things to do in kuranda village scenic rail

Things To Do In Kuranda Village | Cairns Day Trip

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A Guide To Kuranda Village

Surrounded by World Heritage Listed rainforest, this artsy village in the mountains has something for everyone to enjoy!

And best of all, with a slightly cooler temperature compared to Cairns, the Kuranda weather can be a great way to escape the heat for a few hours!

Where Is Kuranda?

Kuranda is located approximately 27 KM from Cairns city, situated in far North Queensland. It sits on the Eastern edge of the Atherton Tablelands, in the Shire of Mareeba in Queensland, Australia.

How To Get From Cairns To Kuranda

One of the things that makes Kuranda such a popular day trip from Cairns and surrounding areas is the trip to get there and back. Sure, you can drive. It’s an easy half-hour drive up the Kuranda range into the mountains. But there are more fun ways to get there than that!

Kuranda Scenic Railway

kuranda scenic railway at station

Take one of the most unique railway journeys in Australia, as your train takes you from sea level in Cairns to 327 metres above sea level, through dense rainforest and up the mountains to Kuranda Village.

On board the train, listen to commentary about the history of the scenic railway and the Kuranda area as you make your way there. Pass by waterfalls, including Barron Falls and other breathtaking views on this relaxed journey.

Kuranda Scenic Railway operates two departures from Cairns and two return trips from Kuranda to Cairns daily. Check the Kuranda train times on their website.

Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cablecar

kuranda skyrail rainforest cablecar

The Kuranda Skyrail cablecar is another incredible way to get to or from Kuranda. Take a cablecar over and through the world’s oldest tropical rainforest for stunning aerial views.

From the Skyrail journey, you will see Barron Gorge and the Wet Tropics Rainforest World Heritage area, with close up views of Barron Falls.

You also have the option to take guided ranger walks at Red Peak and visit the Rainforest Discover Zone and scenic lookout.

A one way skyrail journey takes approximately 1.5 hours, including time to explore Red Peak and Barron Falls lookout areas.

The Kuranda Skyrail gondolas run all day in 15-minute intervals between 8:45AM and 3:45PM. Each gondola holds up to 6 people (or 5 if taking a Diamond View gondola).

Find operating days and updated information on their website.

Click here to book your Skyrail Cablecar tickets

Cairns To Kuranda Bus

If you wish to visit Kuranda by bus, there are daily services on the Trans North Bus & Coach Service Kuranda Shuttle bus from Cairns. This service runs on bus Route 850.

Find the current bus timetable and updated fare information on their website.

By Car

If you want to take a self-drive visit to Kuranda, this is an option too. This is what we did on our most recent visit since we only had a short time to spend in Kuranda Village.

It is a scenic drive into the mountains, although do take care as parts of the drive are very steep with sharp turns as you make your way up the Kuranda range.

Fun Things To Do In Kuranda Village

Kuranda Village is a wonderful place to visit with kids when in Tropical North Queensland. There are many different attractions that families love. Especially if you are hoping to encounter some of the unique Australian wildlife during your visit.

Here are some of the best things to do in Kuranda:

Kuranda Koala Gardens

Kuranda koala gardens
Kuranda koala gardens

Visit the only nocturnal wildlife attraction in the Atherton Tablelands region.

Not only will you meet adorable koalas during your visit and have the chance to have a cuddle and a photo, you will also meet other native Australian wildlife. They have a collection of marsupials, reptiles, birds, and more.

  • Location: Kuranda Village, 2-4 Rob Veivers Dr Clifton Beach, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours: 10 AM – 3 PM daily.
  • Entry Price: $19 per adult and $9.50 per child.

Click here to get tickets for Kuranda Koala Gardens

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

kuranda butterfly sanctuary
Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary

Butterflies are a delight to all ages and a visit to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is sure to be memorable. This is the largest butterfly flight aviary in the Southern Hemisphere.

They have over 1500 different species of butterflies within the exhibit, with guided tours and educational opportunities as well.

Don’t forget to wear bright colours! They recommend red and pink to attract the butterflies.

  • Location: Kuranda Village, 8 Rob Veivers Drive, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours: 10 AM – 3 PM daily.
  • Entry Price: $20 for adults, $10 for children or $50 for 2 adults and 2 kids family pass.

