Rainforestation Nature Park is located five minutes from Kuranda Village and about half an hour drive from Cairns in north Queensland. The Park is set on 40 hectares surrounded by World Heritage rainforest. Rainforestation has three main attractions: a rainforest tour in an amphibious ex-army vehicle, an Aboriginal cultural experience and a Koala and Wildlife Park. All the attractions are wheelchair accessible.
Charles and Pip Woodward purchased the property in 1974 and opened the Park as a tourist attraction in 1976 featuring the amphibious Army Duck tours. The Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience was introduced to the Park in 1993. The Koala & Wildlife Park opened in 1996, and a 5 metre crocodile was flown in from Darwin. A new Koala Experience opened in 2003.
Rainforestation has eleven World War II Army Duck amphibious troop carriers. The correct spelling for these vehicles is DUKW (# see footnote). Each vehicle holds up to 30 passengers and have 6 wheel drive for land, and a propeller and rudder for water. The Duck takes you on a 45 minute rainforest tour of the property, with commentary from the Duck driver. On the tour you will see rainforest ferns, orchids, strangler figs, stinging trees, and various birds, and some animals and reptiles. The Army Duck takes to the water when it reaches the lake, and cruises up to the shore where you can see turtles, fish and eels swimming. You might also see snakes and lizards basking or moving around in the trees. The Army Duck Tour departs hourly between the hours of 10am and 3pm.
The Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience introduces visitors to aboriginal culture with a corroboree dance performance and a guided walk. The Pamagirri Corroboree is a half hour show of aboriginal dance in a rainforest amphitheatre. The dance depicts animals, food gathering, hunting, with music provided by didgeridoo and clapsticks. The half-hour guided tour gives you fascinating insight into various aspects of aboriginal culture. There is also a boomerang throwing area where you can have a demonstration and hands-on lesson. You will see the Pamagirri Guides throwing spears impressive distances using a Woomera, and hear didgeridoo demonstrations. The Pamagirri Show is performed three times a day at 10:30am, 12noon, 2pm. The Dreamtime Walk is on several times each day.
At the Koala and Wildlife Park you can wander around or join a guided group led by an animal keeper. The Park has covered boardwalks for easy viewing of the native Australian animals including dingoes, wombats, crocodiles, lizards, snakes and cassowary. Visitors can hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies. For additional cost, you can have your photograph taken cuddling a koala.
Rainforestation Nature Park is situated on the Kennedy Highway at the top of the Kuranda Range. The Park is open from 9am to 4pm daily except Christmas Day.
Note: # DUKW is not a cute acronym. It is a military manufacturer’s code that tells you the vehicle is an amphibious troop carrier: the D indicates the year of manufacture, 1942; the U indicates that it is amphibious; K means all-wheel drive; and W means dual rear axles. So there you go!