One of the most popular activities during anybody's holidays in Cairns is a visit to Kuranda, located only a few kilometers north of Cairns. You will have a lovely day walking around, shopping and visiting zoos. But no doubts one of the best ways to get to Kuranda, whether you're travelling from Cairns or Port Douglas, is by Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Skyrail will take you on a fabulous journey over the rainforest trees canopy. And why not combine Skyrail with the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway?
Skyrail Rainforest Experience, in Kuranda, is a unique rainforest experience taking you on an unforgettable journey through Australia's World Heritage protected Tropical Rainforests. Skyrail Rainforest Experience is a unique rainforest experience taking you on an unforgettable journey through Australia's World Heritage rainforests. Open 8.15am - 5.15pm daily (except Christmas day).

Skyrail is an experience unique in the world, the most popular tourist attraction in Tropical North Queensland, and you will see why the moment you step aboard. More than just a cablecar, Skyrail provides an opportunity to experience the 135 million year old World Heritage listed rainforest in a way that would otherwise be impossible. Stretching 7.5 kilometres from the coastal fringe of the rainforest all the way to Kuranda above Barron Gorge National Park, Skyrail is the world's longest gondola cablecar. Your gondola glides silently just metres above the rainforest canopy, and in places where there are natural breaks in the vegetation, you're so close that it feels like you're amongst the treetops.

As you sweep inland, and the panoramic views of Cairns and the coastal islands disappear, the vegetation below becomes thick and lush. Massive tree ferns, surely weighing hundreds of kilos, can be seen in the upper limbs of towering rainforest trees. The dense green is punctuated every so often by the bright red shout of a flame tree, an unusual species in that it has chlorophyll in its branches, so doesn't require green leaves for photosynthesis, just a sudden screaming blast of red disappearing back into the greenery as our gondola passed by.

Skyrail Rainforest Experience also offers guests the possibility of joining tours of Tropical Rainforest in Far North Queensland. Along the way, you can stop at Barron Falls station, with stunning views over the falls, and at Red Peak Station, where park rangers gives educational tours of the rainforest via a specially constructed boardwalk. In the photo above, Ranger Billy is demonstrating how the roaming barbed vines of this rainforest palm led to the palm earning the nickname of 'wait-a-while'. (Because if you run into it, you have little option but to wait a while!) He may also point out a prickly bush bearing small red berries. These berries, if ingested, will cause complete but temporary blindness. A matter of hours later, the victim will regain their sight with no side effects. Another plant you might see produces a fruit which although perfectly edible, could cause complete, irreversible blindness if the hairy skin of the fruit was to come in contact with your eye. And there's yet another which was traditionally used by Aborigines for fishing. If the leaves of this plant are crushed up and dipped into a small pond or a slow flowing steam, any fish unfortunate enough to be in that body of water will be stunned, and float to the surface. Billy is quick to point out that once the Aborigines had collected as many fish as they needed, they would remove the leaves from the water and the fish would slowly come back to life and swim away, probably losing any recollection of the whole experience... as fish do!

An important role of Skyrail is to educate people about the rainforest, and make them interested in protecting it. The original plan to build Skyrail in 1987 was met with fierce opposition from conservationists. This area is after all, a prized and unique piece of rainforest, and the concern was that the construction of a 'ride' would cause a lot of damage to the fragile ecosystem. But building the cableway was done largely without disturbing the forest flora or fauna. The numerous towers -the tallest one over forty metres high- were placed in existing clearings, and were lowered in by helicopter. Workers hiked in each day on foot. Of course, the last thing Skyrail wanted was to have a huge road running through the forest!

Besides the 'Best Major Tourist Attraction' award at the Australian Tourism Awards, Skyrail has been presented with a number of environmental awards, including the British Airways 'Tourism for Tomorrow' ecotourism award, and the EIBTM for Most Environmentally conscious Visitor Attraction.

Don't forget to check out the Kuranda Scenic Railway, below. And you might want to combine your Skyrail experience with a visit to the TJAPUKAI ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CENTRE, next to the Skyrail terminal at Caravonica.

Barron Falls, from Skyral.

The fantastic view from Skyrail Rainforest cableway, between Cairns and Kuranda.