The Skyrail Terminal is located just above the Kuranda Scenic Railway Station. Skyrail waa opened in 1995 and is a 7.5 km scenic cableway running above the Barron Gorge National Park, in the Wet Tropics of Queensland’s World Heritage Area.
Entry to the station is just above the Kuranda Railway Station. Entry is level through self-opening doors into the gift shop area. Through the gift shop to left is the ticket office. To the right is the loading area for the Gondolas. Located adjacent to the loading station is an accessible toilet facility.
The Gondolas detach from the cable and move at a slow pace through the station. The stations have ramps that are placed against the carriage for entry into the gondola. To assist in loading the lift system is stopped and a staff member steadies the gondola from the far side while a second staff member assists with the loading. The staff are well trained and practised in the loading technique.
There are two intermediate stations on the Skyrail. The first is Barron Falls Station. Passengers may alight here and explore the boardwalk and lookout over the Barron Falls. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible. Passengers may also elect to remain in the gondola and pass straight through the station. The carriages containing people with a disability are marked in the system so that the station staff are aware of the incoming cars.
The second station is Red Peak Station. This is an interchange station and all passengers must alight their gondolas for a change. Red Peak has an information display on the rainforest below the gondola deck. Access is via a ramp. From the information centre, there is a circular board through the rainforest that is about a 15 minute round trip. An accessible toilet is available.
Re-boarding the Gondola takes you over the top of the range and down to the coastal plain with spectacular views over the coast and out into the Coral Sea. The bottom station has a comprehensive gift shop, accessible toilets and a cafe. Access to the carpark is down a long ramp, with a secondary ramp off to the left-hand side. There are 3 accessible parking bays off in the first row of the carpark directly opposite the entry to the ramp.
The gondolas were designed and built 20 years ago and have some limitations for wheelchair users. Wheelchairs must be less than 630 mm wide and no longer than 950 mm. Weight must be “manageable” to allow for loading and to manage the tilting required to negotiate the ramp. For passengers with chairs exceeding those dimensions, a number of loan chairs are available. It is advisable to pre-arrange the use of those chairs.
Note: Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail can be done as a combined ticket. Freshwater Station and Skyrail’s Smithfield bottom station are 10 minutes apart by car. There is no wheelchair accessible shuttle service between the two stations leaving the only option available for independent travellers wishing to do the combination, an accessible maxi taxi back to Freshwater to collect a vehicle.
Both Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic railway can also be done as individual return journeys.
Cairns tour operator, Tropic Wings, offers a Kuranda experience which includes Kuranda Scenic Railway, Rainforest Station, and Skyrail. They operate wheelchair accessible coaches with pick up from Cairns, transfer to Freshwater Station, pick up from Kuranda Rail Station and transfer to Rainforest Station attraction, transfer back to Skyrail, and pickup from Skyrail bottom station and return to Cairns.