Known as the village in the rainforest, Kuranda boasts a vibrant arts and craft culture.
By Kris Madden
The picturesque mountain retreat of Kuranda village is surrounded by World Heritage-listed rainforest and makes a great day trip from Cairns. Its cool, tropical climate makes it ideal for rainforest walks along the Barron River, or around the village itself where majestic fig trees are home to colourful parrots. Visit a gallery with local Aboriginal art, be immersed in a cloud of colourful butterflies, listen to a joyous bird chorus, or cuddle a koala. Kuranda is also the traditional home of the Djabugay people, who call it Ngunbay or "place of the platypus".
- Ride Skyrail Rainforest Cableway high above the canopy
- Take the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway between Cairns and Kuranda
- Cuddle a koala at Kuranda Koala Gardens
How to get there
Kuranda is located 25 kilometres (16 miles) from Cairns. The nearest airport to Kuranda is Cairns International Airport. Travel from Cairns on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway or Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Top things to do in Kuranda
Eat and drink Australian specialties
Kuranda Rainforest View Restaurant is only a few minutes from Kuranda Station and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and serves delicious food with views over lush rainforest from its deck. Frogs Restaurant is located next to Heritage Markets, Birdworld and the Koala Gardens. Try platters of kangaroo, crocodile, emu and local tiger prawns; or choose a traditional Australian barbecue at Kuranda Trading Post. For a classic pub meal head to the historic Kuranda Hotel set amid rainforest at the top of the magnificent Macalister Range. And for your caffeine hit look no further than Kuranda Rainforest Coffee or try roasted green tea with mango at Japanese Teahouse.
Shop at Kuranda Markets
Kuranda has two outdoor markets, Kuranda Original Rainforest Market and Heritage Markets, both open seven days a week. Find locally designed clothing, hand-crafted jewellery, indigenous art, leather goods, wood carving and gemstones, as well as North Queensland’s best range of honey, local coffee, tropical fruit, and macadamia nuts.
Travel in style
Glide above the rainforest canopy on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, seated in a comfortable gondola which provides uninterrupted views of the rainforest, Cairns, the Coral Sea and the Cairns highlands. You can leave your gondola at Red Peak and Barron Falls stations to explore this incredible Wet Tropics environment from boardwalks and scenic lookouts. On your way back to Cairns, travel on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, which winds through a tropical paradise of rugged mountains and waterfalls. The two hour train journey between Cairns and Kuranda will also take you through tunnels and over bridges. Upgrade to gold class for an exclusive tour of the heritage-listed Signal Cabin at Kuranda station.
Get up close to the local wildlife
Have a close enounter with wildlife at the Kuranda Koala Gardens, where you can be photographed cuddling a koala. The park is also home to kangaroos, wombats and freshwater crocodiles. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary houses more than 2000 butterflies including the largest butterfly in Australia, the green and yellow Cairns birdwing. Learn all about the butterflies on a guided tour, as the magnificent creatures flutter around you. Enter a world of colourful birds at Birdworld Kuranda. You’ll be surrounded by free flying birds from forests across the globe including some of Australia's most precious specimens. Hand feed parrots, admire the endangered cassowary, watch soaring rainbow lorikeets and listen to galah calls.
Experience Aboriginal culture at Rainforestation Nature Park
Join local Aboriginal guides and discover the legends of the Dreamtime at Rainforestation Nature Park. Learn about the customs and ancient ceremonies that still flourish in traditional lands around Kuranda during the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, or join a Bush Tucker Walk through the rainforest to learn about the different plants and fruits traditionally used as medicines and food.
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