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.

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.