Kuranda: Queensland’s village in the Rainforest
Watching out the window as the forest passes me by, I notice openings of stunning scenery below as the scenic train to Kuranda climbs through the mountains to reach 327 metres above sea level.
Kuranda is surrounded by a World Heritage rainforest 1,000 feet above Cairns in North Queensland, Australia. It’s gone through its fair share of settlers, from Europeans in 1885 to a hippy invasion in the 1960s. Even today it has a bit of a hippy feel to it with some vibrant markets dotted amongst the rainforest.
It’s pretty touristy, but you won’t feel like you can’t move around. There’s plenty of rainforest walks, markets and touristy things to do.
Getting to/from Kuranda
I ventured up on the scenic train, which was stunning and stopped at Baron Falls for photos along the way. Reaching Kuranda train station set me back in time. It was so cute and quaint with a little cafe (I enjoyed a scone and flat white here) and gift shop.
I had been thinking it was so lovely and it would be cheaper to return the same way, but I was blown away by the Skyrail that I had already purchased to return to Cairns. While the train travels through the bush up the mountains, the Skyrail travels over top of the trees and rainforest below so you can see everything from a birds eye view! The layers of forest are incredible.
There’s still a few stops where you can get out of the cablecar and visit a few viewpoints at Baron Falls and Red Peak. The journey to and from Kuranda was almost better than Kuranda itself!
Kuranda – village in the rainforest
The village itself was quaint and colourful. I spent time wandered around the markets, filled with trinkets and touristy bits and pieces.
Then I ventured out to the Koala Gardens for my first peek at a Koala. Sadly they didn’t look all that happy and were being passed around visitors to be held for photos… but the ones that were allowed to stay in the trees did pose for a few photos for me which was more than enough. There were crocodiles lurking and kangaroos that you could feed, but again they looked bored shitless. Again, just another version of a zoo where animals are treated like money rather than wild creatures.
Lush and green, warm and inviting, the rainforest was calling me soon enough. I got started on a self-guided Rainforest walk. It included the village, river and jungle all in about 1.5 hours! It was peaceful until it started to rain… I guess I was in the rainforest so should have expected that!
The Cairns area generally rained most afternoons during my visit in April, but it was warm and rain usually didn’t last too long, so it meant it was still worth getting out and about to places like Kuranda.
I spent one full day at Kuranda, walking to the Cairns station and taking the scenic train up, then the Skyrail back down, where a minivan returned me to my hotel. There are various tour companies that will take you around, but the most cost effective way is to book through the train station – just make sure it includes a return van back to Cairns, otherwise it’s quite a walk!
Top Tip: You can request a window/forward-facing seat on the train when you get your tickets, just be early and nice to the booking agents!