Kuranda Rainforest

Enjoy a Birds Eye View of Cairns

Can you imagine what it would be like to be gliding only metres from the rainforest canopy, immersing yourself in the smells, sights and sounds of life in a tropical rainforest?

Let us tell you – it is 100% amazing.

As soon as you mention that you are visiting Cairns, you will likely get an influx of people advising you on what you must see and do in the area. When Wanggulay guests ask us what we recommend doing, the Kuranda Sky Rail is top of our list.

The Skyrail is one of the only rainforest cableways in Australia, providing you with an amazing experience and view over tropical rainforest from the canopy to deep in the forest. The 7.5km ride gives you the opportunity to see the rainforest in a way you likely haven’t seen before. This is one tour you should certainly set aside at least half a day for, if not a full day.

There are four Skyrail stations but we absolutely recommend that you start at Smithfield Terminal which is less than 10km from us here at Wanggulay. The first leg will take you on a 10-minute ride from Smithfield Terminal to Red Peak Station, where you can get off an enjoy the rainforest boardwalk. We recommend the complimentary guided boardwalk tour from qualified local Rangers who give you an informative insiders tour of the rainforest.

It’s then back on board for a 14-minute ride from Red Peak Station to Barron Falls Station. This is a spectacular section of the Skyrail – as you come into Barron Falls Station you will glide over the Barron Gorge giving you an amazing view of the Gorge – especially if it is in full flow.

Barron Falls Station is a great place to get off the Skyrail with easy walks to three individual lookouts over the Gorge and Falls. You’ll get the best view during the green season (December through to March) but the view at any time of the year is great. The station also has a Rainforest Interpretation Centre which is home to a visual and interactive presentation of the rainforest environment, as well as a historical centre.

The final leg takes you from Barron Falls Station through to the Kuranda Terminal. A short 8-minute ride from Barron Falls Station brings you to the rainforest village of Kuranda. This lovely little town is only a short walk from the terminal and is home to the Butterfly Sanctuary we posted about last week, as well as a bird aviary, koala park and a range of shops, cafes, galleries and more.

Once you’ve finished exploring Kuranda, there are two options on getting back to Wanggulay. You can catch the Skyrail back down, or you can treat yourself to the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which is an amazing trip in itself (keep an eye out for our next blog on the Kuranda Scenic Railway).

We really can’t tell you just how amazing this the Skyrail trip from Smithfield to Kuranda is, and it is one of our must-do’s here at Wanggulay.

adventure, travel, tourism, hike and people concept - group of s

Join Us for Green Season – Adventure Feature

If you love an adventure while on holidays, visiting us here at Wanggulay in the summer is a great choice. While it may be wet season, you’ll find plenty to do and to keep you busy. While it gets fairly warm in the summer months, the rain generally starts to fall in the afternoon helping to cool you off from a day of adventure in and around the Cairns area.

We’ve outlined some of our favourite green season adventure activities you’ll find around the area.

White Water Rafting

If you’ve never been white water rafting before, the summer is the perfect time to give it a go. There’s a small number of companies running white water rafting tours on both the Tully and Barron Rivers providing you lots of options.

White water rafting is an activity for teenagers through to those hitting their 60’s and even older. A lot of our guests never even thought of trying white water rafting before they stayed here at Wanggulay, but after a day out on the rapids, we’ve received so many comments from people wondering why they hadn’t tried it sooner!

It’s a great idea to bring along a waterproof camera as you are sure to get lots of photo opportunities. The wet season is a great time for white water rafting – you’re already wet so why worry about a little extra rain, and the extra rain really gets the rivers flowing giving you a great experience.

ATV Riding

If you’ve ever wanted to experience the rainforest from a different angle you must try ATV Quad biking. One of our favourite day trips up to Kuranda for a morning or afternoon session on the ATV bikes or the Argos. Make sure you bring along your camera because you’ll get some great photo opportunities and be able to reach places you normally wouldn’t be able to on foot.

ATV Riding is a great activity for those in their early teens upwards, and is a great boy’s day out; in fact, many of our group bookings send the blokes out on an ATV or Argo tour while the ladies enjoy a day at the local day spa.

Cable Ski Park

There are only a handful of cable ski parks in Australia and here in Cairns we have the only park in Tropical North Queensland. If you’ve never heard of cable skiing before, you might be wondering exactly what it is. Essentially cable skiing is a way to water ski or wakeboard where the rope is pulled by a cable instead of the traditional boat.

The park is designed for everyone, young to old and beginner to advanced; cable skiing is a great way to have fun and cool off on a warm summer day. You will have the opportunity to kneeboard, wakeboard and waterski and the park also includes and Aqua Park providing lots of fun and challenging activities for the younger ones.

