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Kuranda railway station with scenic rail on the left
|Population||3,008 (2016 census)|
|• Density||27.124/km2 (70.25/sq mi)|
|Elevation||330 m (1,083 ft)|
|Area||110.9 km2 (42.8 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10:00)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Mareeba|
|State electorate(s)||Barron River|
Kuranda is a town and locality on the Atherton Tableland in the Shire of Mareeba, Far North Queensland, Australia. The town of Myola is also located within the locality of Kuranda. 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). In the 2016 census, Kuranda had a population of 3,008 people.
Kuranda is positioned on the eastern edge of the Atherton Tableland where the Barron River begins a steep descent to its coastal floodplain. The area is an important wildlife corridor between the Daintree/Carbine Tableland area in the north and Lamb Range/Atherton Tableland in the south, two centres of biodiversity.
Parts of Kuranda, particularly along its eastern edge, are protected within the Kuranda National Park and Barron Gorge National Park. Both national parks belong to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Barron Gorge Forest Reserve and Formatine Forest Reserve have been established in the south of Kuranda. Closer to the centre of the town is Jumrum Creek Conservation Park where a near threatened, endemic frog species is protected. An elongated dam created by a weir built for a power station was constructed in 1935 and is used to today for recreation.
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 Aboriginal 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.
Kuranda State School opened on 24 October 1892. It was renamed Kuranda District State School on 8 July 2002.
Although coffee was grown around Kuranda in the early twentieth century, timber was the town's primary industry for a number of years. Kuranda has been known as a tourist destination since the early 1900s. It was both the rainforest and local Aboriginal culture which attracted people to the area. Today Kuranda is a 'village in the rainforest' with tourism being the current backbone of the local economy. The 'village in the rainforest' concept promoted from the 1970s onwards served two purposes. It attracted those seeking a bohemian enclave in which to reside as well as a being a tourist promotional strategy. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Kuranda was popular with alternative lifestylers, a theme that still runs through the local community today.
The Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station was built nearby in the 1960s.
Kuranda Library opened in 1996 and underwent a major refurbishment in 2015.
Kuranda State High School opened on 22 January 1998.
Kuranda has a number of heritage-listed sites:
- Cairns-to-Kuranda railway line (operated as the Kuranda Scenic Railway) including the Kuranda railway station.
The Kuranda Historical Society was established in 2017 and seeks to collect and display items of historical interest relating to the Kuranda area.
The Kuranda Media Association publish a monthly newspaper called "The Kuranda Paper".
Kuranda District State College is a government primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at 260 Myola Road ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 366 students with 37 teachers (33 full-time equivalent) and 32 non-teaching staff (21 full-time equivalent). It has a special education program.).
Cairns Hinterland Steiner School is a private primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at 46 Boyles Road ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 165 students with 18 teachers (17 full-time equivalent) and 17 non-teaching staff (11 full-time equivalent).).
The nocturnal frog species Litoria myola is only found in the vicinity of a few creeks near Kuranda. The area boasts a rich diversity of invertebrate fauna including Australia's largest species of mantids, phasmids, spiders, moths and butterflies all found in Kuranda.
Kuranda does not seem to have a dedicated weather station and resultant data feed. It appears that phone and weather apps default to Cairns data and so can be misleading.
Generally Kuranda is 2–5 °C cooler than Cairns, it has more rainy days as a result of orographic influences, and it is more humid generally (with residential areas in Kuranda village averaging 90% relative humidity, because of the surrounding rain-forest). Kuranda is often referred to the "air conditioned suburb of Cairns" and the rain-forest and elevation is responsible in part for these perceptions. It is rare for the temperature to exceed 31 °C in summer, the weather being moderated by rain and cloud cover in January to March (the wet season), and night minimums at this time of year similarly rarely drop below 20 °C. Winter maximums (June to August) are typically a consistent 25 °C; however, minimums can drop to 8 °C, owing to clear skies at this time of year and cooler air movements originating from the southern Atherton Tablelands.
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.
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