Heading North for Winter DAY FIVE

Historic railway travel and terror in the parking lot

Below you will find a detailed description of the route as seen through the eyes of its creator to give you firsthand knowledge of the type of experiences available along this route

The Below map is for reference guide only with interactive info on locations along the route.

A fully interactive and directional guide map is available with the Road Trips printable detailed itinerary for $5 using the below button(coming soon)

Paronella Park to Cairns (129km 2.20hrs)

1. PARONELLA PARK to SMITHFIELD(117km 2hr) Visit Kuranda in a Day, Skyrail Station at Smithfield – Cairns Western Arterial rd X Captain Cook Hwy. Train back down

We made our way through the now familiar flowering cane fields that now in full bloom seemed cloud-like.

2. SMITHFIELD to KURANDA (1.30hr) via Skyrail

An image that seemed fitting as we arrived at the Sky rail and glided above the rainforest like a bird. There was only a slight moment of terror in B’s eye’s when the sky rail stopped midair for quite a few minutes, but the stunned mullet look on his face eased as we moved on.

However, there were some major delays and we spent a lot of time in queues when we got there, and when we changed carriages at the breakpoints in the ride.

Kuranda Street View



The climax of the grand ride was Kuranda, a small town full of large root dangling trees and air plants, metal sculpted features of wildlife and decorative pathways.

But it was not much of a historical town, more a decorative shopping strip. Hence it was a little hard to keep the kids entertained while waiting for the only train back down 3hrs later. That is unless you spend even more money to go to the Butterfly house or venom house.

Kuranda Scenic Rail, train details


4. KURANDA to SMITHFIELD via train (1.10hr)

Wooden panelling, pressed iron roof detail and comfy high-back bench seats, that’s us travelling in historic style back down the mountainside. But of cause as with history, the kids are still fighting for the window seat.

Waterfall along the train track

The track snuggled close to the mountain side allowing vast valley views and visions of Cairns all the way to the ocean. We passed through six hand-dug tunnels and viewed two grand waterfalls, one of which you could almost feel the spray. 

With an early start the next day to Fitzroy Island we chose to stay in the car park as close to the wharf as we could (the luxury of a self-contained caravan…perhaps not).

Reasonably uneventful you would think hey, but the bone-shuddering scream that greeted us as the sun was nudging below the road was something else. With Bulging eyes and elegant legs, they almost circled us. We’ve heard and experienced the old wives’ tale about someone we know about to die on hearing the Curlew’s call at night….I didn’t sleep so well that night and neither did LR
(the trail list has an alternate night stop for those less self-contained)

NEXT: Forget about the crocks, what about the sharks