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18 Amazing Things To Do in Kuranda (2024)


Staff member
Jan 13, 2024
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Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Ariana Svenson

Looking for the best things to do in Kuranda? Nestled in Tropical North Queensland, Kuranda’s ‘village in the rainforest’ is a wonder-filled oasis that offers an assortment of sights, attractions and activities for all ages, from stunning scenery to fantastic wildlife and indigenous culture.

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Is it Worth Visiting Kuranda?

Kuranda uniquely blends rich biodiversity, cultural experiences, and stunning natural beauty. The village provides various activities suitable for all ages, from wildlife encounters and rainforest walks to shopping at the local markets and soaking in Aboriginal art and culture.

If you choose to travel to Kuranda on the heritage train or Skyrail (or both), this adds to the experience and makes it one of the best Day Trips from Cairns.

How to Get to Kuranda from Cairns

How to Get to Kuranda from Cairns

Getting to Kuranda is definitely part of the experience. Here are a few options to reach Kuranda:

  1. Kuranda Scenic Railway: A historic train journey from Cairns, offering picturesque views of the rainforest, waterfalls, and Barron Gorge. Get your rail tickets here.
  2. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: The gondola lifts run from Cairns to Kuranda and provides an aerial view of the rainforest. You can also stop at two rainforest stations for a closer look. Read more about travelling to Kuranda via the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail here.
  3. Driving: You can drive to Kuranda from Cairns in 30 minutes via State Route 91 and National Route. Perhaps this is the most practical method of visiting Kuranda that allows you to get in as many activities as possible. You are able to visit the Kuranda attractions at your own pace, stay longer, or even overnight (see our accommodation recommendations below).
  4. Bus Service: Regular 851 bus services run from Cairns to Kuranda, providing a cost-effective way to reach the village. More info here.

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18 Amazing Things to Do in Kuranda

The vibrant village of Kuranda is steeped in cultural traditions and has a range of attractions and hikes that can transform your visit into one to remember forever. Keep in mind that if you take the Kuranda train up, and the Skyrail back you don’t have a lot of time in the village, so you should prioritize what you want to see most.

From visiting the butterfly sanctuary of Koala Gardens to going on a boat trip on the Barron River, prepare to be enchanted by the diverse offerings of this rainforest paradise.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Kuranda Australia best day trips from cairns

1. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Experience

Kickstart your Kuranda adventure by floating above the dense rainforest on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This unique experience takes you on a 7.5 km ride above one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

Keep your eyes peeled for Wrights Lookout and the majestic Barron Falls. Don’t forget to check the Skyrail Cairns timetable to ensure your spot on this unique journey.

Family Travel Tips: Awesome Ideas For Traveling With Kids Kuranda Scenic Railway Kuranda Australia

2. Go on the Historic Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is an unmissable experience on any visit to Kuranda. The Kuranda train ride takes you through World Heritage-listed rainforests, past cascading waterfalls and steep ravines. It’s one of the best Man-Made Landmarks in Australia.

I recommend getting to Kuranda one way on the Scenic Railway and the other way on the Skyrail. After all, it is one of the best Kuranda tourist attractions.

The breathtaking views you’ll encounter will create lasting memories of your trip to Kuranda. You can view more about the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail here.

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3. Visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

As we took the Kuranda train up and the Skyrail down, we only had limited time in Kuranda. we chose to spend it in the colourful world of the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Here, we witnessed Australia’s largest butterfly flight aviary, with over 1,500 beautiful tropical butterflies fluttering around.

The butterfly aviary is in a natural rainforest environment where you’ll see tropical plants and even a waterfall.

The sanctuary offers guided tours to understand life cycles and behaviors better.

Opening Times: Daily, 9:30-3:30

4. Experience the Rainforestation Nature Park

The Rainforestation Nature Park combines wildlife, culture, and nature in one place.

Here, you can explore the Rainforest on an Army Duck Tour, learn about indigenous culture during the Dreamtime Walk, and get up close with kangaroos, koalas, and crocodiles.


5. Discover the Kuranda Koala Gardens

If you’re visiting Kuranda with kids, this is the perfect thing to do in Kuranda, Cairns. The Kuranda Koala Gardens are only small, but they pack in lots! The gardens are a wildlife lover’s paradise.

Kids will love having a cuddle with the koalas, and you can even get a photo taken if you like. They can also feed the wallabies by hand. You can also witness the charm of other Australian wildlife, from freshwater crocodiles to wombats, frogs and wallabies.

Opening Times: Daily, 10 am – 4 pm at the Kuranda Heritage Markets.

