Kuranda railway station, the greenest in Australia with scenic rail on the left
|Population||1,611 (2006 census)|
|Elevation||330 m (1,083 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Mareeba|
|State electorate(s)||Barron River|
Kuranda is a town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia, it is 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Cairns, via the Kuranda Range road. It is surrounded by tropical rainforest and adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage listed Barron Gorge National Park. It is within the local government area of Shire of Mareeba (between 2008 and 2013, it was within the Tablelands Region). At the 2006 census, Kuranda had a population of 1,611.
The rainforest around Kuranda has been home to the Djabugay people for over 10,000 years. Europeans began to explore the area throughout the nineteenth century. It is believed a massacre of indigenous people took place at the location in Kuranda known as Skeleton Creek. Kuranda was first settled in 1885 and surveyed by Thomas Behan in 1888. Construction of the railway from Cairns to Myola (later Cairns to Herberton) began in 1887 and the line reached Kuranda in 1891. The current railway station was built in 1915.
Although coffee was grown around Kuranda in the early twentieth century, timber was the town's primary industry for a number of years. Today Kuranda is a vibrant 'Village in the Rainforest' with tourism being the current backbone of the local economy.
The Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station was built nearby in the 1960s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Kuranda was popular with alternative lifestylers, a theme that still runs through the local community today.
The town receives thousands of tourists each week who arrive from Cairns either on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, the Skyrail gondola cableway, coach or by public bus   on the Kuranda Range Road, a scenic 40 minute drive from Cairns.
As mentioned, the town is surrounded by tropical rainforest, abundant with wildlife and is a birdwatchers paradise. There are several short walks around the village including the Jum Rum Creek Environmental Park (allow 1 hour to complete circuit) which includes The River Walk. Walking to the Barron Gorge National Park to visit Barron Falls is also popular (allow 45 minutes each way + time spent in the park). Another 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) each way on to Wright's Lookout (allow 1 hour each way + time spent in the park). There is also a shuttle service (The Barron Falls Shuttle Bus)  that provides an alternative to walking with a half hourly service out to the Barron Gorge National Park. This service also includes a visit to Wright's Lookout and returns to the village centre half hourly.
Attractions in Kuranda include a bird aviary, butterfly sanctuary , wildlife rescue/rehabilitation centre, reptile park  and koala sanctuary . There is also a fossil and gemstone museum  and candy making displays . Cruises are available aboard 'Kuranda Queen'  on the Barron River.
Kuranda provides the visitor with many shopping opportunities, all within easy walking distance around the CBD, including the markets which consist of a range of stalls with locally made arts, crafts and produce. Kuranda has numerous art galleries and specialty shops offering a wide selection of locally made and designed art, clothing and handicrafts as well as a variety of sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Kuranda is also a major centre for opals and didgeridoos.
It was also the first home of the Tjapukai Indigenous Dance Theatre, established by former New Yorkers Judy and Don Freeman, together with indigenous dancer and actor, David Hudson. The theatre is now located adjacent the Skyrail base station at Caravonica.
Being situated in the tropics, Kuranda experiences only mild variations in temperature and its seasons consist of a dry season and a wet season. The weather is not as humid as the nearby coastal city of Cairns, as it is high in the hinterlands. The coolest month is July, and the hottest January. In July a light jacket may be needed on some cool days and evenings.
Kuranda is located in the (federal) Australian House of Representatives Division of Leichhardt, the Legislative Assembly of Queensland electoral district of Barron River and locally, in the Shire of Mareeba.
Notes and references
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Kuranda (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Kuranda Railway Station (entry 16265)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kuranda.|