Click here to get tickets for Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Rainforestation Nature Park

The Rainforestation Nature Park is an award-winning adventure attraction located within the Kuranda rainforest. They have Army Duck Rainforest tours on land and water, which is a fun way to experience the rainforest in all weather conditions.

There is also a chance to learn about Aboriginal culture with the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, as well as getting up close with native Australian animals at the Koala & Wildlife Park.

For current opening hours and ticket prices, visit the website.

  • Location: 
  • Opening Hours: 9 AM to 3 PM daily during school holidays, otherwise closed on Monday and Wednesdays and certain public holidays.
  • Entry Price: 3 attraction pass is $52 for adults and $26 for kids.

Click here to book your Rainforestation Nature Park tickets

Birdworld Kuranda

birdworld kuranda parrot

Birdworld Kuranda is home to around 350 birds and replicates the natural habitats of almost 60 native and exotic species in the unique rainforest habitat they have created.

During your visit you will have opportunity to hand feed some of the birds and plenty of photo opportunities as well.

Wander through the gardens at your own pace, spotting bright coloured bird life along your way.

  • Location: Kuranda Village, Rob Veivers Dr Clifton Beach, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours: 10 AM – 3 PM daily.
  • Entry Price: $19 per adult and $9.50 per child.

Click here to get tickets for Birdworld Kuranda

Kuranda Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise

kuranda river cruise

If you’d love the chance to spot a crocodile in the wild, you have a good chance with the Kuranda Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise.

The cruise leaves at regular intervals throughout the day and takes you on a relaxing journey along the Barron River. And yes, if you are lucky, you may spot a crocodile lurking in the water or on one of the banks.

The cruise is 45 minutes long with guided commentary from your host. They offer a 95% success rate at seeing crocodiles.

  • Location: Across the Kuranda Railway Station footbridge and down the stairs to the river.
  • Opening Hours:  Cruises run daily between 10:45 AM and 2:30 PM.
  • Entry Price: $20 for adults and $10 for children.

Click here to book your Kuranda Riverboat Cruise tickets online

Mini Golf

Located within the Kuranda Original Rainforest Market, if you’re looking for a fun activity with the kids, why not have a game of mini golf!

This 9-Hole Mini Golf Course is right in the middle of the rainforest, creating the perfect setting for some competitive family fun!

  • Location: Within the Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets, 7-11 Therwin Street, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours:  9:30 AM – 3:30 PM Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
  • Entry Price: $5 per person.

Barron Falls

barron falls

Barron Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls near Cairns and well worth seeing.

If you are visiting Kuranda by Skyrail or Scenic Rail, you will have the chance to see this glorious waterfall up close at the lookout points.

If you are driving to Kuranda by car, it is a quick 7-minute drive to the Barron Falls lookout and an easy walk through the rainforest to the lookout point.

Otherwise, if you’re feeling energetic, it will take you approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes each way to walk there on foot. Be mindful of the fact that you are in the mountains so the Barron Falls Kuranda walk will be strenuous journey on the way back!

Kuranda Markets

If you love markets filled with unique handmade wares, souvenirs and accessories, you will love the Kuranda Markets!

Tip: If the markets are one of your must-see Kuranda sights, visiting between Thursday and Sunday is best as the markets are not open every day of the week.

kuranda markets

Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets

The Kuranda Original Rainforest Market has been running since 1978, when a group of local artists first kicked them off. They have since grown and become a key attraction in Kuranda Village.

You will find eco crafts made from recycled materials, hand-crafted wares, gourmet regional eats and fresh produce. They are contemporary art, clothing, jewellery, homemade food and much more.

Plus there is a 9-hole mini golf course too!

  • Location: 7-11 Therwin Street, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
kuranda village markets

Kuranda Heritage Markets

The Kuranda Heritage Markets run all year round and are undercover, so even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy wandering around the different stalls. They are located in a rainforest setting and are also home to Birdworld and the Kuranda Koala Gardens.

The Kuranda Heritage Market has a wide range of market stall, with locally produced souvenirs, arts & crafts, jewellery, gemstones & clothing. You will also find organic produce from the region, spices and healthy treats to enjoy.