Read More: Interesting Facts about Koalas

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6. Explore the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets

Discover the vibrant Kuranda markets. This bustling marketplace is an excellent spot for souvenir shopping and understanding local life in Kuranda. They are open daily and offer a range of local and handcrafted products.

Pick up arts, handmade crafts and locally designed fashion.

Opening Times: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (closed Monday/Tuesday).

7. Visit the Emu Ridge Gallery

For art lovers, the Emu Ridge Gallery is a must-visit. There is a fossil and gemstone museum. Kids will love the 9-meter replica of an Allosaurus.

Opening Times: Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 am-3:00 pm (Closed Monday/Tuesday).

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8. Barron Gorge National Park and Other Walks

There are many opportunities for every age and fitness level to explore the ancient Queensland rainforests. Barron Gorge National Park offers the chance to see the mighty Barron Falls (Din Din) take part in rainforest walks, and engage with nature.

The Barron Falls are best seen from the Kuranda train or from the Edge Lookout on the Skyrail Route. It’s incredible when Barron Falls comes alive with roaring water in the wet season.

The walk starts at the Barron Gorge Visitor Information Centre and is an easy circuit. This walk takes about an hour to complete and follows the Barron River through the rainforest.

9. Birdworld Kuranda

Birdworld Kuranda is a paradise for birdwatchers. This wildlife attraction is one of the very best Kuranda things to do and houses some of Australia’s most vibrant and exotic birds. Birdworld is home to Australia’s most extensive collection of free-flying birds.

The design of Birdworld allows an interactive experience where you can get up close to the birds.

Tip: Make sure you remove anywhere shiny! You can interact with the birds; if you’re lucky, you might even have one land on your shoulder.

Note, we chose not to visit Birdworld Kuranda as we planned to visit the large aviaries at Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas during the second part of our trip. More info about what we did in Port Douglas in 7 days here.

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

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10. Try the Local Cuisine

Known for its fresh, flavourful and varied food scene, Kuranda is a true paradise for food lovers. From delicious local coffee to homemade ice cream and delicious fruits, there’s so much to try in Kuranda!

The village has various eateries, ranging from charming roadside cafes to gourmet restaurants. Make sure to try out the local Barramundi, a flavorful fish popular in this part of Australia, often served grilled or fried.

Remember, every bite tells a story; in Kuranda, it’s a story you won’t want to miss.

Especially for kids:

What child wouldn’t love a visit to Kuranda Candy Kitchen? If you are traveling with kids we consider this a must-stop place. Located in the heart of Kuranda, this is more than just a candy shop. Kiddos get the opportunity to watch traditional candy rock candy making demonstrations, weather permitting.

Atherton Tablelands Kuranda Australia, Cairns Australia, adventures in Kuranda Atherton Tablelands Kuranda Australia, Cairns Australia, adventures in Kuranda

11. Discover the Atherton Tablelands

Just a short drive away from Kuranda, this picturesque plateau offers a distinct contrast to the tropical rainforest environment with its cool, crisp air, rolling green hills, sprawling farmland, and a series of quaint towns.

This is the perfect thing to do if you stay a few nights in Kuranda. Discover volcanic lakes, waterfalls and tropical rainforests!

Highlights of the Atherton Tablelands include visits to the Nerada Tea Plantation, Curtain Fig Tree and Milaa Milla Falls.

View Places to Stay in Kuranda Here

Barron River Boat Tour Kuranda Australia

12. A Boat Tour of the Barron River

Without a tranquil Barron River Boat Tour, no Kuranda sightseeing experience would be complete. The boat tour offers an excellent opportunity to see the area from a unique perspective and to learn some interesting facts about the local ecosystem.

As you glide along the water, take in the stunning scenery and watch for the fantastic wildlife that calls this region home.

If you are looking for something more adventurous, try white-water rafting on the Barron River. More information can be found here.

13. Go on an ATV or Quadbike Tour of the Area

For adrenaline seekers, going on an ATV or quad bike tour is a must-do Kuranda activity. This thrilling adventure will take you through rainforest trails, hills, and creeks, giving you a taste of the area’s diverse terrain.

It’s an adventure that combines both excitement and the beauty of nature.

ATV tours also run from Cairns – an alternative way to reach Kuranda. If you’re planning a trip to Cairns, you can read about the Best Time to Visit Cairns here. If you’re visiting with kids, discover how to plan a Cairns Family Holiday here.

14. Play Mini Golf in the Rainforest

Another fun activity is to play a round of mini golf in the Rainforest at the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets Mini Golf. This unique setting, surrounded by lush greenery and native wildlife, offers a fun and relaxed environment for family and friends to enjoy a game and a few laughs.

