Butterfly World Kuranda

by John on November 30, 2012

One of my passions in life is macro photography. Bugs, bees, dragonflies, and especially butterflies, are favorite subjects when the macro lens is attached to the camera. Imagine how excited a journey to a special place called Butterflyworld is to a macro photographer. It’s exciting for most people, for a photographer it’s heaven.

On a recent road trip to North Queensland to witness the total solar eclipse in November 2012, we took the time to make the journey to the charming village of Kuranda, and of course made the Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary our first port of call.

Electric blue wings make the Ulysses Butterfly one of the most beautiful sights in the nature.

One of the biggest thrills for anyone visiting Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary is to see the iridescent Ulysses Butterfly. When it’s wings are open, the electric blue flash brings squeals of joy to young and old alike. If you have ever been lucky enough to see the Ulysses in the wild, you will know what I am talking about. I have never seen anyone that doesn’t get very excited when one of these large butterflies fly past.

At Kuranda’s Butterflyworld, you can be close enough to touch these beauties.

Cairns Birdwing Butterfly on a feeding platform at Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary.

Yet it’s not just the Ulysses butterfly that will keep you entranced for hours. As you walk through the large display area, many species of Australian butterflies are right in front of you. Another of the more sought after butterflies is the Cairns birdwing butterfly.

It does seem that the locals get the most attention at times and this could be because of the stunning colors. The birdwing butterfly has beautiful green shades on the upper wings and when it flies, it really looks like a small bird on the wing.

People just love the feeling when butterflies land on your head or shoulders. They seem to like brighter colors such as pinks or bright blue. Have your camera ready as you wouldn’t want to miss taking that fabulous memory when butteflies land on your friend or child’s head.

Stand still for a few seconds and you could see many butterflies settle on your own body. Wearing bright clothing seems to attract some butterflies.

The common Lacewing is another beautiful butterfly that most people seem to enjoy. With their long proboscis and highly colorful wings, they are a favorite of all.

Cruiser butterflies are common yet strikingly beautiful. Click the image for a larger size and see the detail in the eyes and proboscis.

You can also visit the butterfly nursery and see how they are raised from eggs, then caterpillars through to mature butterflies ready for release. It’s a fascinating insight into the breeding techniques the Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary employ, so that there are always plenty of butterflies on display. They have recently perfected the breeding of the huge Hercules Moth, which can have a wing span of some 35 CM’s or in the old scale almost 15 inches across.

Macro image showing details of butterfly face. Click this image to see more finer detail in large size.

If you are travelling to North Queensland at any time, make sure you put a day trip to Kuranda on your itinerary. There is plenty to see and do in Kuranda, plus the trip from Cairns or Port Douglas is one of the most spectacular journeys, with breathtaking views of land and sea.

You can self drive to Kuranda, take the Skyrail from Caravonica Lakes or the popular scenic rail tour from Cairns. It’s only a short walk to the Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary from the Skyrail terminal or train station through the main street, or there is a free shuttle bus that runs every 10 to 15 minutes.

We highly recommend Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary to all, not just our photography friends. Children absolutely love seeing all the butterflies. It makes one want to believe in fairies again.

Kuranda Butterfly Sactuary is open daily. It's certainly a "don't miss" venue on the popular day tour from Cairns.

Ulysses butterflies are not as striking with their wings closed yet still are very attractive to the eye. Notice how that electric blue coloring is just showing along the body and wings. Click image to see a larger size and much more detail.

The Australian Painted Lady Butterfly gets it's name from the most beautiful colours and designs on their bodies and wings. Click image for larger size and greater detail.


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