I'll be in Cairns for about 2.5 days (arrive early AM on Thursday and flying out Saturday afternoon to Darwin. One day I'm going to commit to a reef trip, and the other day I'm wondering if I should take a tour day trip to Cape Tribulation, or do Kuranda skyrail/scenic train. I heard both are nice and dramatic? Any suggestion?
Cape Tribulation without a hesitation. Kuranda itself is an overly touristy place rather devoid of interest (it's nice, but not in a way that can compare with), and the views from the scenic train are rather limited, so that leaves just the skyrail as the good part of that trip. It is nice to see the rainforest from above and then walk through the treetops during its two stops, but (almost?) every Cape Tribulation daytrip includes a visit to the Daintree Discovery Centre, which gives you the same. The beach at Cape Tribulation is rather nice, too, the crocodile spotting corny - but still cool (especially if you have a decent zoom lens) - and I loved the final stop of the Cape Tribulation daytrip, which was Mossman Gorge, which is just absolutely gorgeous.
The one thing that might make me reverse this recommendation was if it was the rainy season, and they'd turned on Barron Falls - they're supposed to be rather spectacular when the water is actually falling off them, rather than going through the dam. But I don't think that'll have happened yet this season, so yeah, go for Cape Tribulation without a doubt.
(If you still need more convincing, my photos from both trips can be found here. The top ones are from the Kuranda daytrip, the middle ones from a reef trip (really limited visibility that week, so not much to see there), and the bottom ones are from the Cape Tribulation daytrip.)
One final note: the Cape Tribulation daytrip makes for a much longer and more exhausting day than the Kuranda daytrip. That's good, because it means you did way more, but also that if you can, you should plan to have a slightly less exhausting day the next day.
Thanks for the reply! I was leaning that way as well. Is a one day trip worth the time and effort it or should I make it into an overnight trip?
I did it in one day, and thought that suited it (it wasn't as rushed as I'd feared - at least not more than organized tours in general are). But of course, I don't know what more an overnight trip would give, so can't really compare.
Sounds like a plan then to me! What tour operator did you use?
Heh, good question. *looks it up* Ah yes, "Down Under Eco Tours". I suspect they're pretty much indistinguishable from most of the other tour companies which offer that daytrip, but I did like their lunch location (where no other tour companies stopped that I saw), smack in the middle of the rainforest.