I remember when I was a little girl, a little girl very fond of climbing trees. There was a big tree in my parents back yard and my father had made a rope in the tree so we could climb it.
One day I was up high in the tree, gazing over the rooftops and noticed a man walking to our front door. He rang the doorbell and informed my mother there was a little girl very high up in a tree. Was she aware of this? “Oh yes,” said my mom: “That’s my daughter, she likes climbing trees…”
Flash forward more than 20 years and deep down I am still that little girl who likes climbing trees. Unfortunately, I am no longer as fearless (and bendy) as I was when I was younger, but I still love a birds eye view. Which is why I absolutely loved our Skyrail Rainforest Experience!
We flew over the treetops, explored the jungle, learned about the vulnerable rainforest ecosystem, admired the Barron Falls and visited Kuranda village. Read more about our Skyrail Rainforest Experience below.
Facts and figures about the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
- This 7.5-kilometer-long long cableway was built in 1995.
- There are 32 towers in total, the tallest one is over 40 meters high!
- The towers were lifted into place by helicopter, to avoid disturbance of the rainforest.
- At 545-meter, Red Peak Station is the highest point on the cableway. Red Peak is the first station you’ll reach after entering the gondola at Smithfield.
- The cableway can reach speeds up to 18 kilometers per hour, but it usually goes much slower so you can enjoy the beautiful rainforest longer.
The first stop: Red Peak Station
At Red Peak station we learned about the rainforest from friendly ranger Cameron. He showed us around the boardwalk and pointed out interesting plants and trees.
For example, there was a plant which berries made you go blind for 2 hours if you ate them! Birds could eat them safely, because they don’t actually digest them and the pit stays intact.
But if a human (or mammal) chews on them, the seed releases a toxin which temporarily makes you loose your vision. Scary stuff!
The ranger also showed us a friendlier plant with big leaves that were super soft on the backside. He told us that if we ever got stuck in the jungle we should seek out this plant and make a mattress from its leaves. He assured us we would be very comfortable;-).
Cameron the Ranger also told us that over 80% of the plants in the forest have leaves with ‘driptips’ (see picture above). This lets the rainwater glide off easily.
If water stays on leaves too long lichen and algae begin to grow and damage the leaves. Nature is so inventive!
Okay, last but not least. He showed us a couple of trees with huge birds nest ferns (see picture above) and told us pythons occasionally make their home in those. Right, let’s stay away from those just to be sure…
Note: the ranger guided walks start every 20 minutes and I highly recommend you join one. It’s very interesting and you learn a lot about the beautiful rainforest!
The second stop: Barron Falls Station
At the Barron Falls station there is a short walk as well, with 3 viewpoints offering gorgeous views over… the Barron Falls (obviously😉). The Falls are at their peak during the wet season (December-March), but were still beautiful when we visited (November).
At this station there is also an Interpretative Center with interesting displays about the rainforest. Be sure to check this out as well! And if you are really lucky you may be able to spot one of the shy cassowaries who live in the jungle.
A couple of years ago there were only 500 of these unique creatures left. Luckily, thanks to the efforts of UNESCO and several other organizations including the Skyrail there are now over 2500.
Nevertheless, the species is still endangered and needs to be well protected in order not to become extinct…
Fun fact: did you know cassowaries communicate on a 23-32 Hz frequency? We can hear their sounds, but only just, as humans are only capable of perceiving sounds of at least 20 Hz.
The final stop: Kuranda Station
The last station of the cableway is Kuranda, a quant village in the middle of the rainforest. It’s actually a rather old village and has been visited by tourists as early as 1888.
We walked around for about an hour and explored the small town, got a delicious icecream and walked down to the river. We didn’t spot any crocodiles, I’m not sure if I’m happy or disappointed by that😉.
How long does the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway take?
We did the Return Skyrail Experience and departed Smithfield station (the starting point of the cableway) at 12 o’clock. The ride to the Red Peak Station took about 10 minutes and we spend approximately 45 minutes at that station.
From the Red Peak Station it took another 10 minutes to the Barron Falls station. We spent 45 minutes here as well (give or take).
The last part of the cableway also took 10 minutes and we spent one hour in Kuranda. It was a little after 3 o’clock when we took the cable car down from Kuranda, we arrived back at our car just after 3.30pm.
The ride back down can take up to one hour, because you do need to get off at Red Peak Station and change gondolas. If it’s busy you may have to wait a couple of minutes before you can board the next one.
Altogether our Skyrain Rainforest Experience took 3,5 hours but if you are short on time you can do it in 2,5. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend rushing through the rainforest, it’s so relaxing, lush and green!
How much does the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway cost?
A return ticket on the Skyrail costs 77 Australian Dollar per person. Detailed information about prices can be found here.
I hope you enjoyed this post and pictures of our Skyrail Rainforest Cableway adventure. The Skyrail has won multiple awards and it’s easy to understand why.
We had a great day and I learned a lot about the amazing rainforest! Please let me know if you have any questions, you can leave a comment or send me an email.
Also read my other posts about Australia:
- Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
- Australia East Coast road trip itinerary
- Australia travel budget
- Sailing the Whitsunday Islands
Disclosure: I was hosted by the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Nevertheless, all pictures and opinions are my own.