The Kuranda Tain & Skyrail FAQ

There are many options to consider when booking you day in Kuranda. Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the Kuranda experience.

Where is Skyrail located?  Skyrail Terminal is located a 15 minute drive north of Cairns city and 50 minutes south of Port Douglas. 

How long does Skyrail take?  We suggest you allow 1.5 hours to complete a one-way journey on Skyrail.  This includes ample time to explore the two mid-stations.  

How long does the Kuranda Train journey take?  The train takes 1.5 hours between Freshwater Connection and Kuranda. 

How many hours should I spend in Kuranda?  Most visitors spend three hours in Kuranda.  It is possible to opt for no time, up to five hours free time.  We suggest three hours.  This gives you enough time to have a good look around and have some lunch.  

What is there to do in Kuranda?  The main attraction in Kuranda is the Original Kuranda Markets.  There are also Heritage Markets, Boutiques, Art Galleries and Cafes.    As well as shopping there are wildlife attractions including Birdworld, The Butterfly Sanctuary and Koala Gardens.  It is possible to pay for these on entry or pre-purchase a three park pass at a discounted rate.  Kuranda also has a river boat cruise, and a pretty river walk.   Rainforestation is near Kuranda and a visit is often combined in a Kuranda package.  This activity park a 5-minute drive outside Kuranda and is most known for the Army Duck ride among other activities.    

Why do most tours include Freshwater Connection railway station?   Freshwater Connection is a 15-minute drive from Cairns City and is a pretty railway station in a semi-rural setting with a small museum and a coffee shop inside a train carriage.   This is a much prettier station to start your day.   Cairns Central Station is simply a city train station without character.   The Kuranda Train sets off from Cairns Central Station, then stops at Freshwater Connection to pick-up passengers before heading up the mountain.  

Is it better to take the train up to Kuranda and Skyrail down, or in reverse?  We prefer to recommend the train up to Kuranda in the morning and the Skyrail down the mountain in the afternoon.  Freshwater Connection is more lively in the morning with atmosphere, the train is cooler in the morning as it is heritage and not air-conditioned it can get very warm in the afternoon.  Skyrail is pretty either way but it is very nice seeing the view of the Coral Sea open up as you come over the mountain.  Answer:  Train up, Skyrail down

Do the tours including train and Skyrail include return hotel transfers from all hotels in the Cairns area?  Yes.  The only area where transfers are not offered are residential beach suburbs such as Holloways and Machans Beach.  Transfers are included from Yorkey’s Knob on cruise ship days but not on any other days.  

Will the bus pick us up from our Airbnb address?   It depends on the address.  If you’re staying in a holiday apartment it is likely a pick-up will be offered however if you’re staying in a residential area we will locate the closest hotel as your pick up location.  

We have our own car.  Do we still need a transfer?  Yes, Skyrail Station and Freshwater Connection Railway Station are not in the same location.  You will require a one-way transfer.  Please book the self-drive option.   We suggest the Down Under Tours option where you drive to Skyrail in the morning, park your car free for the day, meet the coach driver who takes you to Freshwater Connection, go up on the train, have free time, come down on the Skyrail and jump in your car and drive back to your hotel.  This way, there is no waiting at the end of the day.  We suggest booking this option.  Down Under Tours hyperlink.    

The alternative, Train up and Skyrail down self-drive, is drive to Freshwater Connection, park free for the day, train up, free time in Kuranda, Skyrail down, then wait for a coach at the Skyrail terminal to transfer you to your car at the end of the day.  These coaches are timed for two hours after Skyrail departs Kuranda.  This timing involves waiting at the end of the day for a coach to take you back to your car.  This option is not preferred for some families as they prefer to be able to jump in their car and drive back to their hotel directly rather than waiting for a transfer.    

Can we do a self-drive tour including the Train and Skyrail from Port Douglas?  Yes, sure.  The self-drive tour is the same for guests staying in Cairns or Port Douglas.  

Do you have pensioner/senior rates?  Yes, we do have one tour operator that offers Pensioner rates for this tour.  You will need to provide your seniors card on the day of travel.  Hyperlink to Queensland Rail listings – Kuranda Scenic Rail and Kuranda Train & Skyrail.

Is it easy to walk to the main village of Kuranda from the Skyrail and Kuranda Train stations?   Yes, the station is at the bottom of the village.   It is an easy walk to the top of the village however there is a courtesy (free) shuttle bus to carry visitors to the top of the village where the markets are located.   This shuttle runs every 15 minutes until 2.50pm.

Is it possible to take a pram or wheelchair on this tour?  Yes, prams are no problem.  Please let us know when booking if you have a wheelchair as we will need to make arrangements.  
Cruise Ship Passengers:  

We are on a cruise ship and would like to know if it’s possible do the Train and Skyrail?  Yes.  We access current cruise ship timetables and book many cruise ship passengers on this tour.  We make sure the timings fit with your cruise ship schedule.  

If we are on a cruise ship and the ship or tender cannot make it into port due to weather will we receive a refund?  Yes, we refund the total when the ship is unable to berth or transfer vessels are unable to provide transfers.  

We want to ride in the Army Duck?   Rainforestation is a 5-minute drive outside Kuranda.  Army Ducks   (amphibious vehicle)  from World War II have been restored and guests are offered a ride through the rainforest and then into a small lake.  Tours that include the Army Duck will also include the coach to get to Rainforestation.  Visitors who prefer an all-inclusive daytrip to Kuranda can also learn about indigenous culture and watch a dance performance, see a number of native animals and have lunch at Rainforestation.    Tour packages include the Army Duck and coach transfers right through to all-inclusive day tours.

Can we start the tour in Kuranda?  No.  The Kuranda Train departs Kuranda at 2pm and 3.30pm.  The 2pm Train from Kuranda would arrive at Freshwater Connection at 3.30pm.  Skyrail is a 10 minute drive from here.   The last Skyrail departs at 3.45pm.  The timing is too tight and this direction does not make sense.    

When does Gold Class train run?  The Gold Class carriage is on the 9.30am Cairns Central, 9.50am Freshwater Connection departure.  And, the 3.30pm Kuranda departure.  If you would like Gold Class please book well in advance as there are limited seats.  

How often does Skyrail run the Diamond View gondola?   Diamond view has very limited availability.  The Diamond view gondola has a clear floor and is an option upgrade.  The carriage comes every 15 minutes and can seat up to 5 guests.  

Are there toilets on the train?  Yes, there are toilets on every carriage.  

How many people can fit in the Skyrail gondola?  6 guests can sit in a Skyrail gondola.  5 guests can sit in a Diamond view Skyrail gondola.