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
Things to do and top attractions in Kuranda
Eat at Kuranda's best restaurants
Frogs Restaurant, located next to Heritage Markets, Birdworld and the Koala Gardens, is the perfect spot to try platters of kangaroo, crocodile, emu and local tiger prawns. You'll find a traditional outback dining experience at Kuranda Trading Post, or you can opt for a classic pub meal at the historic Kuranda Hotel, set amid rainforest at the top of the magnificent Macalister Range. For your caffeine hit, look no further than Kuranda Rainforest Coffee, or try roasted green tea with mango at Japanese Tea House.
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, Aboriginal art, leather goods, wood carving and gemstones, as well as North Queensland’s best range of honey, local coffee, tropical fruit, and macadamia nuts.
Journey through the rainforest
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. Leave your gondola at Barron Falls Station to experience The Edge Lookout, where you can take in the pounding Barron Falls as they drop into the mighty Barron Gorge. 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 encounter 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 2,000 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.