This recent experience was my mum’s idea, as my sister and I had no idea about this Hogwarts looking train ride up into the Cairns mountains. But what a shout it was and despite the weather we had a great afternoon.
It all started aboard this 9.30am Cairns to Karunda line, the station being just a couple minutes taxi from the hotel. The station is very small so finding was train was easy.
Karunda is a mountain village near Cairns, and getting the Karunda Scenic Railway to the village takes roughly 1 hour 45 minutes. Being as scenic as it is means that this train ride is a part of the experience and boredom is not something you will experience on route.
The railway rises to 328m above sea level, and during the climb goes through 15 tunnels, over 37 bridges and alongside some stunning waterfalls. This line is considered an incredible feat of engineering, with many men perishing during its construction between 1882-1891. Very sad and a reminder that when we start to hate our jobs, it could be much, much harder.
The heights were pretty scary, however the ride was fairly smooth and despite being an old railway we didn’t feel unsafe or in any danger.
You can see below people were doing the exact same thing as us, sticking their arms through the bars and getting some great unobstructed shots of the scenery. Due to the slow ride and being able to see quite far ahead there wasn’t really a risk of injury.
The weather was great. The clouds added to the dramatic shots and rain wasn’t enough to limit the views. If anything it added to them and slowly entering the clouds showed us how high we were.
This is the Baron Falls Lookout, and you can see why it is visited by thousands of people every year. The train stops here for ten minutes and allows for some great photo opportunities and time to take in one of North Queensland’s greatest waterfalls. What a view!
Eventually we made it to the village. We were greeted by this rather nice looking pub/hotel and stopped for a drink on the way back. The village starts here and is full of some lovely shops, bars and restaurants. It really is cool to walk through a village in a rainforest.
And there you have it, Karunda Village. I would highly recommend this if you are ever in Cairns, like Green Island yesterday it is only a half day your which means you can plan other things on the evening. Also, we recommend Gold Class back, we didn’t do the Skyrail back which is the cable car ride back down, instead we paid a little more for our own upgraded cabin, wine and cheese to accompany us on the way down. And it went down well!