Cairns and its surrounding regions are beautiful to explore and when given the chance to rise above the rainforest with a ride on Cairns Skyrail, I was excited to see this unique perspective. The Skyrail is one of the most popular attractions in the region and is an adventurous and scenic way to travel up the mountain to visit Kuranda, the Village in the Rainforest.
I recently went on an adventure with Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to explore the luscious rainforest and see all the region and this experience has to offer. Once you’ve arrived in the luscious rainforest surrounds, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty and ready to explore it as I was.
How to get there
By car: Skyrail is located around a 30-minute drive to the north of Cairns and is reached easily by car.
By tour: If you don’t have your own car you can book yourself onto a day tour that ventures from the heart of Cairns to the front door of Skyrail.
- Open air canopy glider
- Incredible views
- Friendly and experienced rangers
- Delicious lunch at Kuranda Hotel
- Modern, safe & scenic gondolas
- Views of the cascading Barron Falls
What you’ll do
Rise above the Rainforest
Hopping on the Cairns Skyrail is like stepping into another world, one inspired by the famous movie, Jurassic Park. Upon our arrival at Skyrail Cairns, we were met with a cold rainy morning, which made for a beautiful scenery. I was a little sceptical, thinking the weather might ruin our day, but it was quite the opposite!
With the mystical, moody morning air, we glided up over the World Heritage Rainforest into the foggy mountains which looked like a scene straight off a postcard. The rainforest from above is really something special, and the hop on and off Gondola cabins transported you up & over the Mountains Peak with ease.
Explore Red Peak Station
Arriving at our first stop, Red Peak Station, we jumped off our Gondola to explore the lush rainforest floor which was the highest point of our Skyrail journey. Led by an experienced ranger, we were guided through the rainforest and taught about the flora and fauna that lives in the area. The rangers are available to provide daily guided walks along Red Peak Station’s 175-metre boardwalk for all guests visiting the stop.
While this stop is optional, it’s highly recommended. The natural beauty of the rainforest and the scenic boardwalk adds an extra bit of adventure into your trip and is a great way to stretch your legs a little after the first part of the gondola ride.
Feel the wind in your hair
My ultimate highlight, was the open air Canopy Glider which we took to the next station, Barron Falls Station. With 360-degree views, the wind in your hair and the smells of the Tropical Rainforest surrounding us, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience.
With my love of waterfalls, gliding past the Barron Falls in the Canopy glider was easily my favourite experience. The glider provided some impeccable and uninhibited views of the giant, cascading waterfall and the surrounding rainforest, painting the perfect picture.
This is definitely an unmissable part of the experience, so don’t let your fear of heights stop you from climbing aboard. Safety is the number one priority at Skyrail and once you’ve climbed into the glider, you’ll be hooked into a harness for the duration of the journey.
Admire Barron Falls
We climbed off the canopy glider at Barron Falls Station to be greeted by three specular lookouts to peer down at the Barron Falls. The falls are a steep tiered cascading waterfall leading into the Barron River coming down from the Atherton Tablelands. This is one of the most famous waterfalls in all of North Queensland and once you’ve seen it won’t be hard to understand why. The sheer volume of water rushing through the tiers, especially after rainfall, is incredibly impressive.
While at this stop, you’ll also have the opportunity to see and learn about the old Flying Fox, the old verions of the Skyrail gondolas that ferried workmen and their materials across the falls for construction purposes. Luckily for us tourists, modern technology has advanced since and the gondolas have been enhanced and improved for transport and safety reasons to be the beautiful, enclosed cabins we ride up in today.
Our next stop was Kuranda, the village in the rainfores. This beautiful little funky town filled with arts and craft markets, rainforest walks, the Kuranda Railway Station & a gorgeous butterfly sanctuary & Koala Gardens is another highlight of the Skyrail journey.
Perfect for families and visitors to the region, the village is filled with a number of paid and free attractions including the Koala Gardens, Butterfly Sanctuary and Birdworld, which will be able to occupy every one for a few hours at least.
Come lunch time, we made our way to the Kuranda Hotel, with the kitchen cooking up everything from grilled fish and chips to a caesar salad with chicken, there’s sure to be something on the menu to satisfy all tastes.
Head back down the mountain
Unfortunately, the end of lunch signaled the end of our day in the rainforest. With our bellies full we made our way back to the Kuranda Skyrail Station to board the gondola back down to the Skyrail Base. Luckily for us, the clouds had cleared up and the sun was shining bright, so we we treated to some incredible views of the surrounding region, a contrast to the views we saw in the morning.
This allowed us to see the Skyrail experience in all weather conditions and proved that there really isn’t any particular weather to hope for on your Skyrail Rainforest Cableway journey as it all makes for a great day. The views we admired on the way back down the mountain were just as amazing as those experienced on the journey up, particularly the specular views coming back over the peak of cairns.
- Return Skyrail gondola ride
- Free time to explore Kuranda
- Guided walks at Red Peak Station
- Stops at each station
What to bring
- Money for lunch, souvenirs & additional experiences
This was incredible day full of sightseeing, exploring and learning about the history of the region and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The perfect adventure for visitors to the region and locals from Cairns eager to get out of the city for the day, Skyrail’s accessibility from the North Queensland city makes it an ideal day trip destination for those both with and without cars.
Be sure not to forget your camera on this journey as the views you’ll admire are quite exceptional. If you’re looking to plan ahead, you can book your tickets to some of Kuranda’s attractions prior to arriving to avoid queues at the front entrance.
The option also exists to take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway up the mountain and the Kuranda Scenic Railway back down, however, I experienced the return Skyrail experience.
Book your Skyrail Rainforest Cableway experience in Cairns and get ready for an incredibly scenic and adventurous experience all ages will love.
Images: Alicia Smith
Alicia Smith experienced the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway as a guest of Experience Oz and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for the World Ranger Day Insta-Meet.