Tropic Weekender: Our guide to the best events and things to do in Cairns

Cairns Festival is here, and with it loads of colourful events, performances and interactive displays, including its opening concert by the Esplanade on Friday.

There's also a big comedy get-together, a pottery open weekend, another Eats & Beats, and markets. 

Enjoy the sunny weather while it's here, as there's a high chance of showers over Saturday and Sunday.  


Friday 27 August

INTRODUCING signals the start of the Cairns Festival tonight, featuring a fresh set of emerging local musicians, before Amber Farnan and Jaguar Jonze take the stage. Free event, 6pm start.

CPAC is hosting The Hunt for the Funniest North Queenslander, with familiar faces from Guilt Free Comedy and a raft of new personalities in tow. 8pm start, tickets essential.

Nu Nu Restaurant’s Eats & Beats is back, oriental style! Think dumplings, duck with plum sauce, roast pork, cold noodles and fried rice. Grills will be sizzling from 5pm. Bookings essential.  

The Australian Armour & Artillery kicks off its three-day AusArmourfest today, with a parade of running World War II vehicles on Friday’s line-up. Saturday and Sunday’s events will see punters able to ride a vehicle themselves. Tickets essential.  

Saturday 28 August

Community leaders are aiming to plant 3000 trees in the Smithfield Bypass this Saturday morning, and all are invited to join the challenge. It's not all hard work though, with a free barbecue and personalised tree planting certificates for kids as part of the day's events. More details here.

Ever wanted to try your hand at wheel throwing? Cairns Potters Club is opening its facilities this weekend to give beginners a chance to play with some clay. Drop in from 10am to 4pm, Saturday or Sunday.  

Cairns Festival has put on a bunch of bright spectacles to check out this evening, including a Neon Reef light display, Arone Meeks’ artwork projected onto the library, and an interactive circus on the Esplanade.

The city’s main strip will also host the Grand Parade from 5:30pm, starting at Fogarty Park and travelling towards Minnie Street, while the Courthouse is home to free live music on the lawns from 4:30pm.  

Sunday 29 August

The new Cairns Children Museum officially opens today, upstairs and across from the cinema at Stocklands. There’s an interactive road safety exhibition, geared to kids aged 8 and under, as well as other transportation-themed exhibits.  

A stroll along the Palm Cove Markets sounds like an ideal Sunday in our books, especially with its focus on sustainable, local and quality handcrafts. 8am start.

Unseen Cinema’s featured film this week is a charming, funny and biting comedy from Brazil, Three Summers. A story of an irrepressible housekeeper, it’s described as “a film for everyone who loves to see the rise of the underdog.” 4:30pm start, tickets essential.