cairns day tours

Queensland’s Kuranda Day Tour – it’s a ‘Must-Do’ day out

If you’re heading to Queensland on your Australia vacation, make sure you book up a classic Kuranda day tour. Located 25km northwest of Cairns, the Village in the Rainforest is built on a mountaintop in the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. It’s a must see destination for nature, train and walking lovers. In fact, Kuranda is an absolute MUST for anyone who wants to enjoy some of the best scenery and most unique flora and fauna in Australia. If your passion is more adrenalin fuelled, a Kuranda Australia vacation package also has you covered. White-water rafting, bungy jumping and hot-air ballooning are all on offer in this remarkable, unique corner of the world.

For the more sedate at heart, there are also plenty of things to do and see in this artisan’s paradise. Visit the Kuranda markets and see Australia’s national gemstone, the unsurpassed opal. Indeed, you can’t leave Australia without taking one, or more, of these amazing stones with you. There is no better token of your Australia vacations adventure!

The area is also the traditional home of the indigenous Djabugay people. They were here some 10,000 years before European settlers moved in to set up coffee plantations and log the ancient rainforest trees!


The Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

An Australia vacation to Kuranda gives you the chance to experience the magic of gliding above the world’s oldest surviving rainforest in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. From the comfort and safety of your 6-person gondola cabin, you can gaze out over the ancient Daintree Rainforest. Up here you have uninterrupted views of Cairns, the Cairns Highlands and the Coral Sea.

The Skyrail Cableway is 7.5 kilometres long and runs between Smithfield and Kuranda. The cableway traverses the McAlister Range and takes you over the Barron Gorge National Park before arriving in Kuranda. Along the way, it stops at the Red Peak and Barron Falls rainforest stations. At Red Peak you can take a guided boardwalk tour of the local rainforest. You’ll see, and learn, plenty about the natural rainforest habitat and its inhabitants.

At the Barron Falls stop gaze in wonder at the magnificent Barron Gorge and Falls. This is part of a natural World Heritage Area. The raging white waters of the Barron River cascade over a drop of 265 metres to the Gorge below. Their spectacular force is such that they powered Queensland’s first hydroelectric station, built in 1935. There is also a Rainforest Interpretive Centre at Barron Falls.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway

Another fascinating way to reach Kuranda is via the Heritage Listed Kuranda Scenic Railway. Construction of this National Engineering Landmark railway started in 1882 and finished in 1891. It links Kuranda with Cairns and even by today’s standards, is a feat of remarkable engineering. The 15 tunnels and 37 bridges along the route were all built by hand. By hundreds of men equipped with little more than picks, shovels, axes and hammers. It traverses steep ravines, dense rainforest and amazing waterfalls, offering passengers an unforgettable one hour 45 minute rail trip. Your trip will start at sea level in Cairns and end at 328 metres above sea level in Kuranda. Alternatively, you can hop aboard at the Freshwater Connection. The Cairns to Kuranda trip runs in the morning and the return trip back to Cairns is in the afternoon. Along the way, you’re provided with a running commentary in English.

Kuranda Day Tour – who to book with?

When it comes to Kuranda day tours for your Australia vacation, Down Under Tours is a local tour guide company we highly recommend. Their unparalleled knowledge of this part of Australia makes taking one of their day tours an unforgettable experience! You can choose from a range of experiences and know that whichever you do, you will be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime. Most of their Kuranda day tours give you a few hours in Kuranda to explore the village and its surroundings. Here are a few of the things you can do whilst visiting Kuranda on an Australia vacation Down Under Kuranda day tour:

Visit The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is home to the largest living exhibit of tropical butterflies in the Southern Hemisphere. Prepare to be amazed, and enchanted, by these colourful aerial acrobats in their blazing colours. Wander around the tropical rainforest gardens accompanied by your flying hosts. Visit the nursery where 4000 butterfly caterpillars are in various stages of development. Learn about the life cycle and behaviour of these fairytale creatures. There is also a museum exhibit of butterflies from other parts of the world. Oh and we recommend wearing bright red or white clothing. This will improve your chances of getting up close and personal with the inhabitants!

From Butterflies To Birds – Bird World Kuranda

This is an experience not to be missed! Visit rare and unique rainforest birds living in total safety in perfect replicas of their natural rainforest habitats. From Amazonian macaws to endangered cassowaries; rainbow lorikeets, cockatoos and galahs. They’re all here, ready to hitch a ride on your shoulder should the opportunity arise! Don’t forget your camera.

