Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Kuranda

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The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is located in the heart of Kuranda village, 30 minutes drive from Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

It is the largest butterfly enclosure in Australia and certainly worth visiting if in the area.

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

The aviary was first opened in 1987 and is set in the Kuranda rainforest. All 1,500 tropical butterflies in the sanctuary are rainforest species and the aviary has been specially designed and maintained to resemble a natural rainforest environment. This includes a running stream and waterfall and all the plant species that the butterflies need to survive and reproduce.

The female butterflies deposit their eggs on food plants, and the eggs are then collected by staff and taken back to the laboratory where caterpillars are raised. Once they change into butterflies they are ready to be released back into the aviary.

Guided tours are available and take about 30 minutes. The tour includes the rainforest aviary and breeding laboratory where you learn about the life-cycle of a butterfly and its behaviour. The breeding laboratories hold between 3,000-4,000 caterpillars and about 30,000 caterpillars are bred in the laboratory each year.

The aviary is also home to the beautiful blue Ulysses butterfly, for which Far North Queensland is known. You will also see the green and yellow Cairns Birdwing butterfly, which is the largest butterfly in Australia.

Visiting the Sanctuary

The sanctuary is located at 8 Veivers Drive in the heart of Kuranda village. If you are visiting Kuranda as part of your Skyrail or Scenic Rail experience, the sanctuary is easy to find and a short walk from other attractions and shops in Kuranda.

Open daily from 10am – 4pm except Christmas day, admission is $16 for adults, $8 for children or $40 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. Admission to the Butterfly Sanctuary includes a guided tour of the aviary and breeding laboratory.

Make sure you are prepared for your visit and wear bright colours. Butterflies are attracted to flowers because of the colour of the petals. Wearing red or white is recommended if you want a close encounter with some butterflies!

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