If you’re looking for a way to cool off (apart from in our wonderful pool), cable skiing is a great activity for the whole family.

Jungle Surfing

Jungle Surfing is one activity all of our guests want to know about, and what a better way to discover the Daintree than soaring through the canopy. Jungle Surfing isn’t just about the adventure though; you’ll come out of the tours with a great understanding of the rainforest and how it works with interpretive talks from experienced guides.

The great thing about the Jungle Surfing adventure is that this isn’t just a day time activity. At night, when the equipment is packed away, you can join in on a night time adventure. The rainforest really does come alive at night and you can be right in the middle experiencing the inner night time workings of the rainforest.

Jungle Surfing is a great activity for all the family, and it’s certainly something we recommend if you’re looking for something a little different while on holidays.

Bungy Jumping

Cairns isn’t generally known for bungy jumping, but we’re going to let you in on a little secret. Just 10km north of us here at Wanggulay, tucked into the Smithfield Regional Park, you’ll find a bungy jumping adventure to give you a lifetime of memories.

The purpose built bungy park has 16 different jump options and provides for everyone from beginners to experienced bungy jumpers. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can even BMX jump off the bungy tower.

This is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon; just make sure you take in the great views over the coast and the Barrier Reef before you take that step over the edge!!

Join Us for the Green Season – Barron Falls Feature

Here in Cairns the busiest time of the year is actually winter. As you read that are you wondering why would visitors want to spend time in a seaside city in the middle of winter rather than basking in the summer season?

That’s an easy one to answer. Winter is actually our dry season, and with our great winter temperatures of around 20 – 25 degrees everyone agrees that winter is the perfect time to visit Cairns. 

Barron Falls in Barron Gorge National Park - Queensland Australia.

Barron Falls in Barron Gorge National Park – Queensland Australia.

Summer brings with it the wet season and while that means rain and sultry summer days, it also brings with it some fantastic photo opportunities that you won’t see any other time of the year and Barron Gorge and the waterfalls within the Gorge are something you can’t miss.

The Gorge is amazing whether the falls are flowing or not, but once we start the wet season, the 60km of rivers which form the Barron River start flowing, ending in a 250 metre fall to the lowlands below the Gorge.

There are four great walks in the Barron Gorge National Park, all of which are close to us here at Wanggulay. First up is Din Din Barron Falls lookout. This is an easy walk which takes around 40 minutes to complete the 1.2km return walk. Din Din Barron Falls lookout is wheelchair accessible (with aid), and the boardwalk that is suspended above the forest floor winds through the canopy to the lookout and Barron Falls railway platform providing great views and photo opportunities. From here you can also watch the gondolas gently ascending the Gorge and twice a day see the Kuranda Scenic Railway train arrive and depart the station below.

Wrights lookout is an easy 3km return walk which will take you about an hour. This lovely walk provides you views and photo opportunities over the Barron Gorge, towards Cairns city and the coastline. Surprise Creek walk is a moderate grade walk which follows the first section of the McDonalds track from Wrights lookout. The rainforest opens up onto woodland before steeply descending to Surprise Creek. You can then discover the pools and rapids upstream. Surprise Creek walk is approximately 2.8km return and you should allow at least an hour and a half to complete it.

The fourth walk is an easy 2km return track named the Stoney Creek Garndal Garndal track. This is a rough but fairly easy to walk track and will take you through the Stoney Creek gorge, having you walking alongside Stoney Creek and up to the causeway of the old weir. You will discover clear pools and small waterfalls as well as a large boulder lookout giving you views over the creek downstream of the weir.

We love the wet season up here at Wanggulay – the sound of rain falling at night, the warm days and the great photo opportunities the rain brings all make for a great holiday.

Photo Credit:

Photo taken by: Queensland National Parks


CAIRNS, AUS - JUN 22 2014: Cairns Cenotaph and Memorial site

Cairns in a Day

Not too many people come to Cairns with only a day to spend seeing the sights, but we know that many of our Wanggulay visitors like to just relax at the property instead of rushing around doing the tourist thing, which we totally understand – how could you not just want to lay around the pool or discover some of our amazing flora and fauna waiting on the doorstep.

But if you do only have one day to explore this amazing area, we’ve put together a list of some places you must visit in that day.

Breakfast on the Esplanade

Start your day with breakfast at one of our tasty restaurants with views over the Esplanade. What better way to start the day than breakfast overlooking the ocean. There are some great cafes along the Esplanade waiting for you to discover, selling fresh breakfast fare.

Apart from breakfast in nature here at Wanggulay, we can’t think of a better way to start a day of sightseeing.

