Rail Travel

Let someone else do the driving on a train journey through jungle or savannah. 

Kuranda Scenic Rail 

This may be one of the loveliest stretches of rail in the world and every morning and afternoon Kuranda Scenic Rail takes passengers along this amazing 37km route. Setting out from Cairns the train ascends the Great Dividing Range to Kuranda at the top, through 15 tunnels and over 37 bridges. 

Image by @janpandrum

It was a struggle from 1886 to 1891 to build the route and the hard yakka and sacrifice can only be truly appreciated through the window of a carriage. The scenery is outstanding as the train chugs through tropical jungle up the rocky escarpment with a stop at the powerful Barron Falls. The destination is Kuranda, the village in a rainforest and terminus for the trip. 

The return journey down “the hill” is just as mesmerising. Both the Freshwater and Kuranda rail stations on the trip are charming so spend some time checking them out if you can. 

And don’t forget to download the Kuranda Scenic Railway app to your phone for some DIY commentary while on board.

Savannahlander and Gulflander 

Image by Savannahlander

This train trip does double duty as it makes its way through the luxuriant tropical rainforest from Cairns out into the wide-open spaces of the Gulf Savannah country. This is a chance to see incredible geological sites such as the Chillagoe Caves and Cobbold Gorge, take in the beautiful pristine outback night sky, be enchanted by the amount of birds and other wildlife and visit some outback and mining towns in a once in a life time experience. 

Sometimes it’s not the destination but the journey – on these train excursions you get both: knowledgeable, helpful and entertaining train staff on a wonderful ride that gets you to some extraordinary places. Plenty of stops for meals and smoko breaks and you even get a chance to go up front and sit next to the driver.

There are also day trips available on the Gulflander between Normanton and Croydon on what is affectionately nicknamed the Tin Hare. Its overnight buses will take you back if you wish to return on the same day.

Kuranda Scenic Rail Website: https://www.ksr.com.au/

Savannahlander Website: http://www.savannahlander.com.au/

Queensland Rail Travel Website: https://www.queenslandrailtravel.com.au/