TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 4: Kuranda Village Tour + Guide + Itinerary
Off to Hogwarts! Kidding! We're off to Kuranda!
Aside from water activities. What else is left to do in Cairns? Take a hike to Kuranda!
Kuranda is a village in Cairns Tablelands, surrounded by a world heritage rainforest in the north of Queensland, 25km from the city; it is home to Aborigines and various species of flora and fauna, and where you will find the scenic Barron Gorge Falls and Barron River.
I was picked up at 10am by the Skyrail Coach and by 10:30, we arrived at Smithfield Station, the starting point for the Kuranda tour. We were led to the ticketing station where we claimed our tickets for the cable car transfer to Kuranda.
Gondola aka cable car
It was my first- time ever to ride a cable car and I was so excited and nervous at the same time. Glad that the entire trip wasn't shaky - except for a few dips that were tolerable - and the whole cable car system felt safe.
TRIVIA: The cable car system was installed without harming the environment nor bulldozing trees. The gigantic poles were dropped one by one via a helicopter into the rainforest. Truly, if you have a heart for nature, you'll find a way to save it!
For the trip up Kuranda, I chose the one way cable car transfer because some guides suggested that the view from the cable car is best during the morning. See that highway? You can choose to drive all the way up to Kuranda, but it might take about an hour; via the cable car, it will only take about 30-45 minutes with two stops; more if you do a leisure walk at the first stop. Who cares if you spend more time in the cable car ride??? The view is fantastic!
The first stop. We had to transfer to another cable car system from here and the walk was pretty entertaining as there was a guided tour via signages; we discovered the various plants and trees that are native to the rainforest.
TIP: The rainforest is ripe with Ferns. However, some Ferns are poisonous and can cause skin irritation upon contact so just look - don't touch!
In our last ride, we passed by the gorgeous Barron River. I've never seen a river so clean and the landscape surrounding it is so rich! Seems like the place is untouched by humans! This is why I love Australia - they have a heart for nature and they inspire me to be more environmentally- conscious too!
DREAMTIME STORY OF THE BARRON GORGE RIVER:
Barron Gorge River is the result of the mighty Barron Gorge falls that carved the mountains for thousands of years, but the Aborigines have quite a creative story on how the river came about: According to Dreamtime, a belief system of the Aborigines, the carpet snake Buda-dji traveled up and down the forest to trade for essential items with the clans in the area, which eventually carved the path of the river. While on his way for a barter, three bird- men followed him and asked for the beautiful shells that he owns; Buda-dji refused and said that it is meant for the clans living up along river. Enraged, the three bird- men plotted to ambush Buda-dji on his next trip. One day, while on his way for another barter, Buda-dji was ambushed by the three bird- men and they chopped him up to pieces, and scattered his body all over the Tablelands. Now the parts of the Tablelands where the Aborigines believed his body parts were disposed were named after every piece of his body part.
This is an important story of the Aborigine culture and is passed on from generation to generation. The Aboriginal community residing within and nearby the Tablelands share this belief of Buda-dji.
Welcome to Kuranda! Kuranda is a small village with parks and shops; in here, you'll see tons and tons of art items, souvenirs that depict Aborginal art as well as natural, hand- made Australian cosmetics.
After having lunch, I walked around the area and decided to enter one of the sanctuaries.
There are three sanctuaries in Kuranda: Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld Kuranda, and Kuranda Koala Gardens. I decided to go for one sanctuary only to save money, plus I didn't have a lot of time left as I spent a lot of time roaming the shops and Heritage Market.
TIP: If you want to go sanctuary hopping, purchase a premium pass. It will come out much cheaper than buying the passes individually.
I've always wanted to hug a Koala, which I wasn't able to do when I visited Sydney. This time, I told myself I would never pass up on this opportunity so I purchased a hug-a-koala pass. This little guy is zonked out from too much Eucalyptus!
One ticked off my bucket list! I hugged this 2- year old Koala named Hazel and we posed for a photo. Yay! :D
Let me quote Boo of Monsters Inc. on this one: IT'S SO FLUFFFFFFYYYYY!!!!!
There are also other animals in the Koala Gardens such as turtles and other marsupials such as Wombats and Wallabies.
A handsome Eastern Grey Kangaroo.
You can go inside the Wallaby and Kangaroo den, and feed them; there's food by the gate; take an ample amount and feed them slowly.
TIP: Maintain a safe distance when feeding wild animals. If you're not experienced, don't feed them on your hand. Don't startle them. Don't hug them. Don't force them to eat.
TIP: Please don't use flash photography when taking photos of this area because you might stress out or startle the animals or worse, cause accidental blindness. Remember, these are nocturnal animals and they're not used to seeing a lot of light, especially intense light from camera flash. Please abide by the rules. Be a responsible tourist.
A small outdoor museum showcasing how Kuranda railway was made. Kuranda Railway was built in the 1800's and was completed around the 1900's, and started operations in 1930; it used to be a mode of public transportation from Cairns to Kuranda, but now, it's used for the scenic railway tour only. FYI, the train still uses its original lumber materials from the 1800's!
To kill time before the start of our railway tour, I walked by Barron River. You can also opt for a boat tour, which I didn't take because that meant more expense for me. I simply enjoyed my time by sitting by the dock and taking in some fresh air while enjoying the view.
And the scenic railway tour starts!
The scenic railway tour is a guided tour. The guide speaks via a microphone and it is radioed across the carriages. Here, you are seeing Lady Barron falls, the first falls to see on the way back to Cairns and the smallest as well.
It was dry season so there was no water flowing. :( I visited on the last week of October 2016, btw.
The tour lasted for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Our final stop was Freshwater Station. From here, we were taken back to our respective hotels by the coach.
This is the confirmation email I got from Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, my company of choice for Kuranda Village Tour. Please click HERE for the exact tour I purchased.
TIP: An ideal Kuranda Tour setup: To Kuranda: Ride the cable car; Going back to the city: ride the scenic railway tour.
THOUGHTS ON KURANDA VILLAGE TOUR:
I really enjoyed this tour because I am a fan of nature strolls and mountain climbing. I also enjoyed the moderate physical activity from going up and down the village, and the bevy of activities offered in the village. Kuranda Village is a great mix of nature and wildlife! I definitely recommend this tour!
Hope you enjoyed our tour to this world heritage site. Tomorrow, let's go deeper; let's visit Moore Reef, Outer Barrier Reef!
Check out my itinerary and expense breakdown for this trip:
**Total is based on PHP-AUD exchange rate during my time of visit. It may be cheaper or more expensive during your time of visit.
**Incidentals such as shopping, food, drinks, and transportation are not part of this breakdown.
**CORRECTION: The Outer Barrier Tour was arranged with Reef Magic Cruises.
Philippine Airlines flies to Cairns, Australia 4x weekly. Visit PHILIPPINE AIRLINES on Facebook for inquiries.
Ending this post with a 1-minute video of my Kuranda Village adventure!
Check out my other Cairns, Australia travel posts:
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