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

This weekend brings lots of live music, comedy, markets, and most importantly, World Tequila Day. 

The Tokyo Olympics also kicks off, which you can watch on the big screen down by the Esplanade Lagoon. 

It'll be all sunny skies across Cairns with no rain in sight any time soon. 


Friday 23 July

The Olympics are here! The Cairns Esplanade is the place to catch all the action, with a daily livestream across two big screens near the Lagoon. Drum Infinity Mugendai (Japanese drummers) will also perform from 7pm tomorrow night as a preview to the Opening Ceremony.

An exciting new boutique gin distiller, Distil on the Hill, is launching at Laneway tonight! For those who grabbed a ticket in time, the Tropic team will see you there. Read about the new Kuranda-based gin label here.

Guyala Café is hosting its second Wine & Cheese night, offering guests five speciality wines and a selection of gourmet cheeses, along with a glass of prosecco on arrival. 5:30pm start, tickets here.

Harry James Angus, the firebrand trumpet-playing vocalist from the hugely successful band The Cat Empire, is doing a solo show at the Tanks tonight. 7:30pm start, tickets here.

Saturday 24 July

Yungaburra Markets, the longest-running markets on the Atherton Tablelands, will kick-off bright and early Saturday morning.

The two-day Gem Festival kicks off today, featuring gold detecting, market stalls, fossicking, rocks, gems and all things shiny! 9am start at the Youth Centre Grounds off Mulgrave Rd.

Miss Chief is again hosting JC Stylles, recreating the vibe of the Cairns’ musician’s career playing in Harlem clubs across New York. 9pm start, tickets essential. 

This Saturday seems like a fitting day to host World Tequila Day! Guerrilla Cairns is putting on a special do. $10 nachos, empanadas and a margarita bar, with DJ tunes to boot. Bookings essential.

Neo-soul trio, Izy, are back in their hometown for a show at Tanks tonight. Limited tickets left to this standing gig!

Jacques Barrett is in Cairns for a set of Guilt Free Comedy shows. Catch him at Macalister’s Brewery tonight, or Strattie’s Deli on Friday. Elixir Bar also hosts the international headliner on Sunday night. Tickets here.

Sunday 25 July

Cairns’ best markets are here again – Tanks Markets! From 9am till 2pm, rove around the gardens to find some locally-made handcrafts and street food. 

Vivaldis is hosting another Latin Party, featuring all things samba dance and music, pisco sours, caipirinhas, and of course, tacos. 12pm start, tickets essential.

Unseen Cinema has Heroic Losers lined up this weekend, an Argentinian tale of working-class solidarity and collective revenge, based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri (The Secret In Their Eyes). 4:30pm start, BCC Cinema Earlville.

Ride for Isabel, one of the region’s biggest cycling races, was due to held today but has been postponed citing COVID-19 concerns.