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Kuranda Suggestions

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Providence, Rhode...
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Kuranda Suggestions

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?

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

How about you see the koalas and kangaroos at Taronga Zoo in Sydney? Or at thecsmaller place in Darling Harbor, sorry I forget the name. Then do the Skyrail or Discovery Tours on you last day un Cairns. We were told a taxi from our Cairns hotel to sky rail would be 90AUD so we gladly did a half day tour booked thru Skyrail. The return was at 3, that would not be good for you. Timewise, it might be more serene to go with Discovery, with them apprised of your flight schedule. The views from the gondolas are great, but we had alreadyvseen Daintree...

Edited: 7:40 pm, May 21, 2014
South Gippsland...
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2. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

Cannot imagine that a taxi from Cairns to the Skyrail station at Caravonica would be $90. $40-$50 maybe? Can any other TA reader give a more accurate figure for this trip?

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

That was roundtrip, sorry I was unclear. We used tours transfers, slightly cheaper and also we were unsure about taxi avsilability for the return and were running short of currency. Charged the tour to our room. Worked for us.

Edited: 8:24 pm, May 23, 2014
Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

I'm planning a visit to Kuranda too and need to be back by 1pm and I reckon that's doable - although I've never been to Cairns to know for sure. The difference with me is that I'll have a hire car and have seen koalas so won't be spending that much time at Kuranda. You'd have to think about all the logistics, ie where will you keep your luggage if it's your last day and determine exact flight departure time. Sometimes I think you have to be prepared to pay a bit more if time is of the essence, because I think a $90 taxi fare would be worth it if it ensured I didn't miss my flight.

From the research I've done and another forum thread, I've learned that Skyrail opens from 9am so plan to be there then. They say to allow 1.5 hours each way including stopping at both stations, but if you think about it, you're not really going to stop at those stations again on your return. These are the gondola timings I got from the Skyrail site: Smithfield to Red Peak is 10mins; Red Peak to Barron Falls is 15mins; Barron Falls to Kuranda is 10mins. So not getting off at the stops, I'd allow for about 45-50mins (always plan for contingency). I scrapped the scenic railway option because it's too time consuming and I think you can see more from above on the gondola. A taxi to the airport would allow additional time in Kuranda to see the koalas.

That's how I planned my visit and I'm sure I can make it comfortably. But then I always like to think I'm on the Amazing Race :)

Edited: 10:15 pm, May 25, 2014
Washington DC...
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5. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

Sounds reasonable. The parking lot at the Skyrail terminal looked fairly safe.

We stopped and did the boardwalks on the way up. If you look at my review, there jis a caveat about the Diamond Car upgrade. Don't know/if they were having a bad day or what but if we had to waif for one of those at each stop it would have wasted a lot of time.

6. Re: Kuranda Suggestions

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