Kuranda Scenic Railway, Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Population 2966

This small village is set in tropical rainforest on the banks of the Barron River north-west of Cairns. Its beautiful setting attracted a strong hippie culture in the 1960s and 1970s and, while it still has a bohemian feel, tourism is now the order of the day. There are many nature parks and eco-tourism experiences on offer, along with plenty of art and craft workshops, cafes and a daily market. Even transport to and from the town has been developed into an attraction – the Scenic Railway and Skyrail, both with jaw-dropping views over World Heritage–listed rainforest.

Visitor Information

6 Rob Veivers Dr; (07) 4093 9311


Nearby national parks

  • Barron Gorge National Park

    One of the state’s most popular places, Barron Gorge National Park offers lush tropical rainforest in a rugged mountain setting of...more

  • Wooroonooran National Park

    Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Wooroonooran National Park boasts the two highest mountains in Queensland, along with wild...more

  • Crater Lakes National Park

    Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, this national park surrounds two lakes, Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. These are volcanic...more

Nearby towns

  • Palm Cove

    Serene Palm Cove, north-west of Cairns, has white, sandy beaches and streets lined with palm trees. It is essentially a resort village, with...more

  • Cairns

    This modern, colourful city is the capital of the Tropical North and the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but was once a service town for...more

  • Mareeba

    Mareeba was the first town settled on the Atherton Tableland by pastoralist John Atherton in 1877. Tobacco production began in the 1950s,...more

In Town

Scenic Railway and Skyrail The Scenic Railway is an engineering feat more than 100 years old with tunnels, bridges and incredible views of Barron Falls. It begins at Caravonica Lakes (11km N of Cairns) and ends 34km later in the lush garden setting of Kuranda Station. Travel by rail on the way up and take the Skyrail, a journey via gondola across the treetops, on the way back (or vice versa). (07) 4038 1555.

Butterfly Sanctuary: large enclosure, home to over 1500 tropical butterflies, including the blue Ulysses and the Australian birdwing, the country's largest butterfly; Rod Veivers Dr.

Birdworld: over 50 species of birds, including the flightless cassowary and some endangered species; close to the heritage markets.

Koala Gardens: Australian animals in a natural setting; close to the heritage markets.

The Aviary: birds, frogs, snakes and crocodiles; Thongon St.

Arts and crafts shops: including Kuranda Arts Cooperative, next to Butterfly Sanctuary, and Doongal Aboriginal Arts and Crafts on Coondoo St.

Emu Ridge Gallery and Museum: unique dinosaur skeleton, fossil and gemstone museum; Therwine St.

Australian Venom Zoo: visit the most venomous snakes and spiders in the world; Coondoo St.

World Famous Honey House: free tastings and live bee displays; open 9am–3pm; Therwine St.

River cruises: depart daily from the riverside landing below the railway station.


Barron Gorge National Park Most people experience this park via the Scenic Railway or Skyrail, but those who want to get away from the crowds could set out on one of the park's bushwalking tracks leading into pockets of World Heritage wilderness. Perhaps you'll spot a Ulysses butterfly, cassowary or tree kangaroo. If you haven't already seen Barron Falls from the train or Skyrail, make your way to Barron Falls lookout 3 km from Kuranda. The falls are spectacular after rain. Access to the national park is via Cairns or Kuranda; (07) 4046 6600.

Kuranda Nature Park: wildlife, canoeing, swimming and rainforest tours aboard 4WD Hummers; 2 km W.

Rainforestation Nature Park: rainforest tours, tropical fruit orchard, Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance troupe, Dreamtime walk, and a koala and wildlife park; 35 km E.

Carrowong Wildlife Eco-tours: tours to see nocturnal, rare and endangered rainforest creatures; (07) 4093 7287.

