest
town in Queensland) were cut off from supplies by flooding and nearly
died of starvation.
The line was completed 9 years later in June 1891 and is now one of the great railway journeys of the world.
We did the journey years ago when my eldest daughter was just three years old and again a few weeks ago when a friend was visiting from England.
This is an opportunity for spectacular photos so please don’t forget your camera!
There are two trains going up each day and two trains coming down:
- Leaves Cairns Station daily at 8.30am & 9.30am
- Leaves Freshwater Station daily at 8.50am & 9.50am
- Leaves Kuranda Station daily at 2.00pm & 3.30pm
For a truly amazing day, go up on the train and come down on Skyrail. Or you could do it the other way round – go up on Skyrail and come down on the train.
Barron Falls Lookout
Most people prefer to go down by Skyrail because that way you’re facing the ocean and you get amazing views of the rainforest with the Cairns coast as a backdrop.
However, if you prefer to avoid crowds, you might want to do it the other way around.
The tour operators send people up on the train and down by Skyrail which means that the train going up is very often full.
So if you want to do the train ride in peace and quiet it might be better to come up by Skyrail and go down by train (the train is often three-quarters empty on the way down).
The train journey to Kuranda begins at the railway station at Cairns Central Shopping Centre (ground floor) but most people catch the Kuranda train a few kilometres further on at the Freshwater Station.
The advantage of catching the Kuranda Scenic Railway at Freshwater is that the Freshwater Station has a restaurant that provides a delicious breakfast with coffee which you can enjoy as the train goes up the Range.