Kuranda – A Hidden Paradise | Cairns Tours

Kuranda – A Hidden Paradise

By James Dixon | 13th January 2015

If you are visiting Cairns, you are likely to be visiting primarily to see the amazing Great Barrier Reef or the impressive Daintree Rainforest, but there’s another hidden paradise that’s worth the day-trip – the stunning little village of Kuranda!



Located on Far North Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands, this quaint community is adjacent to the World Heritage listed Barron Gorge National Park and is itself surrounded by lush, wet tropic rain forest. With a population of under 3,000 human residents, this area is also home to thousands of species of wildlife, including a number of threatened and rare species.

The rainforest surrounds of Kuranda were initially populated by the native Djabugay people, who have resided in this astoundingly beautiful area for over 10,000 years. Around the 19th century, Europeans began to set their sights on the area; unfortunately, violently displacing many of its Indigenous inhabitants – particularly around current day Skeleton Creek. The area’s first settlers began to call Kuranda home around 1885 and the construction of a railway line from Kuranda to Cairns in 1915 made the area easily accessible to new settlers.

With coffee and timber bolstering the economy, the town – now dubbed the ‘village in the rainforest’ – began to make a name for itself as a prime tourist destination. Its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and its utopic rainforest surrounds attracted an artistic bohemian population, which definitely gave this cute village much of its contemporary character.

These days, thousands of tourists flock to Kuranda to indulge in its natural beauty and friendly, small-village atmosphere, as well as to enjoy the location-congruent tourist attractions. Besides the large number of environmental walks available around the village, there are other attractions in Kuranda, including a reptile park, butterfly sanctuary, bird aviary, wildlife rescue/rehabilitation centre, koala sanctuary and fossil and gemstone museum. The famous Barron Gorge National Park is located close by, which offers bushwalks and cruises. Kuranda is also renowned for its amazing shopping opportunities, including its daily markets, offering a fascinating selection of locally made art, crafts, goods and food.

To reach Kuranda, the awe-inspiring views from the Scenic Railway or the Skyrail gondola cableway make the trip there an experience in itself and both of these modes of travel are definitely worth it. Regardless of whether you’re visiting Cairns for its spellbinding rainforests or the precious Great Barrier Reef, a trip over to Kuranda is an absolute must-do!