A Brief History

1987 Original Skyrail concept conceived.
1987-1994 Pre-construction phase. Feasibility studies, an Environmental Impact Study and numerous other reports and assessments conducted and completed. Consultation and approval processes with local, state and federal governments and local communities.
Jun 1994 Skyrail construction commenced. Click here for more information about the construction of Skyrail.
31 Aug 1995 Skyrail opened to the public. Stretching 7.5km, Skyrail was the world’s longest gondola cableway at the time of completion. More importantly, Skyrail provided people with a unique opportunity, and a world first, to see and experience the rainforest in a safe and environmentally friendly way. The cableway was installed with 47 gondolas; a carrying capacity of 300 people per hour. Project cost: AUD$35 million.
Sep 1995 Skyrail booked out on opening days. Response from the public and tourism industry was overwhelming - by the end of the first year Skyrail had employed an additional 30 staff.
Oct 1995 As a result of positive public feedback, Skyrail introduces full time Rangers to conduct interpretive boardwalk tours at Red Peak Station.
Jan 1996 CSIRO releases ‘The Dynamic Rainforest’ CD ROM. This product features rainforest information and facilities featured in the CSIRO Interpretation Centre at Skyrail’s Barron Falls Station.
Apr 1996 Skyrail announces plans for a multi-million dollar upgrade, including the purchase of an additional 67 gondolas to meet customer demands.
May 1996 Skyrail is the Winner of the Greening of Business Tourism Award for ‘Most Environmentally Conscious Visitor Attraction’, presented at the European Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition, Geneva, Switzerland.
May 1996 Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Tourist Development Project’.
Nov 1996 Skyrail is the Winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Tourist Development Project’.
Apr 1997 A James Cook University (Cairns) survey identifies learning and environmental benefits experienced by guests who had travelled on Skyrail.
Apr 1997 Skyrail achieves Ecotourism Advanced Accreditation in the first round of the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP).
May 1997 Skyrail completes a $2.5million upgrade; 67 new gondolas were purchased, taking the total number of gondolas to 114 and increasing the carrying capacity to 700 people per hour. The upgrade also included major building extensions to Skyrail Kuranda Terminal.
Jul 1997 Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Oct 1997 Skyrail is the Winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jul 1998 Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jul 1998 Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jan 1999 Skyrail establishes new company, Skyrail ITM. Skyrail ITM is established as a specialist operator and management company of cableways and tourist attractions.
Jul 1999 Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’ for the third consecutive year.
Jul 1999 Skyrail is presented with the Cassowary Award for its significant contribution to the environment of the Queensland and Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This award was presented by the Federal Environment Minister on behalf of the Wet Tropics Management Authority.
Nov 1999 Skyrail is the Winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jan 2000 Skyrail ITM appointed to undertake a major Feasibility Study and Enviornmental Impact Assessment for a tourism and cableway development in Cheju, South Korea.
Jun 2000 Skyrail establishes a world first by carrying the Olympic Torch on the cableway over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests.
Jul 2000 Skyrail is inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards ‘Hall of Fame’ in the category of ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jul 2000 Skyrail ITM contracted to manage and operate the new Sky Safari cableway at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, one of Australia’s premier zoos.
Sep 2000 Skyrail is the Winner of the British Airways ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Award, an international eco-tourism award, in recognition of their contribution to the natural and cultural environment.
Sep 2000 Skyrail is the first tourist attraction in Australia to be certified with the internationally recognised Environmental Management certification, ISO 14001:1996.
Jul 2001 Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jul 2001 Skyrail ITM signs long term contract with the State Government of New South Wales to manage, operate and maintain the Sky Safari cableway at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
Late 2001 Skyrail is certified with the internationally recognised Quality Management System certification, ISO 9001:2000. The certification helps to ensure Skyrail delivers the highest levels of service and operational standards throughout the entire operation.
Mar 2002 Skyrail hosts Her Majesty the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen and Duke travel on Skyrail and experience the wonders of Australia’s Tropical Rainforests including a guided rainforest boardwalk tour at Red Peak Station.
Feb 2002 Skyrail is the first tourist attraction in the world to be certified under the upgraded Green Globe 21, the international travel and tourism industry’s sustainable ecotourism benchmarking authority.
Jul 2002 Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.
Jul 2003 Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’ for the third consecutive year.
Feb 2004 Skyrail Chairman and Owner, George Chapman AO, received the ‘Significant Contribution by an Individual’ award in recognition of his efforts and achievements to tourism at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Nov 2004 Skyrail is inducted into the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards 'Hall of Fame' in the category of 'Best Major Tourist Attraction'.
May 2005 Skyrail closes for ten days to replace the haul rope on the cableway's front line [Smithfield to Red Peak] . The changeover was a part of Skyrail's long term, planned maintenance schedule. It was completed successfully and Skyrail re-opened on time and as planned.
Aug 2005 Skyrail celebrates its 10th year as 'The World's Most Beautiful Rainforest Experience'.
Sep 2005 Skyrail officially launches the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation. Entered on the Australian Government's Register of Environmental Organisations, the Foundation's primary objective is to raise and distribute funds to support tropical rainforest research and education projects.
Oct 2006 The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation announces a $50,000 commitment towards the funding of several research initiatives, to be collectively known as the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Cyclone Larry Project
Nov 2006 Skyrail announces a $2.5 million expansion of its Smithfield Terminal and infrastructure. The works included the relocation and expansion of the Reservations and Ticketing facilities; development of a new, larger Gift Shop; and the introduction of the Canopy Cafe.
May 2007 Skyrail closes for two weeks to replace the haul rope on the cableway's back line [Red Peak Station to Kuranda Terminal]. The changeover was a part of Skyrail's long term, planned maintenance schedule. It was completed successfully and Skyrail re-opened on time and as planned. Upon re-opening, Skyrail unveils its new Gift Shop and Canopy Cafe to guests.
Jun 2007 Skyrail's expanded Reservations and Ticketing facilities open to the public. The new facilities feature six ticketing windows and larger waiting area, providing increased speed and efficiency for guests.
Dec 2007 Skyrail was the first tourist attraction in the world to be Green Globe Gold certified for its continual improvement of sustainable environmental performance against established benchmarks.
Nov 2008 Skyrail is the Winner of the 'Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism' at the Queensland Tourism Awards.
Feb 2009 Skyrail is the Winner of the 'Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism' at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Nov 2009 Skyrail is the winner of the 'Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism' at the Queensland Tourism Awards.
Feb 2010 Skyrail is the winner of the 'Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism' at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Sep 2010 Skyrail achieved the the Climate Action Innovator accreditation, recognising Skyrail as an innovative leader, committed to environmental best practice and conservation and providing guests with the opportunity to learn about the environment.
Sep 2010 Skyrail achieved the highly regarded EarthCheck Gold certification for its continual improvement of sustainable environmental performance against established benchmarks.
Oct 2010 Skyrail is the winner of the 'Sustainable Tourism Award' at the Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) Tourism Awards.
Nov 2010 Skyrail is the winner of the 'Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism' and is now in the 'Hall of Fame' for this category, winning the award for three consecutive years at the Queensland Tourism Awards.
April 2012 Skyrail is accredited with Platinum EarthCheck status having been recognised as an environmentally sustainable tourism business in the Pacific region after a ten year benchmarking and certification program used by more than 1,300 organisations in over 70 countries.
Nov 2013 In November 2013, Skyrail introduced 11 Diamond View glass floor gondolas which seat 5 people and offer yet another amazing perspective of the rainforest below.