Cuddly Koalas On Display At The Kuranda Koala Gardens

An iconic Australian marsupial, the koala is one of the animals uniquely associated with Australia. This is your chance to observe them in their natural habitat. Along with other Australian native fauna including freshwater crocodiles, snakes, lizards, monitors and an assortment of other reptiles. Take a walk through the aptly named ‘Walk Through Snake House’ and come face to face with the Garden’s resident pythons….

If these slithery reptiles aren’t your cup of tea, you can visit another iconic Australian or two. Kuranda Koala Gardens is also home to eastern grey kangaroos, parma and swamp wallabies, and red legged pademelons. If you watched the Sydney Olympics, you may recall Fatso, the unofficial games mascot! Meet Fatso’s real live relatives – some very playful, and very smart, wombats.

The Deadly Snakes Of Australia

If you haven’t had enough of snakes after visiting the Kuranda Koala Gardens, there are more of them at the Australian Venom Zoo! Australia is home to some of the deadliest reptiles, insects and sea creatures in the world. Something many Australians are quite proud of! The Inland Taipan for instance is the most venomous land dwelling snake in the world! It lives in remote semi-arid areas of central Australia where it, fortunately, rarely encounters humans. The most venomous snake of all is the Belcher’s Sea Snake and yes, you guessed it! It’s also found in the Indian and Pacific oceans off the north coast of Australia. Like the inland taipan, it needs a lot of provoking to actually attack a human. But if it does, BEWARE. A few milligrams of its venom is enough to kill 1000 people. Yes, it’s THAT deadly. Then we have the very dangerous Coastal Taipan, Dubois’s Sea Snake, Gwardars or Western Browns, Dugites, Tiger Snakes, Eastern Browns and Common Death Adders. At this zoo you’ll see, and learn about, 5 of the deadliest of them all. Along with a collection of spiders and scorpions you also wouldn’t want to come across in the wild.

Fossils And Gemstones – An Eclectic Mix

From live reptiles to ancient ones that lived some 150 million years ago. The Emu Ridge Gallery / Fossil and Gemstone Museum houses Queensland’s only complete life-sized replica skeleton of an Allosaurus dinosaur. This guy was a fearsome meat eater when he, or she, was alive! You can also be awed by a brilliant assortment of jewellery and gemstones. See Australian fossils as well as fossils from around the world.

Shop In Style At The Kuranda Markets

If retail therapy is more your style, fear not. There’s plenty for you to do in Kuranda too! You’ll easily lose a couple of hours wandering around the 2 Kuranda markets with their wide selection of souvenirs and memorabilia. Or checking out the many amazing Kuranda arts and crafts galleries. At the Original Kuranda Markets you’ll find a staggering range of local arts, crafts and produce including coffee, nuts and tropical fruit. The newer Heritage Markets is the place for native wildlife parks. Whilst you’re there, you can also enjoy tasty snacks and refreshing drinks, entertainment, jewellery (including opals), more souvenirs, and local arts and crafts.

Kuranda Day Tours – Things To Do For The More Actively Inclined

Kuranda abounds with tours, treks, walks and hikes for those who want something more active to do.

Rainforestation Nature Park

Situated 5 minutes from Kuranda is Rainforestation Nature Park. This 40 hectare award-winning park combines a land and water rainforest tour in an authentic amphibious World War II Army Duck! These amazing and unique vehicles were deployed by the US Army in the Second World War. They transported troops and supplies by both land and water. Rainforestation Nature Park owns 12 of them. They can carry 30 people and are a perfect way to experience the rainforest by water and by land without changing vehicles. They also come complete with an experienced guide who is more than happy to share their knowledge about the fascinating wildlife and plants you’ll see.

Like tropical fruits? Then you’ll love the Tropical Fruits Orchard with its 40 plus species of exotic tropical fruits.   You will also get to experience the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. This is an ideal opportunity to learn some more about Australian indigenous culture. Enjoy a traditional dance to taking part in a Dreamtime Walk. Try your hand at spear and boomerang throwing and listen to the unmistakable sounds of the didgeridoo. It’s all part of your amazing Rainforestation Nature Park tour.

Kuranda Riverboat Tours – Experience The Natural Beauty Of Kuranda

Another not to be missed experience is a Kuranda Riverboat Tour. A team of local naturalists will be your hosts on a 45-minute river cruise through this ancient tropical rainforest. You’ll see unique flora and fauna like nowhere else on earth.

