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  • Your guide to the 2019 Cairns Adventure Festival and Ironman

    The annual Ironman buzz has begun and Cairns is once again inundated by the fittest of the fit who are in final preparations to take on the gruelling endurance races.

    With 80 qualifying slots up for grabs at the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, the IRONMAN Cairns event is a big deal for athletes.

    The so-called Race in Paradise has earned a near-perfect satisfaction score from competitors to make it the global favourite.

    This year's weather forecast - for a tiny bit of rain - will be much kinder than last year's squally conditions, for athletes and spectators alike.

    As a spectator, it's an exciting time to be in Cairns. To make sure your day goes smoothly, we present TropicNow’s guide to road closures, the best vantage spots and other logistical info.


    The main event for Cairns Ironman happens all day Sunday, June 9.


    The swim legs start in Palm Cove from 6.35am. 


    The bike legs follow from Palm Cove to Port Douglas and back to Cairns. For the first time this year, it won't go right into Port Douglas' Macrossan Street. Instead, there will be two circuits of the highway for the full race.


    This has also changed slight and will now follow a Cairns Esplanade circuit south towards Hemingway's Brewery and north onto Lake St towards the airport and back again for four laps.


    Gather at the Esplanade near the Lagoon to see the competitors cross the finish line. The lead competitors will complete the race in around 8 hours, so you might want to be in the area from 2pm onwards.


    A number of traffic conditions will be changed on Sunday, 9th June to accommodate athletes involved in the Ironman competitions.

    Northern Beaches:

    • The Captain Cook Highway will be closed between north of Veivers Road, Palm Cove and Port Douglas 5.30am-5.30pm.
    • Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove will be closed 4am-2pm.
    • Cedar Rd and Warren Streets, Palm Cove will be closed 4am-noon.
    • Cheviot St, Smithfield, (between Sidlaw St and Leisure Park Rd) closed 4am-7.30pm.


    • The Cairns Esplanade (Spence St to Upward St) will be closed from 5am on Sunday until 2am Monday. 

    Port Douglas:

    • Captain Cook Highway between Old Port Rd and Veivers Rd, Palm Cove closed 5.30am - 5.30pm.
    • Old Port Road (Capt Cook Highway to Port Douglas Rd) closed 6am - 5pm with detours in place.
    • Port Douglas Rd (Agincourt St to Barrier St) closed 6am - 5pm with detours in place.


    Access to the Cairns Airport, Cairns Beaches, Smithfield, and the Northern Beaches will remain at all times however please allow extra travel time for your journey as delays are expected due to lane closures. Use the Western Arterial Road via Kamerunga if possible.


    The Southern Esplanade (Cairns Lagoon) carpark and Goldfinch carpark at Palm Cove will be closed, along with the Smithfield Waste Transfer Station.

    For further information phone the IRONMAN Event Hotline on 1300 761 384.


    The event's Community Relations Manager, Tammy Barker has given Tropic Now readers some hot tips on where to watch. Here's how to make it a full day of spectator fun:

    • Take advantage of the free parking in the CBD and catch a shuttle bus to Palm Cove to watch the swim start and exit. There's very limited parking in Palm Cove.
    • Stroll up to the Captain Cook Highway between Veivers and Cedar Road at Palm Cove and watch the cyclists on their return journey from Port Douglas, before they turn around and head north again!
    • Catch a return shuttle back to the Cairns CBD and lay your picnic blanket out anywhere along the Esplanade. Because it's a four-lap run course, there'll be more action than ever.

    Tropic Now tip:

    Settle yourself in at Hemingways Brewery or Riley Resort's Greenfields or Paper Crane where you can sit back, enjoy food and a bevvy and watch the running action close-up and in style.

    For Port Douglas spectators:

    The cycle course no longer goes right into Macrossan Street because organisers are trying to minimise congestion in the village centre. Instead, head to the turnaround point on Port Douglas Road.


    COUCH is once again the charity partner for the event and has a fantastic marquee on the finish line, where you can be amongst all the action while enjoying food and beverages!

    There are a few options for Sunday:

    The full day (9.30am - 8pm) is $120. 

    Half day (either 9.30am-2.30pm or 2.30pm - 8pm) is $80.

    All proceeds go directly to helping locals affected by cancer.

    More info and bookings here.