Known as the ‘village in the rainforest’, the township of Kuranda on the Atherton Tableland is about 25km north-west of Cairns and takes about 35mins to drive there on the Kuranda Range Road that begins at Smithfield. Originally a stopping off point for drovers, timber-cutters and miners heading to the Atherton Tablelands in the 1880s, Kuranda became famous as a home for those looking for an ‘alternative lifestyle’ in the 1960s. The village retains most of its ‘alternative’ feel which has added to its attraction as a tourist destination. Over the last couple of years Kuranda has become something of a commuter suburb with people working in Cairns or Mareeba commuting daily for the lifestyle Kuranda offers. Mareeba is about 32mins drive southeast on the Atherton Tablelands. Kuranda is a major tourist attraction in the Cairns region; it is the end point of the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Kuranda Scenic Railway service. Kuranda is also home to a number of animal attractions including a Butterfly Sanctuary and popular markets. The Kuranda Railway is an historic attraction and the station in Kuranda is renowned for it’s gardens.
The population of Kuranda mainly consists of artists, entertainers and people involved in the tourism industry alongside remnants of the alternative lifestyle community from the 1960s. The village is very multicultural with a definite ‘hippie’ vibe. There is also a large community of the local indigenous tribe from the area, many of whom work in the tourism industry. Accommodation is mainly older Queensland-style homes or ‘alternative’ lifestyle options including timber homes, yurts and pole-homes. There is still acreage available in the surrounding areas of Koah and Speewah where more modern homes are available.
Kuranda has some community services including the Kuranda Amphitheatre which is a nationally-respected outdoor entertainment venue, a swimming pool complex and a community hall. However most government services like Medicare, Centrelink and the Department of Transport are to be found in either Mareeba, about 32mins drive southeast of in the Cairns suburb of Smithfield, about 16mins drive east down the Kuranda Range Road. Kuranda has a post office, parks and sporting areas and a community hall.
Kuranda has a number of general practitioners and medical services including some pathology and a chemist. The nearest hospital is at Mareeba but patients generally prefer to travel to Cairns Base Hospital, about 35mins drive down the Kuranda Range, as there is a wider variety of services available in Cairns.
Kuranda is a tourist destination and as such offers a wide variety of gifts, arts & crafts, markets and other visitor retail options. There are grocery and convenience stores, however residents prefer to shop at Smithfield, about 16mins drive east, as the prices are cheaper. There are also a number of services like tax accountants, builders, hair & beauty etc in Kuranda as well as many restaurants, cafés and holiday accommodation options.
There are a number of child care options in Kuranda including a community kindergarten and a Prep Year.
Kuranda has a state college (Prep-12) and some home schooling options. The adjacent suburbs of Smithfield and Trinity Beach in Cairns, about 16-20mins drive east, also offer schooling options.
Cairns’ Sunbuses do not service Kuranda, and Cairns taxis need to be booked in advance to service the Kuranda area. Kuranda has a dedicated mini-bus service that operates daily to take school children and commuters to Cairns. The Cairns school bus service does operate in the Kuranda area. Kuranda also has its own taxi service. The Kuranda Scenic Railway travels between Kuranda and Cairns, this is a tourist service and therefore comparatively expensive, quite slow and not scheduled for work hours.
Source: cairns.com.au, Pricefinder & our own in house research