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Kuranda Scenic Village In The Rainforest

Cairns may be best known for the Great Barrier Reef, but Kuranda Scenic Village, located in the mountainous tropical rainforests to the north, is undoubtedly one for the bucket list.

A visit to Kuranda is an all-day affair with something to excite and inspire all visitors, whether a rugged adventurer, shopaholic or passionate nature lover. 

The village provides a sharp contrast to the bustle of Cairns and sunny sea adventures of the Great Barrier Reef, offering a rich rainforest experience with a colourful community and exciting range of activities.

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What to do in Kuranda?


Kuranda Markets

Kuranda is probably best known for its famous markets, the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets and Heritage Markets. Dating back over 30 years, the creative and quirky markets offer a range of Aboriginal artefacts, local arts and crafts, souvenirs, handmade leather, clothing, jewellery and regional gourmet grub made using the freshest local produce. Markets are open Thursday - Monday and are a must-visit in Kuranda.

A Man And Woman Walking Down Kuranda MarketsCredit to: Tourism and Events Queensland

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Home to over 1500 tropical butterflies, The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly light aviary and exhibit in Australia and the whole of the southern hemisphere. Take a wander through the aviary's rainforest gardens and be wowed by the array of fluttering butterflies. And for those that can handle a little squirm, the sanctuary offers a "behind the scenes" tour of the breeding laboratory, which houses 4000 caterpillars in their varying stages of development. The Butterfly Sanctuary is open seven days a week and is truly a sight to see.

Kuranda Koala Gardens

The Kuranda Koala Gardens allows tourists to get up close and personal with some of Australia's iconic wildlife. The gardens are conveniently located in the Kuranda Heritage Markets, and visitors can expect far more than cuddly koalas. You'll also find wallabies, wombats, kangaroos, freshwater crocodiles, snakes, lizards, water dragons and a collection of 'nocturnal wonders'.

A Group Of People Holding At Kuranda Koala GardensCredit to: Tourism and Events Queensland

Birdworld Kuranda 

If the Koala Gardens aren't enough, Kuranda is also home to Birdworld Kuranda with over 80 species and 350 birds, all set within a beautiful natural habitat.  


Kuranda Riverboat

Once you have taken in all the excitement of the gardens, sanctuaries and markets, why not take a leisurely river cruise down the Barron River. Experience mother nature in all her glory on a 45-minute riverboat excursion that winds through the ancient tropical rainforest, and perhaps spot a few local freshwater crocodiles, turtles and water dragons.


Kuranda Walking Tracks & Trails

Whether an intrepid adventurer or casual wanderer, Kuranda offers walking trails and tracks to suit all fitness levels and ages. Take a serene stroll beneath the rainforest canopy, venture through Barron Gorge National Park, take to the banks of the Barron River or enjoy an art lover's crawl through the scenic village. 


Kuranda Restaurants 

You won't be short on foodie options in Kuranda, with a top-notch selection of restaurants, cafés and food stalls serving up some of the finest local produce. Frog's Restaurant is a firm favourite, featuring an extensive menu of wild barramundi, fragrant curries, pizza and burgers, as well as tasting platters of emu, crocodile and kangaroo for those with a more adventurous palate.

Kuranda RestaurantsCredit to: Tourism and Events Queensland

How to get to Kuranda?


Original Kuranda Scenic Railway

The journey from Cairns to Kuranda is half the fun. No doubt, the best way to venture to this renowned rainforest village is by the Original Kuranda Scenic Railway. 

The 2-hour train route passes through 15 hand-carved tunnels and over 37 bridges, with unparalleled rainforest, ravine and waterfall views. The epic journey includes a 10 minute stop at Barron Falls Station with a bird's eye view of breathtaking Barron Falls. 

So impressive is the 127-year-old Kuranda Scenic Railway that it is now Heritage listed and considered a National Engineering Landmark. Travellers can choose to travel Heritage or Gold Class, which includes a lavish morning or afternoon tea showcasing a selection of delicious Queensland and local Tablelands produce.  

Whether travelling one way from Cairns to Kuranda or taking a relaxing round trip, an unforgettable journey is guaranteed. 


Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Another popular route to Kuranda is via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Head to the Smithfield Terminal, 15 minutes north of Cairns and take a spellbinding trip above the rainforest. 

The 1.5hr journey includes stops at Red Peak, where you can take a ranger-guided boardwalk tour to marvel at the ancient trees and lush fern gardens, and Barron Falls, a sacred place known as 'Din Din' to the Djabuganydji people. The journey ends at Kuranda Terminal, located on the Barron River and just a short walk to Kuranda Village.

For a full day of fun, it's highly recommended to make a round journey, combining both the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. 

A Person And A Child On Skyrail Rainforest CablewayCredit to: Tourism and Events Queensland

Travelling from Cairns to Kuranda by Car 

Alternatively, if you are on a tighter schedule, Kuranda is only a short 35-minute drive or bus ride from Cairns. The mountain road meanders gently through the dense rainforest and offers a scenic shortcut to the famous village.   


Fun Facts about Kuranda


What is the Aboriginal name for Kuranda?

It is thought that the name, Kuranda, was derived from an Aboriginal word describing the flax or stream lily.

Is Kuranda a hippie town?

In the late 60s, Kuranda saw a number of hippie communes crop up, with free-spirited artists and musicians arriving in the 70s — attracted to the laid-back lifestyle and incredible natural surroundings. Today, Kuranda is still known as a hippie haven, drawing in artists and quirky characters from around the globe.

Is Kuranda cooler than Cairns?

Yes! Because of its altitude and beautiful mountain location, Kuranda has a much cooler and less humid climate than Cairns. 

Where to stay in Cairns?

Just 25km northwest of Cairns, Kuranda makes for the perfect day trip. After a day of mountain trekking, market perusing and bird-watching, roll back into the CBD for a little luxury with a choice of three Crystalbrook hotels and resorts. 

Crystalbrook Flynn

Located on Cairns Esplanade, Crystalbrook Flynn is right in the heart of the action. The luxury hotel is home to 311 contemporary rooms and suites with city, harbour or stunning sea views. Wind down after a day of hitting the rainforest trails with a treatment at Eléme Day spa, lounge by the oh so glamorous glass swimming pool or join in the fun at trendy Boardwalk Social or Flynn's Italian.  

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Crystalbrook Bailey

Located in Cairns' thriving CBD, Crystalbrook Bailey is all about originality, culture and luxury details with a range of Urban rooms and one, two and three-bedroom city apartments. Enjoy a dip in one of the hotel's pools or grab a bite at award-winning CC's Bar and Grill after your Kuranda day trip adventure. 

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Crystalbrook Riley

Crystalbrook Riley is the perfect pick for a Tropical North Queensland family getaway. The 5-star resort has a range of luxury rooms and suites with city, resort and panoramic Coral Sea Views, not to mention a 1,000+ sqm swimming lagoon, man-made beach, pool cabanas and rooftop bar and restaurant. The perfect place to escape, live in the moment, kick back with a cocktail and create magical memories. 

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