When crews began building the Queensland Railway in the late 1800s, they battled dense, untamed rain forests and unyielding mountain terrain to build 15 hand-hewn tunnels and 37 bridges. Today, visitors on Kuranda Scenic Railway’s (61-7/4036-9333; ksr.com.au) new Gold Class between Cairns and Kuranda can marvel at the track’s engineering ingenuity and the natural splendor of northeast Australia from the comfort of a plush Victorian-inspired carriage, complete with lounge-style chairs and dedicated attendants. During the hour and 45 minutes it takes to traverse the vertiginous route, passengers are also treated to local cheeses and gourmet snacks as they wind past steep ravines, gushing waterfalls, and the very same rain forests, now with World Heritage status, that the 19th-century engineers had to contend with. The train runs twice a day, with round-trip Gold Class tickets costing US$170. –Christi Hang
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