Fishing spots near town

Cairns 19 km

Many international game anglers regard Cairns as the game fish capital of the world, with plenty of big black marlin – the Holy Grail of gamefishing. Granders or Julies, call them what you will, these huge female... Find out more

Trinity Inlet 23 km

The Cairns region offers more than gamefishing. South of the city are rivers like the Russell and Mulgrave; to the north are the Daintree and Mowbray Rivers. Anglers heading inland will find opportunities like the famous... Find out more

Lake Tinaroo 40 km

Lake Tinaroo is built across the Barron River Gorge in the Atherton Tablelands; about two hours’ drive from Cairns via Gordonvale and Yungaburra. The lake was the first of Queensland’s impoundments stocked... Find out more

Julatten 41 km

Fishing is where you find it, and sometimes you find it in unlikely places. Between Mount Molloy and Mossman in the Rex Ranges at a place called Julatten, I came across a couple of people fishing in a pond. I pulled over... Find out more

Russell Heads 57 km

Russell Heads is the junction and estuary system of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers, south of Cairns. I was fishing with Kieran Livingstone who had a Cairns Custom Craft aluminium, a solid boat ideal for river and... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Wildlife experience - Cairns

Combine several of the Cairns area’s main wildlife attractions into one seamless day out: the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, Kuranda Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Book through... Find out more

Savannahlander 18 km

This small two- or three-carriage train heads out across the savannah country from Cairns to Forsayth on a four-day round trip, allowing you to get off at towns and see key places, such as Undara, along the way. You can... Find out more

Reef tours 41 km

As with elsewhere on the reef, there is the luxury of choice for diving or snorkelling trips, particularly from Port Douglas. However, remember the reef is not just offshore and involves a boat trip. Among the... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Paradise Palms Country Club 5 km

‘Paradise’ is appropriately named. Situated 25 minutes north of Cairns, and just off the Captain Cook Highway, this is a beautiful golf course. The rainforest-covered Great Dividing Range dominates the... Find out more

Sea Temple Golf & Country Club 37 km

Technological advancements in agronomy and construction equipment have opened up new frontiers and landscapes for golf course designers during the past 40 years. One course designer who has never shirked a tough... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Cedar Park Rainforest 

Two top chefs and the rainforest location make this a special place to dine. Eat outdoors on the deck overlooking the rainforest by a mountain stream, or enjoy a drink at the bar or beside a fire on cool nights. The menu... Find out more

Breweries around town

Blue Sky Brewery 19 km

After a significant period between drinks, Cairns once again has a working brewery with the opening of Blue Sky Brewery in 2008. Located in the heart of the city, the microbrewery, bar and restaurant complex has six... Find out more

Campsites around town

Speewah Campground 7 km

This campground is in the conservation park adjacent to Barron Gorge National Park’s western boundary. It is reached from the Kennedy Hwy, 10 km west of Kuranda, then a further 6 km east to the site. You can also... Find out more

Davies Creek camping area 22 km

Camp beside the creek at this clearing 6 km from the Kennedy Hwy, accessible by conventional vehicles. There are 8 sites with space for 10 campers per site. Bring firewood for the allocated fireplaces, and all... Find out more

Dinden camping area (bush camping) 24 km

A 4WD is advisable for accessing these 6 bush campsites, 5 km along Davies Creek Rd from Davies Creek National Park. It is preferable to visit in the dry season (Apr–Oct). Bring your own water, rubbish bags, and a... Find out more

Kauri Creek camping area 36 km

A great spot for swimming and canoeing, Kauri Creek is 9 km from the western entrance and 19 km from the eastern entrance of Danbulla Forest Dr. Open fires are allowed in fire rings; generators are not permitted.... Find out more

Granite Gorge Nature Park 36 km

Formed millions of years ago by ancient volcanoes, the boulders at Granite Gorge are a natural wonder well worth checking out. Some, allegedly, are shaped like animals. The tent sites are shady; safari tent accommodation... Find out more

School Point camping area 36 km

School Point can be reached by 2WD or boat. It has has 8 numbered campsites with a gravel surface. To get here, turn off Danbulla Forest Dr 16 km from the western entrance, or 12 km from the eastern entrance, and follow... Find out more

Downfall Creek camping area 37 km

This campground is 7 km from the western entrance and 21 km from the eastern entrance of the Danbulla Forest Dr. Campers can take the 2.4 km walk through the forest to Kauri Creek. Bring all self-sufficient supplies,... Find out more

Fong-On Bay camping area 38 km

A favourite with waterskiers, this campground is divided into 2 sections with good water access: Bulmba and Gungul. To get here, turn off Danbulla Forest Dr 16.5 km from the western entrance, or 11.5 km from the eastern... Find out more

