Barron Gorge National Park is located in the Far North of Queensland just west of Cairns. The tropical climate here makes for a warm holiday with plenty of fun in the great outdoors. Barron Gorge National Park is intertwined with the Kuranda State Forest, home to the amazing diversity and beauty within the Kuranda Rainforest. Kuranda’s scenic sky way travels through Barron Gorge National Park and affords you views of the park that cannot be seen any other way. Then there is the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef just off the coast as well as plenty to see and do in the city of Cairns. A holiday here is filled with adventure, nature, and plenty of things to do.
View of the Mountain from Kuranda Scenic Railway Photo Credit: Wikipedia
View of the Barron River from Kuranda Scenic Railway Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Barron Gorge Photo Credit: Wikipedia
View of the Barron Gorge Falls from Kuranda Scenic Railway Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Barron Gorge Falls Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Barron Falls are definitely the highlight of a visit to Barron Gorge National Park. Witness the power and the beauty of nature and how Mother Nature has carved her way through this land. The landscape includes waterfalls, rivers, mountains, and rainforest. It is a very diverse and interesting place to visit.
Hiring a Car in Cairns to See the Barron Gorge and Surrounds
Barron Gorge National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Cairns Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
The city of Cairns is very close to Barron Gorge National Park, so you would most likely be renting a car here to get around and see the sights. The city is also is a pit stop for those visiting the far north of Queensland and excursions to see the northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef. There are two car rental locations in Cairns. If you come in to the Cairns Airport, you can hire a car there. Alternatively, there is also a car hire service location in Cairns City. Click on any of those links and you will see our rate quote calculator to get the best car hire rates in Queensland. Be sure to let our expert car rental agents know your travel itinerary so that they can recommend the best vehicle to suit your needs and also provide tips and maps to help direct you to where you want to go.
While travelling around this region, we have written about several other places nearby and things to do:
Things to Do in Barron Gorge National Park
Barron Gorge National Park is one of these places where you can have an adventure or choose just to sit back and relax on your holiday. Either way, the nature here is astonishingly beautiful and is definitely a bucket list destination. While in the park, you can explore the walking tracks, lookouts, and visiting nearby Kuranda State Park is a must, not only because you can see exclusive views of the gorge from the Kuranda Skyway, but also because there are some amazing and magical sights within the Kuranda Rainforest too. Camping is not permitted within Barron Gorge National Park, but you can camp in Speewah Regional Park, which is next to the park’s western boundary. There are also plenty of accommodations in Kuranda, Mareeba, and Cairns. There are picnic areas near Lake placid in the lower section of the park and at Wrights Lookout in the upper section of the park. Boating is also a great activity within the park. Commercial operators offer rafting, canoeing, and kayaking on the Barron River.
Sections of Barron Gorge National Park
Misty Rainforest Views Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Barron Gorge National Park is labeled or separated into two sections the upper tableland section and the lower coastal section. Each section has different access points and different sights to see.
Upper Section of Barron Gorge National Park
Upper Section of Barron Gorge National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Stoney Creek Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
The upper section can be accessed from Kuranda along Barron Falls Road and includes Barron Falls lookout, which is also a stop on the scenic railway line, Wrights lookout, and the start of the Surprise Creek walk.
Lower Section of Barron Gorge National Park
Lower Section of Barron Gorge National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Surprise Creek Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
The lower section of the park can be reached from Cairns on Captain Cook Highway and Cairns Western Arterial (Kamerunga Road). It includes Lake Placid, the Barron Gorge Hydro-Power Station, Stoney Creek, the Smith track, Garndal Garndal Stoney Creek walk, and the Douglas track.
Walking Tracks in Barron Gorge National Park
Barron Gorge Falls Map Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
View of Barron Falls from Din Din Barron Falls Lookout Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
Hikers in Barron Gorge National Park Photo Credit: Kuranda.org
Din Din Barron Falls Lookout:
This walk features an elevated, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. The views from this walk are magnificent as you are suspended high above the forest floor affords amazing views of the lush rainforest canopy and includes lookouts to Barron Falls. You can see the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway cars and the Kuranda Scenic Railway across the gorge. There are toileting facilities available at the car park. Here are details on the walk:
- Graded Easy Level Walk
- 2 km return
- Allow about 40 minutes walking time
This walk takes you past a wide-range of views over Barron Gorge and to Cairns and the coast. It is rated as an easy walk that takes about 1 hour and is a 3 km round trip.
Surprise Creek Walk:
This is a moderate level walk that continues on from Wrights lookout and follows the first section of the McDonalds track, which is part of the long-distance walking track network of the park. The Surprise Creek Walk follows a service road with some moderate grades and has a rough, slippery surface. You will pass through the open woodland section of the track before it steeply descends to Surprise Creek. Further upstream from the bridge, there are deep, clear pool and raging white water rapids. The distance is a 2.8 km return and hikers should allow about one ½ hours walking time.
Stoney Creek Garndal Garndal Track:
This walk is the only track in the lower section of the park. You start out at the car park at the end of Stoney Creek Road. Even though it is rated easy, it is a rough track that climbs through Stoney Creek gorge and alongside Stoney Creek. The track is unformed with a rough, uneven surface of rocks and twisted tree roots. You will pass some small waterfalls and clear limpid pools before the end of the track, which is marked by a large boulder that overlooks the creek. Allow about 30 minutes for this 2 km round trip.
Wildlife in Barron Gorge National Park
Red Parrot Photo Credit: Kuranda.org
Australian Tree Frog Photo Credit: Kuranda.org
Barron Gorge National Park is filled with such diversity in the plant life and landscapes, so as you might image, there is also extreme diversity in the animals found here. It links the northern and southern sections of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. While in the park you might find possums, treek-kangaroos, flying-foxes, or spotted-tailed quolls. Brightly coloured birds and butterflies might be seen as they are a contrast to the mostly green vegetation. This is part of the Wooroonooran Important Bird Area. Popular birds in the area include noisy pittas and the orange-footed scrubfowl. You might even be lucky enough to spot an endangered southern cassowary bird. The park is also filled with reptiles, fish, and frogs.
Kuranda Railway in Barron Gorge National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au
The Rainforest Boardwalk at Kuranda Photo Credit: Kuranda.org
Kuranda Aboriginal Tours Photo Credit: Kuranda.org
The Kuranda Rainforest is just north of Barron Gorge National Park and there is much to see and do in this magnificent and magical place. You can spend your entire holiday just exploring this “Village in the Rainforest”, or you can just take in the highlights. One thing is for sure, and that is you can leave Kuranda, but the experience will stay with you.
Kuranda Skyrail: Sail high above the World Heritage listed rainforest and enjoy views of the canopy and the mountains too.
Kuranda Scenic Railway: This train ride is a journey filled with views you cannot see any other way. Travel through the dense rainforest, steep ravines, and majestic waterfalls. The railway also travels right through Barron Gorge National Park.