A visit to Cairns would not be complete without a trip ‘up the hill’ to Kuranda. Known as ‘the village in the rainforest’, Kuranda is just a 30 minute scenic drive from Cairns. There is lots to see and do – with one of the highlights being the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary where you can get up close with thousands of butterflies and moths living in their natural rainforest habitat.
The sanctuary, the largest of it’s kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is an all weather experience. It is open from 9.45am to 4:00pm every day of the year except Christmas Day and is located in the heart of the village.
All of the species you will meet are bred on site in the laboratory which you can visit as part of the free guided tour. Here you can see caterpillars and cocoons in all stages of their life cycle.
The sanctuary has something for all ages, from immersive educational exhibits to bright and sensory experiences. You can walk through the rainforest environment at leisure or you can take a guided and informative walk through the aviary with one of the lovely staff who can answer all your lepidopterology questions (like how to spell that word!)
My absolute favourite thing about visiting is how friendly the butterflies are. They will flutter curiously around your head and often land on visitors to say hello. The staff recommend wearing red or hot pink to attract the most attention!
You can also visit the UV room to see life through the eyes of a butterfly, learn about butterfly myths and legends, inspect them in fine detail under the microscope, see hundreds of breeds preserved in the museum (can you find the penguin and the pussy cat in the display?) and learn loads of butterfly trivia throughout your visit.
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is one of our favourite places to visit in Cairns. Luckily for us locals you can get unlimited entry for the year with the 4 park pass (which includes entry to the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, The Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome in Cairns City and Rainforestation also in Kuranda)
You can find more info on entry prices or 4 park passes for visitors on the website here.