EST. 31st August 1995

The Skyrail Story

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The Skyrail Timeline
Click on the different year points to view the history information from that specific year.

1987

In 1987 the original Skyrail Rainforest Cableway concept was conceived.

1987-1994

 
From the 1987 through to 1994, was the pre-construction phase consisting of feasibility studies, an Environmental Impact Study and numerous other reports and assessments. Consultation and approval processes occurred with local, state and federal governments and local communities.

1994

The pre-construction phase was complete with all necessary approvals gained and construction of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway finally commenced.

1995

31st August

 

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway opened to the public. Stretching 7.5km, Skyrail was the world’s longest gondola cableway at the time of completion. More importantly, Skyrail provided guests 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 and a carrying capacity of 300 people per hour. The project cost AUD$35 million.

September

 

Skyrail booked out in 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.

1996

January

 

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation – Australia’s premier scientific research organisation) 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.

April

 

Skyrail announces plans for a multi-million dollar upgrade, including the purchase of an additional 67 gondolas to meet customer demands.

May

 

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.

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Tourist Development Project’.

November

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Tourist Development Project’.

1997

April

 

A James Cook University (Cairns) survey identifies learning and environmental benefits experienced by guests who had travelled on Skyrail.

 

Skyrail achieves Ecotourism Advanced Accreditation in the first round of the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP).

May

 

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 the Skyrail Kuranda Terminal.

July

 

Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

October

 

Skyrail is the Winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

1998

July

 

Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’. (Local Award)

 

Skyrail is the Winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’ (State Award).

1999

January

 

Skyrail establishes a new company, Skyrail ITM. Skyrail ITM is established as a specialist operator and management company of cableway’s and tourist attractions.

July

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’ for the third consecutive year.

July

 

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.

November

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Australian Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

2000

January

 

Skyrail ITM appointed to undertake a major Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Assessment for a tourism and cableway development in Cheju, South Korea.

June

 

Skyrail establishes a world first by carrying the Olympic Torch on the cableway over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests. Transported in special ‘open air’ gondolas, which Skyrail imported from America especially for the occasion, the Olympic Torch travelled the length of the cableway carried by two Skyrail torch bearers. Milton Brim, a Skyrail Ranger and respected elder of the Djabugay people whose traditional country includes the Skyrail route, carried the Olympic flame on the first leg of its rainforest journey from Kuranda Terminal to Red Peak Station. Disembarking at Skyrail’s Barron Falls Station, Milton carried the Olympic Torch through the rainforest to Barron Falls look-out, before continuing the record-making journey to Red Peak Station. At Red Peak, Milton handed the flame to Skyrail’s then-General Manager, now Managing Director Craig Pocock, who bore the flame on the remainder of its Skyrail journey, concluding at Smithfield Terminal.

July

 

Skyrail is inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards ‘Hall of Fame’ in the category of ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

 

Skyrail ITM contracted to manage and operate the new Sky Safari cableway at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, one of Australia’s premier zoos.

September

 

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.

 

Skyrail is the first tourist attraction in Australia to be certified with the internationally recognised Environmental Management certification, ISO 14001:1996.

2001

July

 

Skyrail is the Winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

 

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.

November

Skyrail is certified with the internationally recognised Quality Management System certification, ISO 9001:2000. The certification was awarded due to Skyrail’s exceptional service and operational standards.

2002

March

 

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. The Queen, on an official royal visit to Australia, flew into Cairns to experience the spectacular beauty and splendour of the region’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests. Departing from Skyrail’s Kuranda Terminal, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were accompanied on their journey by Skyrail’s Chairman and owner operator, George Chapman AO. Highlighting some of the Australian Tropical Rainforest’s more fascinating and unique species as they skimmed over the canopy, Mr Chapman travelled with the royal couple to Red Peak Station where they alighted from the cableway to enjoy a fascinating boardwalk tour, hosted by Skyrail Ranger and Djabugay elder, Milton Brim. The Skyrail experience was warmly received by the royal couple providing them with a unique perspective of one of Tropical North Queensland’s most beautiful natural attractions.

February

 

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 bench marking authority.

July

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

2003

July

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’ for the third consecutive year.

2004

February

 

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.

November

 

Skyrail is inducted into the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards ‘Hall of Fame’ in the category of ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction’.

2005

May

 

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.

August

 

Skyrail celebrates its 10th year as ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Rainforest Experience’.

September

 

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.

2006

October

 

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

November

 

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.

2007

May

 

Skyrail closes for two weeks to replace the haul rope on the cableway’s back line (Red Peak 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.

June

 

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.

December

 

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.

