Jewels in the Crown of Cairns: Kuranda and the Great Barrier Reef

There is more to Cairns than just strolling around and having a look. There’s also more than just two ‘must do’ attractions in Cairns, but if you only had time for two, your choice would be simple.

On land, you will want to visit the lush green rainforests of Kuranda, taking the cable car one way and the scenic railway the other. Out in the sea, Cairns has something special; it is unthinkable that anyone would visit this city and not want to take a look at the Great Barrier Reef.

We’d booked up online to go to Kuranda on our very first full day in Cairns.


We decided to journey up to Kuranda, the village in the rainforest, on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Well, walking wasn’t really an option for us. The views were spectacular…

kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views

kuranda-viewsWe got off at the first stop, Red Peak Station, which is in the heart of the rainforest. We were treated to a fascinating half hour or so guided tour by one of the local rangers, Jeremy, who certainly knew all there was to know about the bush tucker around us.

If you know what you’re doing in these parts, and Jeremy certainly did, you really could live off the land here.

We then got back on the cable car to complete our journey to Kuranda, and enjoyed more amazing views…

kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views kuranda-views

kuranda-viewsKuranda, the village

Kuranda was cute in a touristy kind of way…

kuranda-village kuranda-village kuranda-village

kuranda-villageAfter lunch and a stroll around, we headed off to find the station to catch the train…

kuranda-stationAll aboard…

all-aboardYou see, I really did pick up Mrs Bob and Elizabeth from Cairns Airport.

After the stationmaster’s sharp blow of the whistle, the train began to roll as we descended down to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The views on our return were every bit as good as those on the way up…

kuranda-scenic-rail kuranda-scenic-rail kuranda-scenic-rail kuranda-scenic-rail kuranda-scenic-rail

kuranda-scenic-railFinally, we got to the bottom again…


kuranda-scenic-trainThe Great Barrier Reef

Kuranda was a great day out, there is a special feeling you get being in a rainforest. But I could tell that Mrs Bob and Elizabeth were even more excited when we set off at 8 o’clock in the morning, heading to Marlin Pier to board a boat taking us to the Great Barrier Reef.

Remember, my daughter is something of a fish, she has been a very keen swimmer ever since we arrived in Australia. She literally learned how to swim within a few months of our arrival here, as you can witness for yourselves in the opening few seconds of my video on Our First Full Year Living In Australia.

And she hasn’t stopped swimming since. She swims for the school and this year she became captain of the local swim club.

I think it’s safe to say she loves swimming. Well, she was ultra excited about going scuba diving, as was Mrs Bob. They couldn’t wait. By 9 o’clock in the morning, we were on our way…

to-great-barrier-reefOur boat took us to a diving platform called Marine World…


marine-worldThere were plenty of activities available to us on this floating platform, but my girls were interested in only one thing; scuba. Before I knew it, they were kitted up and ready to dive…

ready-to-diveAnd descending the steps into the blue…


into-the-blueAfter receiving their final instructions from the instructor…

into-the-blueThey quickly disappeared into the ocean…

into-the-blue into-the-blue

into-the-blueAnd were gone. All I could see of them were bubbles rising to the surface of the sea. I do have one photograph of them under water though; here they both are posing with Wally…

wallyYou can find everything you need to know about Wally on my post Scuba Diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

After a good 20 minutes or so, they emerged having had the experience of the lifetime…


out-of-the-bluePhotos can’t really do the Great Barrier Reef justice, not my photos anyway. It’s somewhere you really have to see for yourself. If you get the chance, take it.

After a great day out on the reef, it was time to head back to the shore…

sunset…watching the sun slowly descend as I sat on the boat with a tinny in my hand…

tinnyKuranda and the Great Barrier Reef; two jewels in the crown of Cairns.

Next up, let’s take A Thorough Look Around Cairns, Far North Queensland

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Helen November 10, 2016, 4:27 pm |

    Hi Bob, great post, the rainforest and reef look incredible. Will put them on my Oz to-do list.
    Just wanted to say a big thank-you for your wonderful website, which I’ve been following for 5+ years, which has provided so much information, inspiration and motivation to me that we took the plunge as a family of 4 and moved to Perth last March. I must say it’s going great; we love our jobs, our house with pool, going for a cycle by the swan river, serenaded by laughing kookaburras and playing Dolphins, and my kids are loving Kindi and already learning Mandarin. And of course the BBQ’s and beaches are a bonus. So a big thank-you, Bob. Without you I may never have realised my dreams.

    • BobinOz November 10, 2016, 7:18 pm |

      I just love comments like yours Helen, they make my day and it makes what I am doing here all worthwhile. At the same time, it quite frightens me that people are making such a big move based partly on my website.

      Luckily though, for most people the move is everything for them as it has been for me. That’s down to Australia being such a great place to live, as you’ve now found out for yourself. I hope you and your family continue to be happy in Perth, or anywhere in Australia, for many years to come.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

      Cheers, Bob

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