Deep in the oldest surviving rainforest in the world lies a magical waterfall accessible by train or skyrail. Barron Falls rests (and sometimes rages) in one of Australia’s national parks — Barron Gorge — near Cairns and Kuranda in Queensland.
Falls Facts and Highlights
- lies within Barron Gorge National Park as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Wet Tropics of Queensland
- has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Queensland since the 1890s
- Total size of the falls spans 259 metres (850 ft) wide and reaches 125 metres (410 ft) in height
Getting There – Four Awesome Options to Reach Barron Falls
By Kuranda Scenic Railway – The Vintage View
Choosing the Kuranda Scenic Railway will land you on a relaxing, two hour journey through rainforest, mountains, and ravines aboard a vintage, 120-year-old train. The railway will actually bring you past 2 waterfalls – the Stoney Creek Falls, which you’ll glide past while crossing over a scenic bridge (pictured above), and Barron Falls, which you’ll encounter near the end of your journey from Cairns to Kuranda. Here’s the view of Barron Falls from outside our train cabin window:
Why choose the train –
- see two waterfalls, instead of just one
- travel in gold class luxury with lounge style seats, a dedicated hostess, light refreshments, wine, and beer
- experience Australia’s famous village in the rainforest – Kuranda Village
Read More: railway article (coming soon!)
By Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway – The Aerial View
If you choose the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, you’ll experience unique waterfall views that none of the other options on this list can provide. The skyrail soars high above the rainforest canopy for 7.5 kilometres (4.7 miles) on an hour and a half journey from Cairns to Kuranda (the village in the rainforest). We even had a glass-bottom floor, so you won’t miss a view as you cross the stunning Barron Falls below.
Why choose the skyrail –
- rare, aerial views of Barron Falls you won’t find anywhere else
- experience the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest on earth from above the canopy
- glass bottom gondolas for optimal views
- complimentary guided tours
- multiple stops at scenic lookouts
By Walking Trail from Kuranda Village – The Ambitious View
Both the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Scenic Railway provide connections from Cairns to Kuranda, dubbed Australia’s famous “village in the rainforest.” If you’ve got plans to spend a day in Kuranda, the rainforest village offers several scenic walking paths and hiking trails, including one leading directly to Barron Falls Lookout. We spent a full day checking out art galleries, a butterfly sanctuary, and koala gardens as part of our waterfall adventure, and we highly recommend the trip.
Why choose the walking trails –
- to explore the rainforest on foot
- to spend the day checking out all the attractions at Kuranda Village (there’s a ton)
- you’re a hiking enthusiast and physically fit
- you’d like to travel on your own time and stay as long as you want at the lookout
By Car – The Convenient, Budget View
If your dragon wings have grown weary and you’re not feeling up to walking (or spending money on the other options), you can always opt to drive directly to the falls by car. From Cairns, travel north along the Captain Cook Highway. Then turn onto Kennedy Highway, and drive along the coastal mountain range before finally taking the turn-off to Kuranda. From Kuranda, the falls can be accessed via Barron Falls Road by following the signposts to the Barron Falls car park. The parking lot leads directly to Barron Falls lookout (the same lookout you’ll arrive at if you opt to take the scenic railway option above). It gives you a full frontal view of the falls that you can stay to enjoy for as long as your heart desires.
Why choose the car –
- easiest, most budget-friendly option
- you’ll be on your own time, so you’re free to stay for as long as you like without feeling rushed
When to Go – What’s the Best Time to Visit Barron Falls?
For the best views, you’ll want to see Barron Falls during wet season which runs from December to March. The rest of the year the falls are still pretty but just not as voluminous. We went during dry season in July and still had an amazing experience. For comparison, here’s one of our photos juxtaposed with a photo of the falls taken by a complete stranger on the internet (thanks Photnart) during the wet season that we missed. His falls are big and powerful. His falls would knock you over at recess and then take all your lunch money while rubbing your face in the mud in a big, angry huff. Our falls would probably hold your hand, tell you you’re pretty, and then softly sing you a bedtime story. Two different falls, but both equally deserving of love. The world needs more love. And waterfalls.
Where to Stay
While visiting Cairns, we stayed at Silky Oaks Lodge — a luxury treehouse hotel. You can check out Dragon’s adventures in a treehouse here (coming soon).
Related: treehouse article (coming soon).
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 Barron Falls 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.