  • Location: Rob Veivers Drive, Kuranda.
  • Opening Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

The Best Kuranda Tours

Taking a day tour to Kuranda from Cairns as part of your itinerary is a great way to experience the best Kuranda Village has to offer, including your chance to ride on either the Scenic Railway, the Skyrail Cablecar… or both!

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns

This customisable full-day trip to Kuranda from Cairns starts with a hotel pick up before boarding the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway. Then you can choose from a variety of activities to fill your day, including visits to the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Rainforestation Nature Park.

At the end of the day, make your way over and through the rainforest back to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Click here to book your scenic railway and Skyrail cablecar day trip

Barron Gorge & Kuranda National Park Half-Day Rainforest and Waterfall 4WD Tour

Experience the tropical North Queensland rainforest up close in this thrilling half-day 4WD adventure from Cairns.

Go off-road in the Barron Gorge National Park and Kuranda National Park with your expert tour host, taking you along the Great Dividing Range.

Get plenty of photo opportunities along the way with stops at Lake Morris, Copperlode Dam and Surprise Falls, plus views of the Great Barrier Reef from Lamb Range. And of course, Barron Falls. This is a small-group tour limited to 13 people.

Click here to book your 4WD rainforest adventure

kuranda skyrail station

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour and Cruise

Treat yourself to the ultimate splurge with an incredible day trip that allows you to experience the best of Kuranda and the Great Barrier Reef.

This full day tour includes the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Kuranda Skyrail plus a cruise and helicopter tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Experience both the reef and the rainforest in one day.

The tour also includes lunch aboard your cruise and snorkelling equipment for you to experience the Great Barrier Reef from beneath the water surface.

Click here to book your Kuranda and Great Barrier Reef tour

Green Island and Kuranda Skyrail & Train

Discover two of Cairns’ best day trips with a combined tour including both Green Island, the stunning coral cay located in the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda.

Find plenty of things to do on Green Island during your half-day visit, before heading to Kuranda Village in the afternoon.

This is a great tour if you have limited time to spend in Cairns and want to fit in some of the most popular attractions.

Click here to book your Green Island & Kuranda day trip

1-Hour Rainforest ATV Tour

Take a guided quad bike journey through the rainforest atop the majestic Barron Falls. Cruise down the footpaths of ancient loggers as you follow your guide and learn about your surroundings in this fun adventure tour.

You will have the chance to taste exotic fruit fresh from the branch and may even get lucky and spot a wild cassowary along the way.

Click here to book your ATV Rainforest Tour online

barron river

How To Get Around Kuranda

If you are visiting Kuranda by bus or on a day tour from Cairns or Port Douglas, you can easily get around to the main attractions using the free Kuranda shuttle bus service.

The bus operates at regular intervals throughout the day, between the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and the Rainforestation Nature Park.

Most other attractions and markets are within walking distance from the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Kuranda Restaurants & Places To Eat

You will have no trouble finding something to eat in Kuranda. Whether you are looking for organic and healthy bites from the Kuranda markets, or seeking out the best Kuranda restaurants for a more hearty meal, there are plenty of options to suit all budgets and tastes.

Here are some of the most popular cafes and restaurants in Kuranda:

  • Sweet Gossip – French cafe
  • Falafellicious – Mediterranean takeaway
  • Petit Cafe Kuranda – French cafe
  • Frogs Kuranda – Modern Australian cuisine
  • German Tucker Kuranda – German fast food

Visiting Cairns? Check out the best places to eat in Cairns

Kuranda Accommodation

If you want to spend longer in Kuranda Village and experience more of what this beautiful mountain destination has to offer, you will find accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Kuranda Hotel Accommodation

While there are no fancy resorts in Kuranda, since you can easily stay in Cairns for this, you will find a few options for hotel and bed and breakfast style accommodation:

Kuranda Camping & Caravan Park Accommodation

If you are looking for a Kuranda caravan park or to camp in the area, here are some options to consider:

With so many great things to do in Kuranda Village, there is little wonder why this is a popular day trip while visiting Far North Queensland. It makes a perfect detour during a Brisbane to Cairns road trip as well!

Things to do in Kuranda village