Platypus camping area 39 km

Platypus campground, 4 km from the western entrance, has 18 numbered sites for small tents, large tents and vans. Open fires are allowed here in the provided fire rings and BBQs (except when fire bans apply); bring your... Find out more

Discovery Holiday Parks – Lake Tinaroo 40 km

Just 150 m from Lake Tinaroo, this caravan park has an excellent range of facilities for a comfortable stay after a day of boating or waterskiing on the lake. Other activities include fishing for barramundi or sooty... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Lake Placid Tourist Park 7 km

This park is about 10 km north-west of Cairns, on the bank of the Barron River. Enjoy the covered barbecue area, and the Skyrail terminal, a major attraction, is nearby. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more

Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows 10 km

This small, absolute beachfront park is 30 km north of Cairns. Ellis Beach was voted the cleanest beach in Queensland and has a patrolled swimming area. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Cool Waters Holiday Park 12 km

Located in the foothills a few kilometers out of Cairns, this is a quality park with very good facilities. Pets are allowed, but small dogs only. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park 13 km

This good quality park is easily accessible and only about 5 km from the centre of Cairns. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Cairns Sunland Leisure Park 15 km

Located in suburban Cairns, this park is easily accessible and is a good base to spend a few days. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Cairnsvilla and Leisure Park 16 km

The park is 4 km from the centre of Cairns, set in a quiet area with beautiful tropical surrounds. It has very good facilities including a mini-mart and a TV room. It is an ideal park for a holiday.... Find out more

Big4 Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort 20 km

Enjoy the excellent facilities of this quality park, on the southern approach to the city 7 km from the centre of Cairns. There is a cafe, free minigolf, tennis and aqua aerobics, and the list continues. Bookings are... Find out more

BIG4 Port Douglas Glengarry Holiday Park 34 km

The park is located in a peaceful location about 10 km south of Port Douglas off the Captain Cook Highway. It is a nice park, tucked away from the busy centre of this popular tourist destination. Bookings are required in... Find out more

Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park 40 km

This park is located on Tinaroo Dam, 17 km from Atherton. It is popular with anglers who come year round to catch barramundi from the stocked reservoir. The park has good basic facilities. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Pandanus Van Park 41 km

This park is just 2 km from the centre of Port Douglas, on the main road into town. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Cedar Park Rainforest 

An elegant, almost European-style resort in the tropics, Cedar Park has six individually decorated rooms in a lovely rainforest setting. Features include verandahs with views, ensuites, free use of the spa, a fully... Find out more

Kuranda Rainforest Accommodation Park

Accommodation here ranges from caravan and tent sites with a camp kitchen to a lodge with shared facilities, poolside and garden units or rainforest bungalows. The park is set in 4 hectares of bushland, and offers guided... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Kingfisher Park Birdwatcher’s Lodge 40 km

Guaranteed to get keen birdwatchers excited, this eco-accredited establishment at Julatten is renowned as one of the best birdwatching spots north of Cairns, with rare endemic species seen around the pool. For six months... Find out more

Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat 55 km

By renting out nine elegant eco-accredited treehouses (near Malanda), the owners have funded a massive weed-clearing and revegetation program – including planting 20 000 trees – on their 92-hectare property,... Find out more

The Canopy, near Malanda 65 km

Located at Tarzali, this place comprises six beautiful glass and timber treehouses set in 40 hectares of rainforest that has never been logged, with Lumholtz tree-kangaroos creeping around, green ringtail possums,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gordonvale park area 35 km

33km N of Babinda (R) or 27km S of Cairns (L)

Just off the highway at the Mulgrave River.

The Boulders camping area 63 km

T/O at Babinda

Small campground located 6km west of the highway via the main street. Near a picnic area in the rainforest. Limited sites.

What's on around town

Heritage Markets: Rod Veivers Dr; Mon–Sun.

Original Markets: behind the Kuranda Market Arcade; Mon–Sun.

New Kuranda Markets: 40 shops and stalls on Coondoo St; Mon–Sun.

Spring Festival: Sept.

comments powered by Disqus