Kuranda, the picturesque village on the Atherton Tablelands, is home to many of our tropical wild friends, so where better to go animal-spotting than at one of Kuranda’s many wildlife gardens and sanctuaries.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Butterflies, the most fairylike creatures in all the land, have been a part of magical whimsy and enchanted tales the world over. Here at the largest butterfly aviary and exhibit in the Southern Hemisphere, you can live out your fairyland fantasies as over 1500 of these colourful creatures flutter around in complete safety. Experience the magnificence of the bright green Cairns Birdwing butterfly and the electric blue of the Ulysses butterfly – the unofficial insignia of the Tropical North. Handy tip – if you’d like to see these flutterbies up close, be sure to wear bright clothes as they do love a colourful print to rest upon.
Rainforestation Nature Park
The award-winning Rainforestation Nature Park, set on over 100 acres in World Heritage Rainforest, has a number of unique experiences for visitors to the tropical rainforest, including traditional dance performances depicting aspects of local indigenous culture, Army Duck Rainforest Tours and a series of walkways to view iconic Australian animals in the sanctuary of the park as well as in the surrounding rainforest. The Nature Park includes local native creatures such as salt-water crocodiles, wallabies, wombats and dingoes, as well as some very special rarities in these parts including the endangered Tasmanian Devil.
Birdworld Kuranda is a photographer’s dream, housing the largest number of co-habiting bird species anywhere in the world. At the sanctuary, you’ll find more than 500 birds from around the globe including the most spectacular tropical birds, many of which are endemic to the Tropical North. There are brilliant Amazonian macaws that soar over the treetop canopy, the endangered and stately cassowary, cheeky rainbow lorikeets, vibrantly coloured parrots, galahs, cockatoos and many more.
Kuranda Koala Gardens
Reports suggest there are less than 100,000 koalas left in the wild due to habitat destruction and environmental factors such as bushfires, so these furry favourites are pretty hard to spot, especially here in the Tropical North, which isn’t their natural habitat. Enter, Kuranda Koala Gardens – a safe and cosy place for these shy creatures to do what they do best: sleep, eat and look cute. Kuranda Koala Gardens is also one of a handful of places in the world where you can hold these not-actually-bears, ensuring their wellbeing through snuggles.
One of the best ways to take in the scenery surrounding this rainforest village is on a riverboat cruise on the Barron River. Unleash the Proud Mary in you as the calm waters of the beautiful Barron River provide great photographic opportunities and the riverboat skipper gives you an insight into the rich Kuranda goldfield history, the ancient tropical rainforest and the animals, reptiles and birds that reside in this unique area of Tropical North Queensland. Cassowaries can be spotted on the banks of the river, so keep your eyes peeled for this majestic and rare opportunity.