"Kuranda Australia - A great day trip from Cairns!"
If you are planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef Australia then you'll see this trip advertised pretty much everywhere you go. There are heaps of operators offering day trips to Kuranda and for a couple or a family, it can start to get really expensive. I'm here to tell you if its worth it or not!
So what is it? Kuranda is a small town up in the Atherton table land meaning it is surrounded by rainforest. You can get a cable car or take the scenic railway line to get here. Both options will cost you between $60 and $95 per person. So is it worth it??
Day Trip to Kuranda Australia - Is it Worth It?
The views from the railway and cable car and really pretty - you get to see the sea, Cairns and the rainforests in all its glory. There are walkways as part of the Cable Car experience where you get to walk amongst the rainforest and see the spectacular Barron Falls (pictured above)
You can get a combination ticket that allows you to get the railway one way and the cable car the over - a good option so you can see more views.
If you do have a car or take a bus tour (usually much cheaper than the railway line or cable car) then there are scenic look outs where you get the same view for free. You have to detour off the road to see Barron Falls.
If you do intend to drive yourself, It's a windy 10-15km road up into the rainforest so not that great for anyone who may get car sick!
It is certainly these views that make this trip worth doing. Kuranda Australia itself however, for me, was much less impressive and if anything was a real disappointment.
The town markets itself on its "world famous markets" and as a great place to pick up an Australian souvenir. It also prides itself on its wildlife - a butterfly sanctuary and venom Zoo.
The markets themselves seemed very tatty and the quality of goods being sold was not that great. There seemed to be lots of youths hanging around on street corners that made me feel a little uncomfortable. It felt like a "has been" down struggling to attract the crowds.
I didn't go to the Butterfly sanctuary but from the outside it looked nice enough - there are 2000 different species of butterfly here which makes it the biggest in Australia. I think you could allow 40 minutes to enjoy this attraction.
The Australian Venom Zoo is interesting - it's the only place of its kind that breeds tarantulas and scorpions for its venom for medical purposes. I was hoping to see more snakes but this is currently not its focus.
If you do intend to drive here yourself then make this a morning excursion as the markets do close mid afternoon and then the town is like a ghost town.
Due to its close proximity to Cairns airport (Less than a 30 minute drive) it's a good place to come if you have to be out of your hotel and are waiting for your flight.
My overall verdict - If you fancy a change and want to see some scenery and rainforests rather than the sea then do it. But expect the journey to be the highlight rather than Kuranda itself. I wouldn't be saving my cash to shop at the "world famous" markets - you'll do better in Cairns or Port Douglas who both hold markets once a week.
Top of Kuranda Australia
Great Barrier Reef Australia
Real Australia Travel Home Page