Things to do
Camping is not permitted in Barron Gorge National Park. A camping area is provided in Speewah Conservation Park adjacent to the park's western boundary.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Kuranda, Mareeba and Cairns. For more information see the tourism information links.
Short walks, upper section
The short walks provided in the lower and upper sections of the park are described below.
Din Din Barron Falls lookout (Grade: easy)
Distance: 1.2km return
Time: Allow about 40min walking time
Details: An elevated, wheelchair-accessible (with assistance) boardwalk suspended high above the forest floor winds through lush, rainforest canopy to the Barron Falls lookouts and Barron Falls railway platform. Enjoy views over the gorge and spectacular Barron Falls. Watch the gondolas on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glide above the far-side of the gorge and, twice each day, watch the Kuranda Scenic Railway tourist train pull into the platform below. Toilets are located in the car park.
Wrights lookout (Grade: easy)
Distance: 3km return
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time
Details: From the Barron Falls car park, walk along Wrights lookout road to Wrights lookout, which offers wide-ranging vistas over Barron Gorge, towards the city of Cairns and the coast. Return along the same track.
McDonald track to Surprise Creek (Grade: moderate)
Distance: 2.8km return
Time: Allow about 1.5hr walking time
Details: From Wrights lookout, this walk follows the first section of the McDonald track, part of the long-distance walking track network. The walk follows a service road with moderate grades and a rough slippery surface. Rainforest gives way to open woodland before the track descends steeply to Surprise Creek. Upstream from the bridge there are deep, clear pools and tumbling rapids. The walk returns along the same track.
Short walks, lower section
Stoney Creek Garndal Garndal track (Grade: easy)
Distance: 2km return
Time: Allow about 30min walking time
Details: From the car park at the end of Stoney Creek Road (the Stoney Creek trailhead), this rough track climbs up through Stoney Creek gorge, beside Stoney Creek, to the causeway at the old weir. The track is unformed with a rough, uneven surface of rocks and twisted tree roots. The walk passes clear limpid pools and small waterfalls before ending on a large boulder overlooking the creek, just downstream of the weir. Take care near the weir access. Return along the same track.
Long distance walks
For more adventurous and well-prepared walkers, a network of walking tracks provides long distance walks between the three main trailheads (Kamerunga, Kuranda and Speewah) within the park.
Picnic and day-use areas
Picnic tables are provided at Lake Placid in the lower section and at Wrights lookout in the upper section of the park.
Commercial operators provide rafting experiences on the Barron River. Rafting is a low-impact, environmentally-friendly activity that allows visitors to experience the less accessible areas of the lower gorge.
Commercial operators provide scenic boat tours on the Barron River in the upper section of the park. Private canoeing and kayaking is also an enjoyable way to experience the Barron River within the park.
For more information, see the tourism information links. Fishing is not permitted in Barron Gorge National Park.
The park is a natural corridor for wildlife, linking the northern and southern sections of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The diverse landscape and vegetation types support a rich variety of animals, including possums, tree-kangaroos, flying-foxes and spotted-tailed quolls. There is an abundance of brightly-coloured birds and butterflies that contrast with the lush, green rainforest, including the brilliant-blue Ulysses butterfly. Lucky visitors may even see the endangered southern cassowary, a large, flightless bird standing up to 2m tall. Reptiles, fish, and frogs are also plentiful.
- See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Barron Gorge National Park’s diverse wildlife.
Other things to do
Barron Gorge Hydro-Power Station
Barron Gorge Hydro-Power Station was Australia's first underground power station, built in 1935 to harness the immense power of water flowing over Barron Falls. Construction of Tinaroo Dam, a weir at Kuranda and a larger, more recent hydro-electric power station, have significantly reduced the water volume over the falls.
To reach the station, walk or drive 3km along the scenic Barron Gorge Road from Lake Placid to the picnic area and cross the bridge. For more information about the Barron Gorge Hydro-Power Station visit the CleanCo Queensland website.
Lake Placid (Nani)
Stroll along the bank beside the lake—actually part of the Barron River—for scenic views of the steep, forested slopes of the lower Barron Gorge and the white-water rapids of the Barron River. Enjoy a picnic in the shade. Be crocwise—estuarine crocodiles are found in the lower Barron River, including Lake Placid.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
The 34km Kuranda Scenic Railway runs through the park and is considered a remarkable engineering feat. Built between 1882 and 1891, the railway has 15 hand-made tunnels and around 40 bridges. For more information see the tourism information links.
Skyrail rainforest cableway
This tourist cableway transports visitors over the park’s rainforest canopy, travelling 7.5km from the lower section of the park at Caravonica to the upper section of the park at Kuranda on the Atherton Tableland. For more information see the tourism information links.