Those Amazing Kuranda Walking Trails, Tracks and Lookouts

There are walking trails everywhere in and around Kuranda. Choose an easy half hour hike complete with wheelchair access or a strenuous 6-hour cross-country, mountain climbing expedition. One thing they all have in common is incredible scenery and astounding flora and fauna. There really is nowhere quite like it anywhere else on earth! Some of these trails follow original Aboriginal trails that have been opened up to the public with the co-operation of the local Djabugay people. Others follow the trails created by early explorers to the region.

Visit some of the lookouts around Kuranda like the famous Barron Falls Lookout with its spectacular view of the Barron water falls. Or Wright’s Lookout with its views over the coast and south to Cairns. Glacier Rock, with its cliff-top views of the surrounding countryside, is a must for keen hikers. Toby’s Lookout and Bam-An Lookout are 2 others that offer an unparalleled panoramic view out across the Daintree to the coast and Cairns.

Down Under Tour Package

Down Under Tour packages offer you the best Kuranda day tours with authentic experiences of the region’s exciting scenery and wildlife. So if you’re visiting North Queensland why not try one? Whether you’re more comfortable on land or in the water, you’ll be treated to a thrilling experience.

Kuranda Scenic Rail And Skyrail Trip

Our friends at Down Under Tours have several options if you’d like to spend a day, or a part day, in Kuranda. If you have your own transport you can drive to the Smithfield Skyrail station where you can safely leave your car. A coach will transfer you to Freshwater Station to catch the Kuranda Scenic Rail to Kuranda. Alternatively, you can be picked up from your accommodation and transported to Freshwater Station.

Upon arrival at the Village in the Rainforest you have several hours to spend as you like. Use it to wander around beautiful Kuranda itself or take a short hike into the surrounding rainforest. The choice is entirely yours. In the afternoon, you’ll be whisked back to Smithfield via the amazing Skyrail.

Visit Kuranda Via Scenic Rail And Skyrail Before Checking Out Hartley’s Crocodiles!

Take a quick trip up to Kuranda via Scenic Rail before gliding above the treetops on your return trip via Skyrail. You’ll be able to enjoy a quick hour in Kuranda and we suggest checking out either the Kuranda Original or Kuranda Heritage markets. Upon arrival back in Smithfield, you’ll be picked up by coach for your trip to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. At the crocodile park, you’ll have plenty of time to wander around this unique park. Or take the Wetlands cruise which takes you through the Melaleuca wetlands. This is the domain of Australia’s famous saltwater crocodile!

There is also the Crocodile Attack Show, where you can see first hand the head shake and death roll of an attacking crocodile. For those who are game enough, there is even an opportunity to have your photo taken whilst holding one of these fearsome reptiles. And if you didn’t get a chance to visit The Venom Zoo in Kuranda, there is a display of venomous snakes here too. You can also watch koalas and cassowaries being fed.

Take In Australian Indigenous Culture Before Heading To Kuranda

The traditional inhabitants of this part of Australia have a fascinating history and culture. A short hop from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Visit the Park and experience dances performed by the Tjapukai and Torres Strait Islanders. You can also learn about bush tucker and see the didgeridoo being played. Then enjoy a delightful lunch in the Boomerang Restaurant. From the Park, it’s a short walk to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The Down Under Tours Kuranda, Scenic Rail, Skyrail and Tjapukai day trip is an ideal way to experience Australia’s indigenous cultural heritage before heading up to Kuranda to immerse yourself in the delights of the Australian rainforest.

Experience The Wonder Of The Rainforestation Nature Park And Its Army Ducks

After arriving in Kuranda and spending some free time enjoying the activities on offer, you’ll head off to board your WWII Army Duck for a water and land tour of Rainforestation Nature Park.   Spend the afternoon soaking up the atmosphere. Learn about some of the weird and wonderful plants, birds and animals you’ll encounter. At end of the day, you’ll head back to Smithfield via Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

The Daintree Walkabout

Another rainforest option is the Daintree Walkabout. This is a private walkway tour led by an indigenous tour guide. During the tour you’ll learn about the special relationships that exist between locals and the rainforest. From identifying useful plants to explaining the history of cave paintings, you’ll gain an insight into the cultural fabric of this vibrant tropical area.

You could combine a Daintree Walkabout experience with a Daintree River Cruise tour or a visit to the Mossman Gorge. You’ll learn all about local wildlife and culture while taking in the scenery of one of the world’s oldest rainforests.

Indeed, there is so much to do and experience in this part of Australia. Why not contact our team here at Australia Vacations for travel advice and bookings.