With a new format and exciting events, Port Douglas is set to shine this weekend for the 2016 Carnivale.
An estimated 3 in every 4 hotel rooms in Port Douglas are booked out this weekend as the town gears up for one of its biggest Carnivale celebrations in years.
Figures from online booking site Wotif show 75% of the town's 95 listed accommodation spots are already taken. The site is even displaying advice to "try searching for one week later" given the extremely high occupancy rate between today and Sunday, 22 May.
The almost sold-out weekend continues a bumper run of tourism visitation for the Douglas region, with strong domestic and international growth over the past two years.
Tara Bennett from Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree said the region was "buzzing" about the Carnivale weekend, with an estimated crowd of 10,000 expected across the weekend.
Ms Bennett, who spoke to Tropic Now on her way back from a huge week selling the region at the ATE16 conference on the Gold Coast, urged Far Northern residents keen for a weekend stay to book "immediately".
"This year Carnivale is very different from years gone by and there's a real buzz about it so I think that's contributing to the very high occupancy," Ms Bennett said.
"Everyone I've spoken to on the phone during the week say it's going to be a huge weekend with fantastic bookings. People are buzzing about the quality of shows and events on offer and everyone is amped for the street parade.
"If people in Cairns want to get a chance to see something new they need to book immediately."
Key highlights of the new-look Carnivale this year include the Wonderland Spiegeltent, which has wowed crowds since it opened last week, today's Paradise on a Plate Longest Lunch, the famous street parade this evening, Saturday's Family Beach Day at Four Mile Beach and the ‘Port on a Fork’ showcase event on Saturday night.
The three-day event wraps up on Sunday with the Fishermen’s Village Seafood Music Festival at from 11am.
According to event organiser Melissa Head from Knockout Events: "We have a range of ticketed and free events for all ages. Come party in paradise."