Kuranda, sorry to say we just don’t get the appeal, everyone raves about this little village. How if you are in the Cairns/ Port Douglas area that you have to go, that it will be the highlight of your trip but unfortunately we just felt like a tourist trap. Maybe for a foreign traveller they may have a different appeal as most of the attractions cater to Australian wildlife and Australiana arts and craft. We did though enjoy the train ride up on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. I think the price for the family to do this day trip is one of the reasons I also think it’s a trap.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
This famous railway winds its way on a journey of approximately 1 hour 45 minutes from Cairns to Kuranda passing through World Heritage rain forests, streaming waterfalls and the spectacular Baron Gorge. Which would have been impressive if we were fortunate to have been there when it’s flowing at its peak.
The Cairns-Kuranda Railway was constructed between 1882 and 1891 and even today is considered an engineering feat of tremendous magnitude. Hundreds of men were employed to build the 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges that stand as a monument to the pioneers of tropical North Queensland who lost their lives while working on the railway.
The area was originally known for its gold but not the gold that your thinking of but red pine timber from the trees that grow in the area.
Kuranda Scenic Railway Timetable
Departs daily from Cairns Station to Kuranda: 8.30am & 9.30am
Departs daily from Freshwater Station to Kuranda: 8.50am & 9.50am
Departs daily from Kuranda Station to Cairns and Freshwater: 2.00pm & 3.30pm
It is quite expensive which may put you off. We bought the cheapest option.
Heritage Class (one-way) $50.00 adult $25.00 child $125.00 family.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia and is home to over 1500 beautiful tropical butterflies and we thought it was one of the few attractions that we would be willing to pay an entrance fee. It was nice to see them fluttering around, pollunating the plants and seeing the butterfly’s life cycle. The electric blue Ulylees butterfly is iconic to Kuranda.
7 days from 9.45am to 4.00pm, with the exception of:
Christmas Day – Closed
Anzac Day – Open 1:00pm closed 4:00pm
Guided Tours: On request. Bookings essential for groups of ten or over.
Tours available between 10:00am and 3.15pm
This is also one of the attractions that we also weren’t crazy about. Yes, it gave you a birds eye view of the forests canopy as you glide metres above it as you descend from Kuranda over the 7.5 kilometres of cable. However with the jolts that happens regulary it’s not the smoothest of rides.
It’s definitely worth getting out at the stations especially at the board walked Red Peak station to be in amongst the gigantic trees and ferns of the rain forest.
Once again the one way trip is quite expensive.
One Way Skyrail: Departing from Kuranda $50.00 Adult $25.00 Child $125.00 Family
Kuranda the town
Shops in Kuranda
The town is supposed to be charming and cater for tourists and I guess it does with many of the attractions suited more to the foreign travellers than Australians.
But what we didn’t really like about the town is that it felt kind of seedy, a bit rough we wouldn’t want to spend the night. From the local bar owner yelling out to people as they get off the train, to locals being drunk in the street and shouting obscenities to each other. It just didn’t have that pleasant feel to the town.
With the costs of transportation even though quite unique, the costs for lunch, the entrance fees to the attractions that you wish to enter overall it comes to a very expensive day trip.
A similar town but came across much nicer is Mount Tambourine about forty five minutes to the Gold Coast.
Have you been to Kuranda?