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On first impressions Kuranda is just another hippy village geared towards tourists, but there are many things to do in Kuranda and there is much more to this rainforest village than first meets the eye.

Every day thousands of tourists spill out of trains, buses and Skyrail cable cars in Kuranda. Given that the scenic train to Kuranda and the Skyrail are two of Cairns’ greatest attractions, its no wonder that there are also lots of tourist attractions in Kuranda geared towards catering for masses of daytrippers.

kuranda australiaKuranda itself is a small village that is almost overcrowded with art galleries, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, craft shops, market stalls and quite a few wildlife attractions.

Away from all this tourist paraphernalia, Kuranda is actually a really beautiful rainforest village retreat.

Take Kuranda for what it is, but make sure you find some time to wander down to the river and soak up the surrounding beauty and natural environment.

Here are a few things we recommend doing while you’re there:

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]1. wander the shops and galleries[/headline]

Browsing the shops and galleries in KurandaAmongst all the souvenir shops there are a few interesting shops worth checking out in Kuranda.

One of them is the Kuranda Candy Kitchen where you can watch them making the candy on the premises.


[headline size=”small” align=”left”]2. butterfly sanctuary[/headline]

kuranda butterfly sanctuaryThe Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary is a quick and relatively inexpensive thing to do in Kuranda and it’s also really fascinating because you can go behind the scenes and see the people working in the laboratory where they breed them.

Make sure you wear bright colours if you want the butterflies to land on you as you walk through the aviary.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]3. take a riverboat cruise[/headline]

kuranda boat tourMost people head straight for the markets and attractions when they arrive in Kuranda but the best way to take in the scenery surrounding this rainforest village is to take a riverboat cruise on the Barron River, which is on the opposite side of the train station.

It’s a wonderful relaxing and informative way to see the rainforest away from all the hordes of tourists and if you’re lucky you may even spot a freshwater crocodile as well as turtles and fish.

The owners of the Kuranda Riverboat Cruise also offer a guided walk of the rainforest followed by morning tea.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]4. shop for aboriginal art[/headline]

There are several shops selling Aboriginal art in Kuranda and one of them is owned by Aboriginal people with the proceeds all going back into their community.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]5. barron falls[/headline]
picture of the barron falls in the wet seasonBarron Falls is definitely the most spectacular waterfall on the Tablelands, particularly in the wet season when it thunders.

It is located near Kuranda and even you’re travelling there on the Kuranda train or Skyrail you will be able to see it.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]6. Get your wildlife fix[/headline]

Koala Gardens is a nice small zoo so if you haven’t had your photo taken holding a koala yet this is the place to do it.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]7. bird world[/headline]

The birdlife in Australia is amazing and colourful and this attraction is a great celebration of all things feathered.

riverwalk one of things to do in kuranda[headline size=”small” align=”left”]8. Go walking[/headline]

There’s more to Kuranda than meets the eye and walking around the back streets will enable you to see a different side to this small town that even a lot of Cairns locals don’t see.

We would definitely recommend heading down to the river on the other side of the station and walking along the track.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]9. rainforestation[/headline]

rainforestation aboriginal dancingRainforestation is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kuranda and while it is very touristy it is handy for people who are short on time because it gives you a taster of all the signature features of North Queensland all in one spot.

It’s especially good if you’ve got children.

There’s a small zoo with native animals, some Aboriginal dance performances and a drive through the rainforest in an old army vehicle.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]10. lunch[/headline]

While there are many active things to do in Kuranda, don’t forget to plan some time for sitting in a cafe or restaurant and watching the world go by.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]

  • Try and arrive in Kuranda early in the morning before all the crowds arrive so that you can soak in the atmosphere and see what the locals enjoy about living here
  • Kuranda is an easy 30-40 minute drive from Cairns. You can also get there on the Kuranda Scenic Railway or Skyrail.

    Three photos thanks to Tourism & Events Queensland