Kurand via Train

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by nmagann on March 18, 2005

A Round-trip via train or sky, or one of each, is offered. Once you get to Kuranda, add-ons from the Koala Garden to boat cruises are offered. I chose to go up by train and return by the Skyrail. I strongly recommend doing the two for entirely different perspectives on the area.

The train moves slowly through beautiful, lush mountains, complete with bridges, waterfalls, and 15 tunnels, for approximately 45 minutes. Bench seats are very comfortable, and windows open for clear picture-taking. Restrooms and drinking water are provided onboard. A map with points of interest and history are provided to read. Some of the points of interest are:

Horseshoe Bend, a 180-degree curve where you begin steep ascent
Tunnel 6, where bandits held up the train as recent in 1973
Jungara, where the largest field hospital was located for WWII
Barron Falls, so spectacular, the train stops to let visitors off
Tunnel 15, the longest on the stretch at 490m with three curves

Kuranda Village seems to have stepped out from a page in a history book or fairytale land. In the midst of the rain forest with a river appearing like a protective moat lay a quaint village with outdoor markets and animal parks that look nothing like a zoo or other such enclosure.

Koala Garden was a big favorite. I not only got see koalas perched between branches, sleeping, but I also opted to have my picture taken holding one. I was quite impressed to learn that Australian law dictates that koalas cannot be held for more than 30 minutes, and after a certain number of days of this, must be off for several days. This park has so many koalas (over a 100) that koala cuddling is always available here. Someone stands you in position and places your arms in the precise position to accept one of these sleeping darlings in order to have your picture taken. I also learned that, unlike dolphins in captivity, these circumstances do not shorten the koala’s life expectancy. Otherwise, like the dolphin encounters, I would not have participated. I love animals and would like to touch some and get closer, but not to the point of risking their lives.

The koalas had to come first, but there is so much more in the Koala Gardens. A walkway leading down from the koala photo kiosk takes you into a small open park with roaming varieties of kangaroo and wallabies. Here I had the pleasure, definite pleasure, of petting an adorable soft wallaby stretched out in the shade of tree. Other animals were hiding in the shade of small bridge or under the deck.

And this is only the first park within the park.

Kuranda Scenic Railway
Cairns, Australia


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