Kuranda Scenic Railway, North Queensland

Take a nostalgia train ride

There are two ways to travel between Cairns and Kuranda (well really 3 but I'm not counting car travel!) I should say two interesting ways to travel, the cable car and the historic railway. It's possible to catch the train one way and take the cable car back or vice versa. I like to catch the cable car going up the mountain to Kuranda and the train back down the mountain.

The Kuranda Railway Station is a beautifully preserved station for the train that travels down to Cairns. The line itself is interesting as it was quite a feat to construct it in the late 1880s, originally it was built to provide a link to inland tin mines that were cut off during the wet season. The line was opened in 1891 and it started being used for tourist trips in 1936.

The platform with the sign for the tea rooms, all very quaint and sweet I thought. The trains come up in the morning and then go back down at 3pm and 4pm.

The carriages are the old wooden ones, there's no air-conditioning but once the train gets going there's a good breeze that comes through the windows. The seats are allocated, you'll have a seat number when you get your ticket. Although the day I caught the train it wasn't very full and we were allowed to go into the next carriage which was practically empty, so we weren't quite so squashed!

The train makes a stop just outside Kuranda at the Barron Creek Station and people can get out onto the platform and take pictures.

The train winds its way down to Cairns, there's a running commentary that explains the line's construction. It was a real triumph of engineering and all built with manual labour.

Stoney Creek Falls, at the end of the dry season, still roaring but not as loudly as during the wet season.

The Stoney Creek bridge, a steel bridge constructed in 1891 and one of the most photographed bridges in Australia! When this bridge was completed the Queensland Governor came to open it and a large banquet was prepared and served on the bridge, but they had to cut the speeches as no-one could be heard over the noise of the waterfall next to the bridge!

Horseshoe Bend, the biggest curve on the line as the train descends to the Cairns plains.

Looking down on the Cairns suburbs.

Redlynch cottage at Freshwater Station, once down from the mountains the train stops at the Freshwater Station and that's where I got off as there's a shuttle bus to take you back to the cable car station. The train does continue to the Cairns station.

I liked the story behind 'Redlynch'. The foreman for the construction of the rail-line was a fiery redhead with the surname of Lynch, naturally he was nicknamed 'Red'. When new workers arrived, many of whom didn't have much English they were told to go to 'Redlynch' which they understood as a place rather than a man. The area around the foreman's cottage was known as 'Redlynch' and later when it became a Cairns suburb, it was a popular choice for the name for the new suburb. Red Lynch's cottage has been restored and it's part of the train station area, unfortunately I didn't have much time to look at it, just take a picture in passing as we passengers all trooped across to where all the shuttle buses were.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a really nice way to travel, the views are lovely and the commentary on the train is really interesting and gives a good explanation into the construction of the line.