Australian Cassowary, Cassowary in Daintree Rainforest Australia

15. Spot the Local Wildlife

Take a trip to the Kuranda Wildlife Park in the Rainforestation Nature Park. Here, you will have the opportunity to encounter a variety of Australian animals up close.

Watch out for the koalas, kangaroos, and the elusive cassowary. The tour guide will provide good knowledge about the wildlife inhabiting this part of the world.

16. Go on the Cassowary Art Trail

The Cassowary Art TrailKuranda offers a cultural treat for art lovers. The trail showcases local art inspired by the cassowary, a bird native to the region.

As you navigate the trail, you’ll be able to appreciate the talent of local artists and learn more about this iconic bird species.

17. Edge Lookout

A short walk from Kuranda village, the Edge Lookout offers breathtaking views of the Rainforest and Barron Gorge. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or to enjoy a moment of tranquillity.

18. Visit the Peter Jarver Gallery

Art enthusiasts and admirers of natural beauty will find the Peter Jarver Gallery in Kuranda a must-visit destination. This gallery showcases the spectacular work of the late Peter Jarver, a renowned Australian photographer famed for his striking images of Australia’s landscape, particularly the mesmerizing lightning storms.

The gallery is a visual feast adorned with a stunning collection of Jarver’s most iconic pieces. Each photograph tells a story, encapsulating the raw beauty and power of the Australian landscape

Visiting Kuranda Village with Kids, Australia with kids

Visiting Kuranda Village with Kids

We visited Kuranda with children aged 4 months, 6 years and 9 years and thought it was a lovely destination. Once you get off the train it is a short walk uphill (not too far though… there were some complaints at some point) before you hit the main street and the Kuranda markets area. Even kids can’t miss a good vibe and cute village like atmosphere. They had a wonderful time as we walked down the main street, cut across the park with a playground in it, and found the Butterfly Sanctuary which we had decided to visit in Kuranda.

Visiting Kuranda with kids promises to be a fun-filled, educational adventure. The village and surrounding areas provide many child-friendly activities that effortlessly combine learning with entertainment.

We visited Kuranda village on a Kuranda Rail and Skyrail day trip. You can read more about our experience in this post.

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Kuranda Accommodation

Staying in Kuranda immerses yourself in the charm and beauty of the ‘Village in the Rainforest’. If you can’t decide which of these things to do in Kuranda on your day trip, why not stay a night or two?

Here are our top Kuranda accommodation recommendations:

Rainforest Studio Kuranda: This tranquil property blends seamlessly into the rainforest surroundings. Located 10-miles from the Skyway Rainforest Cableway and 10-miles from Cairns Station, this property is somewhat located directly in lush rainforest habitat.

This one-bedroom, one bath property comes with a fully equipped kitchen, and plenty of indoor/outdoor living space to enjoy. It is beautiful and contemporary; great for couples.

View prices and availability for your dates here

Kuranda Ngorongoro Lodge: Located just 3 miles from the Kuranda Skyrail Cableway, this quant bed and breakfast is perfect for those seeking a serene escape.

The lodge offers several different rooms types. Kids will love the outdoor pool!

View prices and availability for your dates here

Botanica House Kuranda: Ideal for families or extended stays, this 4-bedroom house is located right in the heart of Kuranda.

It offers a fully equipped kitchen and spacious living area. Not to mention a chance to view native rainforest animals such as wallabies, cassowaries, and fruit doves in their natural habitat from the house.

Just a 3-minute drive from the markets, making it a convenient base for exploring the village.

View prices and availability for your dates here

Things to do in Kuranda (with Kids!), Downtown Kuranda Australia

The Verdict – Things to do in Kuranda (with Kids!)

The charm of Kuranda lies in its blend of culture, nature, and adventure. From the stunning landscapes and unique wildlife to the thriving art scene and indigenous culture, it’s no wonder that Kuranda is one of Tropical North Queensland’s must-visit destinations. No matter how long your visit is, there’s always something exciting to see and do

Kuranda Railway Station, Cairns to Kuranda Australia Kuranda Cableway, Cairns to Kuranda Australia

FAQs: Things to do in Kuranda

What is Kuranda known for?

Kuranda is known for its lush rainforest, rich Aboriginal culture, and attractions like the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Kuranda Scenic Railway, wildlife parks, and markets.

When is the best time of year to visit Kuranda?

Kuranda can be visited year-round. The wet season (November to April) showcases a lush rainforest, while the dry season (May to October) offers comfortable temperatures for outdoor activities.

How long should I spend in Kuranda?

Generally, a full day is sufficient to experience Kuranda’s significant attractions. For deeper exploration, consider an overnight stay or a few days.

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