Discover the Botanic Gardens

When you visit Cairns, a visit to the Botanic Gardens is in order. This is a great way to walk off breakfast while discovering the five main areas of the gardens. In amongst these five garden areas you’ll find a rainforest boardwalk, conservatory, lakes, Aboriginal plant garden and the bamboo collection.

The gardens are a great way to discover some of our native plants; you’ll also likely spot the Ulysses butterfly and the Carins Birdwing butterfly while walking around the gardens – you might even be lucky enough to spot the Hercules moth flying area. We can almost guarantee you’ll see the Australian Scrub Turkeys scratching around in the gardens.

Rusty’s Market

If you’re in town on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, Rusty’s Market is a great little stop for fruit and veg, flowers and fashion. Rusty’s has been operating in town since 1975 and is full of everything you could need to bring back here to Wanggulay for the rest of your stay – fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious breads and mouth-watering deli items. The great thing about Rusty’s is that it’s open all day so you don’t need to rush while here or be up early – you can take your time and browse through the over 180 stall to find something appealing.

Lunch Stop

When you’re on holidays you don’t always want to be sitting down to a full lunch, especially in the warmer months. We have some great bakeries in Cairns serving up your usual bakery fare of pies and sausage rolls, however you are sure to find some freshly made sandwiches, great tasting cakes and freshly ground coffee. Why not grab a sandwich and make your way to one of the wonderful picnic spots in town to enjoy lunch while soaking up the sun.

An Arty Afternoon

The Cairns Art Gallery has a great range of exhibitions coming and going; in fact there are so many exhibitions coming up all the time, we can’t keep up. Located in a heritage building that was built in 1933, the art gallery is home to some great collections of works completed or inspired by Far North Queensland.

The art gallery is a great way to spend a hot Cairns afternoon, and you’ll discover a lot more to the north Queensland art scene than you thought existed.

A Day Done

Heading back to the Esplande is the only way we can think off to finish off a great day exploring Cairns. There are a wide array of restaurants selling various cuisines – for some of our staff favourites, remember to ask us when checking in. After dinner, a walk along the Esplanade, watching the lights twinkle over the water is a great way to finish off the day.

After a long day, we can certainly recommend heading back to Wanggulay and taking a dip in the pool.


Our Favourite Places to Spend a Day

Living and working in Cairns, we all have our favourite places to escape to for the day. We love living in this tropical wonderland, and with so many places to visit up here, we thought we’d outline some of our favourite places to spend the day.


The Skyrail is an absolute must do when it comes to visiting Cairns – in fact, a visit to Cairns isn’t complete without a ride on the Skyrail. A great day out for the whole family, you’ll get to experience our lovely rainforests from a completely different perspective. The Skyrail provides for some great photo opportunities and is something you won’t forget.

If a trip on the Skyrail is on your to-do list while visiting us here at Wanggulay, why not drop your bags in early, and head on the Skyrail while we get the property ready for you.

Behana Gorge Waterfalls

A 45 minute hike up the mountain of Behana Gorge Road will see you arriving at the spectacular Behana Gorge waterfalls. This place is truly magical and we all love escaping here, whether it be on a hot summer day or just to get away from it all.

Behana Gorge is a great place for some wildlife spotting – we spot goannas quite often on our regular walks up the gorge. This is a great spot to make a day of – do the 45 minute hike up the mountain, take a swim in the cool refreshing waters at any of the swimming holes and sit down for lunch with your feet dangling in the water.

Of course, the walk back down is much easier but as long as you have a moderate fitness level, you can’t beat this local wonder.

Wildlife Dome

When you are visiting Cairns with a young family, you really can’t go past a day at the Wildlife Dome. With over 400 animals to spot, you and your children will love a day out. The Dome has a large range of animals including birds, reptiles and frogs and you can expect to see some animals you normally wouldn’t get a glimpse of.

There’s also a whole range of shows to keep the kids entertained, and like many of our other young guests, they’ll come back here to Wanggulay asking their parents when they can visit the Dome again.

Island Cruises

There are so many island cruises departing from Cairns that it is hard to choose just one that all of us here at Wanggulay love. Fitzroy Island and Green Island are popular choices amongst many of our Wanggulay guests, and we hear so many of them talking about booking another trip when they come up next.

The islands are an amazing part of living in Cairns, and whether you just stay on the boat or get out there for a dive or snorkel, you’ll love the amazing colours and scenery that the northern Barrier Reef islands have to offer.

For more hints and tips on places that we love to visit, just ask us. We love sharing our region and we’ll be sure to recommend something suitable for your entire travel group.