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The unique Kuranda Scenic Railway has journeyed through tropical North Queensland for over 125 years, and provides its passengers with breathtaking views over one of the most stunning areas of Australia. The 23 mile (37 kilometre) long track winds through the lush green World Heritage Rainforest, past cascading waterfalls and a variety of different birds, fauna and reptiles, before it terminates at the small mountain village of Kuranda.
Demand for the Kuranda Scenic Railway began in 1882 when, unsatisfied with the often unpassable road from Port Douglas, local tin miners began calling for a railway line which would lead them to the coast. Years of debate followed, with railway leagues from both Cairns and Port Douglas fighting for the right to the railway, before construction on the line officially began in 1886. Although initially designed for commuter purposes, the railway began operating as a tourist attraction as early as 1936 and today is used solely for this purpose, transporting tourists through the spectacular rainforest to the tropical village of Kuranda every day of the year except Christmas Day.
The famous Kuranda Scenic Railway journeys from Cairns to the nearby Freshwater Station, before continuing on a picturesque journey to Kuranda spanning almost two hours, with unsurpassed sprawling views of the rainforest, ravines and waterfalls. The train passes through Barron Gorge National Park, past imposing mountains and tropical landscapes, before arriving at Barron Falls. Passengers enjoy a ten minute stop here, where they are treated to spectacular, uninterrupted views of Barron Falls, a stunning 410ft steep tiered cascade waterfall, from the famous Barron Falls lookout. A number of smaller waterfalls are passed on the journey through the mountains, including Stoney Creek Falls, which passengers are treated to an excellent view of as the train crosses the curved lattice railway bridge just metres away from the flowing water.
The train continues to Kuranda Station, a tourist attraction in its own right with stunning tropical gardens and important historical connotations. After the region was declared a war zone during the Second World War, tourist related travel on the railway temporarily ceased, with Kuranda Station responsible for transporting freight for soldiers stationed on the nearby Atherton Tablelands. Claiming to be one of the most photographed train stations in the world, the distinctive station consists of a number of detached heritage-listed buildings blended with exotic surroundings.
Passengers travelling with Great Rail Journeys make the journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway in Royale Class carriages. These original red-wooden heritage carriages feature stylish timber look flooring, a cedar interior, and historical photographs adorning the walls, treating passengers to a unique, old world experience. Passengers travelling Royale Class will enjoy an additional light refreshment service, served on board by an exclusive attendant. This service includes Australian sparkling wine, orange juice, locally grown macadamia nuts, a souvenir postcard and a badge. Also available on the service is an informative audio commentary, a souvenir trip guide, a chilled refresher towel in the summer months, and filtered water.
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