Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Barron Gorge National Park     

What's special?

Rugged mountain scenery, steep ravines, tumbling waterfalls, rich wildlife and tropical rainforest make Barron Gorge one of Queensland’s most popular and picturesque parks. The park has the most accessible rainforest close to Cairns. Open woodland, grassland and heath also grow in the park.

Barron Gorge is the traditional home of the Djabaguy people who have many special connections to this place. The Douglas and Smiths tracks, traditional pathways for the Djabaguy for thousands of years, became the first pack routes linking the hinterland goldfields to the coast in 1876.

The 34km Kuranda Scenic Railway is considered a remarkable engineering feat. Built between 1882 and 1891, the railway has 15 hand-made tunnels and around 40 bridges. The park became part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area in 1988.

The once-powerful Barron Falls have been harnessed to supply hydro-electric power and only flow after heavy rain.

Exploring Barron Gorge

Experience tropical rainforest in a variety of unusual ways, from bushwalking to the cableway or scenic railway.

Take the Skyrail cableway for a bird’s-eye view of the forest. Stop and enjoy displays in the rainforest interpretation centre or go for a guided walk. Follow the traditional pathways of the Djabaguy people or the routes taken by the early pioneers.

Have a picnic on the shores of Lake Placid. Canoe around the lake or join a white-water rafting tour along the Barron River.

Enjoy the view over the gorge and falls from Wright’s Lookout or the elevated boardwalk through the forest at Barron Falls lookouts.

Go birdwatching or wildlife watching. Join a free tour of Australia’s first hydro-electric power station.

Camp at Speewah. Group and individual campsites, toilets, gas barbecues, cold showers and picnic platforms are provided. Take drinking water. The Djina-Wu track links the camping area to the historic Douglas and Smiths tracks.


See the park’s special features along the walking trails. Beware of cassowaries and stinging tree leaves. For your safety, do not walk along or below the railway line.


Near Kuranda at the Barron Falls Lookout, a wheelchair-accessible, elevated boardwalk lets visitors explore the rainforest. Two viewing platforms provide spectacular views over the falls and gorge. The Speewah camping area toilets and Skyrail facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Getting there

Barron Falls is near Kuranda, just 15 minutes or 18km north of Cairns, or 50 minutes south of Port Douglas. Access is by conventional vehicle to Kuranda, railway from Kuranda, Redlynch or Cairns or cableway from Kuranda or Redlynch. Kuranda is 27km north-west of Cairns or 31km east of Mareeba. From Kuranda, take the 3km Barron Falls Road south to Barron Falls Lookout and other walking tracks. Speewah camping area is 15km west of Kuranda on the Speewah Road off the Kennedy Highway. The access road is unsuitable for towing caravans.
Key facilities at this park

Visitor Information Sheet

National park offices

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Further Information
5B Sheridan Street
PO Box 2066 CAIRNS QLD 4870
ph (07) 4046 6600
fax (07) 4046 6751

Barron Falls Lookout track
1·1km, 20 minutes

Wrights Lookout to Kuranda track
4·7km one-way, 1–2 hours

Douglas track Speewah to Kamerunga
6·8km one-way, 4–6 hours

Smiths track Speewah to Kamerunga
8·6km one-way, 6–7 hours

Djina-Wu track
765m one-way, 30 minutes

McDonalds track Wrights Lookout to Red Bluff
4·8km one-way, 1·5–2 hours

Gundal Wundal track
1·5km one-way, 45 minutes

Sources & Further reading
Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading