A big draw back of living in Kuranda

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Kuranda is a lovely suburb. We’ve written articles about it before and if you’ve read them, you would know how big a fan we are of the sleepy village in the rainforest. However, living in Kuranda has a very massive drawback. It’s the getting to and from there.

Kennedy Highway (known as the Kuranda Range) is “the route” to get to and from Kuranda if you are in Cairns. One lane up and one lane down. Unfortunately, Kuranda Range is a dangerous, steep, winding beast and is a magnet for constant auto mobile accidents. Cars and trucks are constantly losing control and crashing on this route. Today, the driver of a garbage truck managed to roll the truck, in turn, blocking both lanes going to and from Kuranda. This not only closed access to Kuranda, it closed it for several hours.

This kind of things happens more often than it should. In fact, there are so many issues with this road that it has deterred many residents of Cairns from living in Kuranda. If it’s not the accidents (often caused by wet roads), it’s the never ending roadworks, which can add an additional 30 minutes to your trip. Considering it should only take 30 minutes or less to get to Cairns from the base of the mountain leading up to Kuranda, you’re nearly doubling your trip time.

We’re going to be honest with you folks. Until the safety issues with Kuranda Range are rectified, Kuranda is a write off for many people wanting to work in Cairns and live in Kuranda. It’s unfortunate, however it is the truth. It’s a lovely part of the world, some would say magical, however Kuranda has simply not been provisioned a reliable road for transportation. With regards to standards today, the Kuranda Range is simply not adequate enough for those that require a consistently reliable route to get to and from home.

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  1. As a visitor to Cairns and Kuranda, the condition of the Kennedy Hwy through the Kuranda Range is absolutely astonishing to me.
    Nowhere else in Australia would a road built in the 1930’s, still be in use, in virtually little-changed condition from its original construction.
    Not only is the Kennedy Hwy an important tourist conduit to Kuranda, it’s a major conduit to Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands.
    I was stunned to see the huge amount of big trucks using the Kennedy Hwy and the crazy speeds they were travelling at.
    We visited Kuranda yesterday (29th July 2014) and upon our attempt to return to Cairns at 3:00PM, we found the Hwy totally blocked by a crash between a motorbike and a car.
    We spent 1 1/2 hrs in a traffic jam that eventually extended back to Kuranda. We returned to Kuranda for a coffe, expecting the jam to be cleared within an hour or two – but at 5;00PM, the traffic jam was worse than ever.
    We had to return to Cairns via Mareeba, Atherton, Yungaburra and Gordonvale – a detour that took us 2 1/2 hrs, plus an additional quarter tank of fuel – and we didn’t arrive back at our hotel until 8;00PM.
    To top it all, we had to cope with angry aggressive 4WD’ers pushing us to go at 70 or 80 kms/h down the ranges to Gordonvale – where the Hwy is little better than the Kennedy Hwy.
    40-50kms/h is the absolute top speed that these mountain switchbacks are good for. Anything faster is madness.
    It’s little wonder crashes are occurring on a constant basis when people are trying to travel at 80kmh on these nightmare highways from the 1930’s.
    The Govt needs to bite the bullet and invest in a major road and tunnel project up the mountains to ensure that crashes and slow speeds and delays, are not such a major inhibitor to travel to, and living in, the Tablelands and further inland.

  2. I might add, this major crash and road blockage didn’t even make the local news- so it must be “ho-hum” regular news in the region.

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