If Adam and Eve had a choice, they would surely choose this one place where everything is a perfect image, vivid and remarkable. That place, found in the northern part of Queensland, Australia, is known as the country's secret paradise and simply called Kuranda. It's a place for all nature-lovers, outdoor sports enthusiasts, eager explorers and even local travelers.
Known to many as a "village in the rainforest," the town of Kuranda exudes beauty and magnificence that no other place can claim. Kuranda is found 25 kilometers away from Cairns, home of Australia's virgin rainforests. This town is a small village surrounded by the famous World Heritage Rainforest in the Atherton Tableland.
Since this town is inside the pristine rainforest, Kuranda boasts of its natural attractions. Kuranda houses a certain percentage of Australia's wildlife, from the most commonly visited koalas to the most endangered species on earth. The greenery in this town is exemplary and because of the healthy trees, this town has become a bird sanctuary. Like a paradise, Kuranda lures many visitors to drop by and relax within its tranquil environment.
The size and location of Kuranda are not hindrances for people to migrate and stay in this town permanently. In fact, Kuranda encompasses a multi-cultural population that grows in numbers every year. A diverse selection of culture is seen as one bonded community in Kuranda, and this diversity is among the reasons for tourists to keep on coming back to this haven.
Before the settlement of the European colony in Kuranda, the rainforest that surrounds the town was home to one of Australia's aborigines, the Djabugay, for more than 10,000 years. It was only during the 19th century when the Europeans discovered Kuranda and settled in this town during the early 1880s.
Since then, Kuranda's growth continued until the construction of some famous railways. Among these is the railway that runs from Cairns and reaches up to Herberton. The railway was established in 1887, but the line only reached this remote paradise in 1891. In 1915, a train station was established in Kuranda to serve both residents and visitors better.
Aside from railways, many establishments were built in Kuranda. During the early 20th century, Kuranda's most famous industrial product was coffee. But as the years passed, the village's main industry changed to timber. In 1960, the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station was established in this small town. The swelling number of establishments, visitors and population is the main factor why until today, Kuranda remains as one of Australia's most prosperous towns.
Every year, more and more tourists come to Kuranda just to discover Australia's paradise; the best place that keeps visitors on their feet is the panoramic rainforest that embraces this small town. Kuranda also boasts of its different nature reserves including the bird park, the butterfly sanctuary, the snake and Venom Park, the bat rehabilitation center and the koala sanctuary.
The Kuranda walking tracks, which include a list of must-see sites around the town, are among the most famous attractions. The Jungle Walk, Jumrum Creek Walk, and the Barron Falls Road Walk are the most visited tracks in Kuranda. One can reach these sites by following the walking path through the well-known Barron River. Among the three, the Barron Falls Road Walk offers the best panoramic view of the Tropical North Queensland. From the Jungle Walk, people can proceed to the River Walk to have a relaxing riverside stroll amidst the shades of the trees. Listen intently to the falls, the rivers, the birds and the crickets along these walking tracks, which are especially developed for those who want to while away their vacation days and set aside the hustle and bustle of the city life.
However, those who are looking for unique finds can stroll along the Village Walk, which can be reached by walking from Main Street of Kuranda to the famous Therwine Street. After shopping in the Village Walk, people can continue strolling along the pathways and alleys of Kuranda. If visitors wish to discover and witness Kuranda's lifestyle, they must drop by the Kuranda Backstreets Walk where both the Djabugay settlers and the contemporary families merge in one community. Local architecture, which ranges from the traditional to the modern styles, is also seen along the Kuranda Backstreets Walk.
Attractions in Kuranda are not only composed of the nature reserves and esplanades but also the market place, which consists of a wide array of art and craft stalls. Usually, people visit the market place to take home the popular didgeridoos and the exquisite opals.
Kuranda is a village where art is very alive, specifically in theaters. This town is the premier home of Tjapukai Indigenous Dance Theatre, which was created by the New Yorkers Judy Freeman and Don Freeman along with the indigenous performer David Hudson. This theater is situated near the base station of Skyrail.
But of all the major attractions, the most sought-after is considered to be the famous Barron Falls. With the height of 230 meters, the waterfalls flow from the highlands to form the Lake Tinaroo, which supplies the water needs of Atherton Tableland. This waterfall is also a source of electricity for the entire region, generating power at the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station.
Kuranda is known for its remarkable beauty, thanks to the immense rainforest that surrounds this town. Rejuvenation, peace and a unique way of communing with nature are the best things that Kuranda can ever offer to all of its visitors and residents.
Though known as a perfect place for nature lovers, Kuranda is also a place for other outdoor activities. Tropical sunshine and climate are reasons enough to enjoy this small town.
A common activity that visitors engage in Kuranda is shopping. The town offers many stalls that exhibit its spectacular arts and unique crafts. Just stroll along the Village Walk and find different souvenirs that you can either keep for yourself or give to your friends. After a long day of shopping and bargaining, have a sampling of the local cuisines at the town's restaurants. This place is perfect for those who are looking for romantic spots where they can simply eat and chat while they relax with the presence of nature.
Performing arts is another favorite activity in Kuranda. In fact, many theaters offer various shows to both locals and tourists. So after shopping and dining, indulge with the town's culture by seeing some live theater shows.
Kuranda accommodations vary from hotels to swimming pool resorts. For tourists, the best place to stay is in hotels where they can rest to gain energy for a long day of strolling, site-seeing, shopping or restaurant-hopping. Hotels in Kuranda have different prices, ranging from what is considered as cheap and affordable to expensive and first-class. The former group of accommodation includes the lodging houses, caravans, tents, campervans and motor homes; those who want to savor the magnificent outdoor environment that Kuranda is offering. The latter group, on the other hand, is composed of first-rate hotels, bungalows and lodging homes that are complete with facilities for different activities like swimming.
To fully enjoy the trip to Kuranda, it's always advisable to make reservations ahead of time, say a month before the trip, because lots of tourists come to Kuranda every month. After all, reservations always ensure that you have a place to stay in Kuranda. Just a reminder: choose the affordable and perfect place for the entire family.
The means of transportation to reach Kuranda can be classified into three: car (taxi or self-drive), railway and cableway. Though these three have different ways to get to Kuranda, all of them ensure breathtaking views of the entire Kurandan environment.
People who choose to bring their own cars or take a cab can reach the Kuranda Range in 30 minutes. Drive gently along the traffic-free roads of Kuranda and feast your eyes with panoramic views of the tropical coastline, specifically the Coral Sea, or the pristine rainforest in the area. But the best tip for tourists is to leave their cars at home so they can fully enjoy the entire Kurandan experience.
To have a wonderful tour of Kuranda, people must take the railway, which travels for about 34 kilometers. The hundred-year-old railway travels over 300 meters through the Kurandan tropical rainforest, passes through fifteen tunnels and 98 curves, and crosses over more than 40 bridges. For some people, this transportation is better than the car because of the many types of scenery that the railway offers; the Kuranda Railway Station itself is far from ordinary because of the botanical garden that surrounds the station. Meanwhile, the bridge over the Barron River Falls is the favorite stop of passengers because they are able to witness the beauty of the well-known falls while waiting for the train to move on.
But other people simply want to view Kuranda from the top, so they take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which is the biggest gondola cableway in the world. The Skyrail is the most popular attraction in Kuranda -- a proven claim once a great number of people step aboard the gondola. As the gondola soars above the Kurandan soil, passengers can enjoy the scenic views of different Kurandan attractions such as the Coral Sea, the tropical islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Cairns City.