Annabel Bowles

Tropic Now journalist

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How do we even begin to wrap up this year? 

It’s no surprise that five of Tropic’s top ten stories of 2020 were about COVID-19. 

Our exclusive report on the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Cairns, published on March 19, was read over 26,000 times.

Other breaking stories during the onset of the pandemic attracted similar numbers of readers.

At a time the community needed free-to-read, straightforward information, the Tropic team delivered – proving the value of independent, locally owned and produced news.

But no one really wants to read about COVID-19 now, do they?

So we’re revisiting some of our other big yarns of this year. The quirky, the fun, and the quintessential Cairns stories that resonated with our readers.



Of course, anything croc-related rates highly on that list.

There was the footage of a massive croc attacking a dog, the croc attack on man near Lizard Island, and for something slightly less terrifying, the video of a croc taking a dip at a popular reef dive spot.

We also shared some footage of sharks doing the pipi shuffle on a Torres Strait beach, as well as the discovery of a coral skyscraper taller than the Eiffel Tower. You’ll just have to watch both for an explanation.


Weather was again a big talking point for people in the Far North.

The end of January brought widespread flash flooding across Cairns, and our breaking report on BOM declaring a La Niña reached over 20,000 people.

While the full brunt of the wet season still looms, any mention of rain in our regular weather forecast goes off online.

Pandemic aside, this year brought its fair share of shocking stories too.

There was the gunman shot dead by police in the northern beaches, the drowning at the notorious Devil’s Pool, and the tragic discovery of a local toddler’s body in a childcare van

The boy’s death brought to light Goodstart Early Learning’s history of leaving children on buses and led to the closure of the Edmonton facility, as well as a major review of the company’s policies and procedures. 

Along with reporting breaking regional news, the Tropic team has been devoted to championing the best things to do, see, eat and drink in Cairns – from hiking to coffee haunts, events to weekend escapes.   

Although supporting local is at the core of our small company, we’d be lying if we said the news of Taco Bell opening in Cairns next year didn’t excite us.  

We also spoke to some familiar faces about new cafes and bars coming to Cairns this summer, signalling confidence in our tourism and hospitality scene despite the battering it’s taken this year. 

And despite putting this out three years ago, 40 must-try Cairns cheap eats for $15 or less racked up over 10,000 views this year alone – making it one of our most read articles of all time. (Don’t worry, keeping this list updated is a priority).

So, what can we expect in 2021? 

With our former senior journalist Renee Cluff soon joining the team as Editor – working alongside myself and our range of local contributors – it’s bound to be another big year for both Tropic Now and Tropic magazine. 

If you have a story tip, an idea or any feedback, we’d love to hear it. Let us know at infotropicgroup.comau.  

Here’s cheers to the end of 2020!