I have a short window of time to spend in Cairns before I have to move onto Sydney. As of right now the plan is to spend day 1 out on a GBR tour. Thanks to some great comments and suggestions by other users in these forums, I've picked out an operator for that.
As far as the second day goes, I am a bit unsure how to handle things. Right now the plan (have not booked a flight) is to take a 4:55 flight down to Sydney. Am thinking I would need to be at the airport by 3-3:30 for the flight. Given the time constraints, what would you suggest as a way for me and my traveling companion to see the rain forest and also interact with some Koalas and Kangaroos? Discovery Tours has a nice half day option, but that doesn't allow for see Koalas and Kangaroos up close. My thought was to do the Skyrail to Kuranda village. According to their site it’s 1.5 hours up, which takes into account the two station stops along the way. However, it looks like if you want a transfer to/from the hotels, it would pick us up around 8:35 am and not have us back until after 3 pm. Given that the gondolas run continuously throughout the day, would it be possible to get picked up at the hotel, ride the gondola up (with the two station stops), do the Koalas Gardens, take the gondola down and be back in Cairns before 3 pm? Their website didn't give any indication of the shuttle schedule between the Cairns hotels and the Skyrail base station.
One other option would be to rent a car and drive up to the Skyrail base ourselves, but I figure the additional cost and aggravation of renting a car for a simple trip to/from the base station would not be worth it. Would taking public transit cut out some time? Would a taxi ride up to the base be a big expense?