2008

November

 

Skyrail is the winner of the ‘Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism’ at the Queensland Tourism Awards.

2009

February

 

Skyrail is the winner of the ‘Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism’ at the Australian Tourism Awards.

November

 

Skyrail is the winner of the ‘Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism’ at the Queensland Tourism Awards.

2010

February

 

Skyrail is the winner of the ‘Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism’ at the Australian Tourism Awards.

September

 

Skyrail achieved 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.

 

Skyrail achieved the highly regarded EarthCheck Gold certification for its continual improvement of sustainable environmental performance against established benchmarks.

October

 

Skyrail is the winner of the ‘Sustainable Tourism Award’ at the Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) Tourism Awards.

November

 

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.

2012

April

 

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.

2013

November

 

Skyrail introduced 11 Diamond View, glass floor, gondolas which seat 5 people and offer yet another amazing 360 degree perspective of the rainforest, also looking straight below through the canopy to the forest floor.

2014

November

 

Skyrail is the winner of the Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) ‘Ecotourism’ award.

2015

August

 

Skyrail hosts the Emirates Melbourne Cup, The Peoples Cup trophy tour included a visit to two World Heritage areas in one day, the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef while recognising indigenous Australian’s involvement in the racing industry.

August

 

Skyrail celebrates 20 years of operation. On 31 August, Skyrail celebrates a major milestone having completed 20 years of operations and boasting a host of ‘firsts’ along the way. From international awards and accreditations to innovative operational solutions right from the start, Skyrail quickly forged a reputation as an iconic, eco-tourism attraction amongst visitors domestically, and globally. The core ethos of the company, however, remains the same today as it did in 1987 when the concept was first mooted – to showcase World Heritage Listed tropical rainforest to millions of visitors in a safe and environmentally friendly way, visitors who without Skyrail, would never have had the opportunity to experience.

2017

February

 

Skyrail is awarded EarthCheck’s Master Certification. The new certification confirms Skyrail as a leader in the field of sustainability reporting and compliance across all aspects of the business. The Master Certification is EarthCheck’s highest accolade that recognises Skyrail’s commitment over the last 15 years. Skyrail was the first tourism operator in the world to achieve EarthCheck Certification and is one of less than ten EarthCheck Masters worldwide.

2018

March

 

Skyrail welcomed the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Baton to the ancient rainforest. Skyrail’s three baton bearers were long-term staff members Kevin Parise, Reg Brim and Kelly Adams who were each very proud of the opportunity.

November

 

Skyrail is the silver winner of the Queensland Tourism Award for ‘Best Major Tourist Attraction.’

December

 

Skyrail launches the brand new Skyrail App and Interpretive Guide featuring the latest in cutting edge technology, including captivating augmented reality, multimedia and GPS location functionality embedded into the design.

 

Skyrail opens the Rainforest Discovery Zone at Red Peak. The Rainforest Discovery Zone provides a more immersive rainforest experience to Skyrail guests with floor to ceiling interpretative panels, an illuminated evolutionary timeline and Australia’s most realistic jungle habitat of the primordial cassowary.

2019

March

 

Skyrail opens The Edge Lookout, an impressive steel and glass cantilever structure located at Barron Falls Station. The new lookout provides access to unimpeded panoramic views of the ancient landscape spanning across the waterfall and down along the Gorge. It also features a nerve tester section which invites daring visitors to stand on a transparent section of the boardwalk.

October

 

Skyrail is honoured to be awarded the Tropical North Queensland Excellence Award for Innovation for the Skyrail Interpretive App & Audio Guide.

November

 

Skyrail hosts the launch event for six new Electric Vehicle charge stations in Tropical North Queensland as part of Queensland’s Electric Super Highway, known as the Tropical North Queensland EV Drive spanning 500 kilometres. The locations include Coffee Works in Mareeba, Herberton Historic Village, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, Mossman Gorge and Paronella Park. Built by Intrust Energy Solutions in conjunction with RACQ and the Queensland Government (Department of State Development) supporting growth in sustainable tourism and working towards increased environmental conservation.

The Construction of Skyrail

The original Skyrail concept was conceived in 1987 and was followed by 7 years of pre-construction feasibility studies, an Environmental Impact Study and numerous other reports, assessments consultations and approvals with local, state and federal governments and local communities.

 

Construction commenced in June 1994 and required world first construction techniques. When completed it was the world’s longest gondola cableway at the time.

 

Skyrail opened to the public on 31st August 1995. In December 2013, Skyrail introduced 11 Diamond View glass floor gondolas which offer yet another amazing perspective of the rainforest below. Even today Skyrail Rainforest Cableway remains the most environmentally sensitive cableway project in the world.

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