Deep in the Daintree Rainforest lies a village that’s been home to the Djabugay Aboriginal people for more than 10,000 years but has over the last century become an increasingly popular Australian tourist attraction. So, of course, we flew over to find out just why. Here’s our resulting top 10 list of all the best things to do in Kuranda Village. If it’s your first time visiting, you won’t want to miss these top attractions.
Top 10 Things to Do in Kuranda
1. Kuranda Scenic Railway
On the Kuranda Scenic Railway, you’ll travel on a scenic two hour journey through rainforest, mountains, and ravines while riding aboard a vintage, 120 year old train. The highlights of the trip include passing by two spectacular waterfalls, through fifteen hand carved tunnels, and over one giant bridge that you’ll want to grab your camera for capturing in all its glory.
2. Kuranda Heritage Markets
If arriving to Kuranda Village by scenic railway or skyrail, a complementary shuttle will scoop you up and magically deposit you (rainforests are magical) directly in front of the markets. The markets consist of the original rainforest markets and the heritage markets, and they’re a great place to start your day exploring the rainforest village. Take a free Didgeridoo lesson, or pick up a locally painted Didgeridoo or boomerang to take home with you. Then explore the shops for more goods produced by local artisans and craftsmen.
3. Kuranda Village Fossil and Gemstone Museum
In the basement of Emu Gallery, Kuranda’s Fossil and Gemstone Museum houses a huge collection of everything from meteorite shards and crystals to fossils and dino droppings. Before entering, be sure to take a silly picture with the dinosaur statue out front, and then check out the museum’s most famous attraction — a life size fossil replica of an Allosaurus dinosaur — once you’ve headed inside. It’s the only life-size replica of an Allosaurus in all of Queensland and is often mistaken for genuine fossil. You can also pick up some souvenirs to take home with you and fill your noggin with some fun facts like this one —
Fun Fact – the word “Amethyst” comes from ancient Greek and means “not intoxicating” because the Greeks believed it could ward off drunkeness. They used the gemstone as amulets as well as in the creation of cups and pitchers for this very reason. “Hangover? What hangover? I’ve got my beer in this magical purple cup, guys. We’re good.”
4. Shop for Australian Opals
Something you may not know — most of the world’s supply of precious opal originates from Australia, and it’s even home to the largest opal in the world, discovered way back in 1956. That opal is almost a foot long and weighs 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg).
5. Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Home to over 1500 tropical butterflies, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest light butterfly aviary and exhibit in the entire southern hemisphere. Wear bright colors like red, yellow, or white to increase your chances of a butterfly landing on you. Your visit also includes a “behind the scenes” tour of the breeding laboratory housing 4000 caterpillars in varying stages of development, an infrared zone that shows you how a butterfly sees the world, and even butterfly feeding stands.
6. Watch an Aboriginal Cultural Performance
Listen to sounds of the didgeridoo and clapsticks while observing a traditional dance performance that depicts various aspects of indigenous culture such as hunting and food gathering.
7. Kuranda Art Galleries
Kuranda’s peppered with an assortment of art galleries, so if you’ve got a taste for art, there’s few flavors you won’t find here. With over ten galleries to sample, you’re sure to find paintings, sculptures, blown glass, handcrafted wood art, and traditional Aboriginal art crafted by locals.
8. Rainforest Walking Trails — See Barron Falls Up Close
Originally, the Barron Falls was the primary reason people first flocked to firsthand see the small village in the rainforest. Aside from the sneak peak view you’ll get riding the scenic railway over, you can also hike directly to the falls from a walking path that begins in Kuranda Village. Kuranda offers a healthy handful of free walking paths for all ages and fitness levels. If you’d like something a little less strenuous than hiking all the way to the falls, you can try one of the shorter treks that don’t leave the village but instead wind around its perimeter.
9. Walk with Wildlife – Kuranda Koala Gardens and Birdworld Kuranda
Birdworld Kuranda replicates the natural habitats of almost 80 species of rainforest birds, so you’ll pass by exotic plants, ponds, and waterfalls while roaming this home of macaws, lorikeets, galahs, and many more feathered friends. Then, at Kuranda Koala Gardens, you’ll get the chance to have up-close encounters with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, snakes, and even crocs. There are exciting opportunities to feed some of these animals (yay), but we recommend that you skip the “Cuddle a Koala” experience. The irresistible urge to hug and squeeze the cute balls of fluff is a bit overwhelming and overpowering, but it’s a bit stressful for the animals and really not the best thing for them, so use your jedi mind powers to overcome your weakness and admire them from afar. Or try pinching your boyfriend’s cheeks instead. Boyfriends like to be pinched. (Right, John?)
10. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway connects to Kuranda Village and offers the rare opportunity to explore the rainforest from high above the canopy while riding a glass bottom gondola that gives you xray vision straight through to the trees directly below your feet. A perfect
bird’s-eye dragon-eye view.
Getting to Kuranda Village
We recommend arriving by Kuranda Scenic Railway and taking the Skyrail back home (they lie adjacent to one another, so the latter will get ya back to the same place as your departure). But if you’d prefer to travel via car, Kuranda Village provides a free all day car park for guests. Alternatively, there’s even public transportation options available. And while in Kuranda, there are free shuttles to transport you to village attractions.
Where to Eat in Kuranda Village
If you eat meat and you’re feeling as daring as a dragon, the Kuranda Village Cafe Bar & Grill offers burgers in Crocodile, Emu, Kangaroo, and Barramundi forms. They also offer an assortment of gluten free dishes.
For vegetarian options, head over to Sprout Cafe for fresh fruit juices and a large selection of vegan and vegetarian meals.
Also stop by the Kuranda Candy Kitchen for candy making demos offered throughout the day, and check out Honey House Kuranda to take home fresh honeycomb. This popular store even features a honey tasting bar and live beehive displays, so you can watch the honey-making process right before your eyes.
Where to Stay in Kuranda Village
You really only need a day to tour Kuranda, so we saw it all in one go and then headed back to our treehouse hotel nearby in the Daintree Rainforest at night. You can read our experience at the treehouse here, or book it here. (coming soon)
If you’d prefer to spend more than one day or stay overnight in Kuranda, the village offers hotel and camping accommodations on site.
For more Australia travel inspiration, check out some of our other adventures here:
- The Sydney Opera House is Not White – 10 Sydney Secrets known only by Locals ( plus a One Day Travel Itinerary )
- Top 10 Things to Do in Cairns Australia
- Kuranda Scenic Railway – Riding the Rainforest Waterfall Train
- Daintree River Cruises – Bruce Belcher’s Crocodile Cruise through Australian Rainforest
- Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway – Riding a Glass-Bottom Gondola over a Waterfall
- Barron Falls – Stunning Waterfall Deep in the Australian Rainforest
- 12 Best Beaches and Swimming Holes in Cairns
Or view all our Australia Travel Articles here.
We owe a huge thanks to Allison Smith from Flights to Fancy for inviting Adventure Dragon to Cairns and teaching him the ways of the rainforest. All photos of Dragon in this Kuranda Village in a Rainforest article are courtesy of her amazing photography skills.
Please do not copy or reproduce any of the photos or content on this page without permission. It makes dragons sad. And nobody likes a sad dragon. Except for maybe sad people. Away with you, you poopy pirate.
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