Kuranda is a town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is located 330 metres AHD at 16°49’12″S, 145°38’01″ECoordinates: 16°49’12″S, 145°38’01″E and is 25 kilometres from Cairns, via the Kuranda Range. It is a town of 650 people and is surrounded by rainforest.
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. Kuranda was first settled in 1885 and surveyed by Thomas Behan in 1888. Construction of the now famous railway from 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.
The Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station was built nearby in the 1960s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Kuranda was popular with alternative lifestylers, and today is a thriving tourist town.
The town receives thousands of tourists each week who arrive on the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns, the Skyrail gondola cableway, or by coach on the Kuranda Range Road.
Attractions in the town include a regular market, consisting of a range of arts and crafts stalls as well as restaurants. Kuranda is 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. Kuranda is home to a bird park, butterfly sanctuary, a bat rehabilitation centre, snake and venom park and koala sanctuary. As mentioned, the town is surrounded by rainforest rich in wildlife, with numerous walks and lookouts, such as to the Barron Falls.