When compared to bustling, coastal Cairns, the village of Kuranda is truly a magical getaway into the forest. At the small but popular Kuranda Koala Gardens, you can infuse your day trip from Cairns to Kuranda with a wildlife adventure, where you can walk through the snake house, observe wombats and ‘roos, and perhaps catch a glimpse of toothy, freshwater crocodiles as they cruise the Kuranda waters. Although Viator tours do not include this activity, visitors can also spend a few seconds holding a koala for an additional fee of $20.
Insider Tip: Crowds tend to be lighter in the morning and the animals are usually more active.
The Kuranda Koala Gardens is located by the Kuranda Heritage Markets, about a ten-minute walk from Kuranda village, or a 40-minute drive northwest from Cairns. You can also reach the gardens by Skyrail or the Kuranda Railway. A free shuttle bus operates between the Skyrail station and gardens, and buses depart every 15 minutes between 10:30am and 3pm. The gardens are open every day from 9am to 4pm, and admission costs $18 for adults and $9 for children.
Koala encounters are supervised by park staff, and comply with the Australian Government’s Code of Practice. You are welcome to bring your own camera for photos, but you only have a couple of seconds to snap a pic with a koala.