Cairns to Kuranda Skyrail Celebrates 20 Years

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Skyrail Rainforest Cableway celebrates its 20 year anniversary this month. Since its launch in 1995 it has carried 11 million people between Cairns and Kuranda and become one of the most popular attractions in the region.

The 7.5km Cairns to Kuranda Skyrail Cableway has 114 gondola cabins, which glide above the rainforest canopy and allow visitors to see the rainforest from above and enjoy spectacular views of Cairns.

Each gondola can seat up to six passengers so in total the Skyrail can accommodate up to 700 passengers at any one time, although if you go at a time that isn’t too busy you won’t have to share your gondola with other tourists.

diamond view

kuranda skyrail diamond viewOut of the 114 gondolas, 11 of them have glass floors.

These Diamond View gondolas feature 28mm thick triple layered tempered glass in the floor so you can see the forest from another angle.

These gondolas are so good that even the Queen has had a ride in one and apparently she loved it!

canopy gliders

In 2014 Skyrail also introduced two Canopy Gliders.

skyrail canopy gliderThese open-air cable cars provide passengers with a 360-degree view and the company of an experienced ranger.

The canopy gliders are a great addition to the fleet and thoroughly recommended, even if you’re not so keen on heights.

We went on a day when it was cloudy going over the top so we got slightly wet as we went through the clouds but it was still a great experience.

A sunny day would obviously be ideal (as long as you remember to apply sunscreen!).

cruising above the tree tops

Skyrail runs from Smithfield in Cairns to Kuranda with two rainforest station stops along the way to hop off, explore and change gondolas.

skyrail boardwalkThe first stop is Red Peak Station, which is the highest point on the cableway at 545 metres high.

There is a long 175 metre boardwalk through the rainforest and back to the station, providing opportunities to see wildlife and the amazing tropical plant life of the rainforest.

The enormous strangler fig trees here are incredible and definitely worth seeing as well as the majestic kauri pine trees.

strangler fig treeThe next stop is Barron Falls Station where there are more boardwalks and walkways to three different lookouts.

There are views over the spectacular Barron Gorge and waterfall, and if you are lucky, you might even time it right to see the Kuranda train pull into the station above the gorge.

There is also an interactive, interpretation centre with plenty of history about the rainforest, flora and fauna, and definitely a great place to take kids.

guided walks

Guided Ranger Tours are available at each of the stations so you can learn about the flora and fauna of the area and ask questions about anything else you might like to know about this World Heritage listed rainforest.

If you’ve got the time, there’s also the Djabugay Aboriginal Guided Walking Tours at Barron Falls Station. These take about 40 minutes and give you an insight into indigenous culture in the region and what the rainforest means to them and their people.

sustainable tourism

cairns skyrail rainforest cablewayWhen Skyrail was built all the towers were carefully lifted into place by helicopter to minimise any damage or disturbance to the rainforest.

Skyrail’s goal in building this attraction was to showcase the rainforest and educate tourists about protecting this important natural wonder.

As a business Skyrail continually strives to be as sustainable as possible and has so far achieved Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Innovator certifications.

It is the only cableway in the world to obtain EarthCheck’s Certified Platinum rating and is the first in the Pacific Region.

Skyrail also plays a role in conservation through its Skyrail Rainforest Foundation, which raises money to support rainforest research and education as well as implement projects to help revegetate connectivity corridors for rainforest animals such as the cassowary.

travel nq fast facts:

  • Skyrail is an all-weather activity and can be enjoyed rain, hail or shine as gondolas are enclosed. The open air Canopy Glider might be better when the sun is out though.
  • The Cairns to Kuranda Skyrail runs every day of the year except Christmas Day
  • Allow yourself at least 1.5 hours to enjoy Skyrail one way and if you get off at each station to explore the rainforest boardwalks, you will definitely get more out of the experience.
  • Ready to book?

 

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