The Kuranda train station is a tropical plant paradise---it is such a joy to arrive on the scenic railway from Cairns,the train provides spectacular views from the ranges to the ocean and in the wet season the Barron River Falls are fantastic. Anyway when you get to Kuranda station you are transported into something very special.
The Skyrail is an excellent way to go down the hills. You can get the Train up and then Skyrail down. Or the other way around.Best of both worlds.
You have 7.5K's of skimming over the top of heritage rainforest. There are stops along the way where you can get off and do a boardwalk on the top of the rainforest.
The cable cars are mainly glass so you have views from all areas.
The Syrail web site has everything you need to know.
This would be one of the most beautiful train stations that I have seen. The gardens and hanging baskets are lovely Rainforest ferns and flora on a station.The rail was completed in 1891.
The train comes up the hills from Cairns passing through 15 tunnels, 93 curves over bridges and past waterfalls and wonderful scenery. It's an old train with leather seats and great windows to catch the views.
At some points along the trip you can see the back of the train following you....
Kuranda envirocare information centre is really beneficial to the traveller to find all the local information for the area.
They have very good maps and heaps of suggestions and places to visit.
They may not be open from noon to 5pm occasionally for reasons of their own I suppose it could possibly be culteral.The normal operating hours are daily from 9am-8pm.
The information centre is home for an active Landcare and Environment group who will offer you information on local walking tracks and places of interest for all levels of fitness and ages.
The group also runs a gift/convenience shop to help them finance their business.You can purchase arts and crafts of the local community.
The wet tropics display is wonderful and was created by the community and has insects,snakes,birds,plants and seeds found in the rainforest,it constantly changes with different things collected and added from the forests.
Many years ago Kuranda was only known for it's Markets on a Sunday. Now there are many Market areas.
You can buy so many different things, Jewellery, handcrafts, T Shirts, Home made Lollies, Pottery....numerous things.
There are a number of Galleries that have wonderful Aboriginal Art work.
The Australian Butterfly Santuary has an exhibition of hundreds of tropical butterflies in their all weather rainforest inclosure.
It's open daily
9.45 to 4.00pm daily.
Tours run between 10.00am and 3.15pm
Escorted tours are available at no extra cos.
Cruise along the Baron river and see freshwater crocodiles,aquatic reptiles,platypus and over 100 species of birds.
Departs from the Riverside landing near the Train station.
It's hard for me to say which attraction I enjoyed more: the butterfly house or the huge bird world walk through aviary of tropical birds....they were both so great.
There are absolutely hundreds of butterflies in here, and, you guessed it, the brightest, biggest and prettiest butterflies are also the fastest and the ones which just won't stay put when you're trying to take their photo.....I was determined to catch the elusive and very famous turquoise blue Ulysses butterfly with my digital camera....see travelogue to see if I managed it.....
I absolutely recommend a visit to the bird park at Kuranda. To describe it as a walk through aviary is selling it too short, but neither is it an open park. A bit of a cross between the two. It is basically a small rainforest with trees up to about 12 feet tall, all covered over with unobtrusive wire, and inside the rainforest there is a small waterfall, little ponds, free food for the birds, they have their own hollows in trees for nests or they can build their own, they can wander among the visitors on the ground, or watch them from their tree perches. They can land on visitors, but only if they choose, and the birds themselves look extremely healthy and happy. This would have to be the best ever example of a small bird park that I've ever visited. There must be 80 - 100 different species of birds in here (mostly Australian, mostly tropical) and the colours are amazing....see travelogue for more.
There are many places you can shop for that special something. Opals, clothes, woodcraft,and there are many Art galleries,also Galleries owned and run by the local Aboriginal community.
This is where you can find some great Aboriginal art work, sculpture or the famous music instrument, the Didgeridoo.
The Tjapukia Aboriginal Culture Park is now down the mountain where you turn off the Cairns/Port Douglas Highway to come up to Kuranda. It is also where the Skyrail terminus is.
The entire park has been dedicated to preserving and presenting authentic Aboriginal culture. Five theatres, museum,an art gallery and traditional Aboriginal camp, this gives the visitor a look at the rich and ancient culture.
The Tjapukai Dancers are world famous. They have won many awards.
Tjapukia by Day..entries to all park attractions $30 Adult $15child or $75 Family.
With transfers from Cairns/Northern Beaches/Palm Cove $51.50 Adult 25.75 Child or $128.75 Family
You can try the Boomerang paintings for and extra $30
Open from 9am-5pm Daily
2/3 hours needed for the whole experience
Night 7pm - 10pm every night
All weather venue
Not open Christmas or New Years day
There are many other options, please check out the website for all other packages
Speewah is just up the road from Kuranda (the village in the rainforest) and is often overlooked as a tourist destination but I believe it is worthy a visit.
Hikers may be aware of it as the Djina-Wu Track leading to and from the Douglas and Smith tracks start/leave from Speewah approx 750 m from the Speewah Tavern.
Anyway! what a beautiful place where you are far away from the usual tourist hub of Kuranda.
You do need a car if you are not a hiker. The camping ground is a fair hike from the Highway and is a tad isolated with minimum facilities. Only tent campers allowed and don't forget to bring your food supplies because there are no corner shops.
The tropical rainforest canopy is stunning and be careful of the cattle grids on the graded dirt roads.
Stop off on the way back and have a drink or something to eat at the Speewah Tavern/pub.
The skyrail is a nice way to explore the rainforest. How many times did we walk into a forest, probably countless times, but how often did we see these forests from above? No so often I guess and there fore the Kuranda sky-rail is the perfect opportunity to do so. When you embark, you get a nice leaflet that tells you a lot of the things that you can see below you.
The sky-rail runs over the rainforest and it's a 7.5 km long gondola cableway and therefore also the longest in the world. The Sky-rail leaves in the Kuranda Station (366 m) towards the Barron Falls and from there it goes to Red Peak Station (545 meter) and goes onwards to the Caravonica Lakes Station (5 meters above Sea level).
1h 45min of relaxing and enjoying the sceneries around you, that is what you get if you board the Kuranda Scenic train. You see several waterfalls next to your way and you will have a nice view over the valley while you are riding this train against the valley walls.
There are great photo opportunities but it beats hands down getting the bus back towards Cairns.
In this Aboriginal culture park, you have a wide range of things to do and to explore. The most famous and visited is off course the traditional dance performance. You learn here more about the culture and their ways of life. Accompanied by a good explanation they show you several cultural dances.
Next to these dances, you can see some basket waving, and get some explanation about their way of life. Or do you want to feel like Crocodile Dundee and you want to throw a Boomerang and see if it comes back, or learn that they exist for lefties and righties. Or dream that you hit a kangaroo while you lance a spear towards a target.
Tjapukai is a place you can spend some time and you will not regret it.