Kuranda

After returning from the liveaboard I wanted to head a little inland and do some walking in a proper rainforest. Unfortunately most of the best walks in the area really require a car or other private transport. So I had to compromise and ended up visiting Kuranda, a small tourist town in the middle of the rainforest 25 km from Cairns. Kuranda is a pretty big tourist destination with quite a few interesting sights. Even getting there is bit of an experience, the most scenic options are definitely the Skyrail Cableway or the Scenic Railway from Cairns. I opted for the cheaper bus option, but even so the drive up there had some great sights. To make sure I had plenty of time to complete the walk I got up early in the morning and managed to snatch a few sunrise shots in Cairns before catching the first Kuranda bus.

While there are a few shorter walks in Kuranda itself, getting to the longer walks from the town takes a while on foot. I started out on ? track, a nice enough covered track near next to the city. There was a lone wallaby along the way and a nice creek crossing. After that I started making my way towards the Barron Falls, a popular lookout in the area. There were no real walking tracks so I had to walk along the roads, luckily even these are quite interesting as they pass through the rainforest with huge trees and other plants all along the way.

The Barron Falls didn’t disappoint either, the view from the lookout is really spectacular. Water cascades down 265 meters to the bottom of the Barron Gorge and the spot has some great potential for photos. I was there near the end of the dry season so the Falls were not quite at their best either, during the wet season the sight must be magnificent!

Bit further down the road is the Wrights lookout with some nice views down the Barron Gorge. This is also the start of the longer walking tracks, from here on I followed the McDonalds track which is a starting point for many longer walking tracks. The track itself is reasonably easy but it passes through some really hilly terrain, by that point it was getting closer to noon and it was getting quite hot too. The first part of the track is fairly boring but things get more interesting once the track crosses over Surprise Creek. The Creek itself is nice enough and the crossing is a nice little spot. There was one turtle swimming in the water.

After the creek the walk climbs up a bit and finally gets back to the edge of the Barron Gorge. The views from up there are very nice, you can often see all the way to the coast along the Barron Gorge as long as trees are not blocking the way. I continued along the track for a few more kilometers until I reached the first major intersection. A short walk from there along the Douglas track took me to the Glacier Rock, a lookout with a great view of both the coast and the hills themselves.

After a short break I decided to turn back and started heading back towards Kuranda. The walk back was nice enough despite the fact that I was following the exact same route. In the town itself I took one final detour and followed the walking track along the river. Originally I had planned to do some more exploring in Kuranda itself too, there’s a really nice bird aviary and butterfly sanctuary there along with few other attractions. Unfortunately I was feeling quite exhausted after spending the whole day hiking up and down the hills in the heat. Besides, the next bus for Cairns was just about to depart so I hopped on and decided to call it a day. Total walking distance was around 25 km, plenty enough for a day trip considering the heat and the terrain!

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