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

With sunny days and light winds forecast, we've got another perfect weekend in store.

Float away your Saturday at Laneway, or cheer on the outrigger crews in the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge.

Whether you're into mushrooms or markets – or perhaps life drawing or live music – there's something on for everyone.

The Tokyo Olympics also continue, which you can watch on the big screens down by the Esplanade Lagoon.



Friday 30 July

The Kite Gallery in Grafton Street is hosting Body Works, an exhibition of life drawings and paintings by the 'lifers' – a group of 14 local artists who meet weekly. Check out how each different artist interprets the same model. Complimentary drinks and nibbles, doors open at 6pm.

Head to Elixir Music Bar for their Papua Merdeka – Benefit for West Papua Concert. Featuring Lyle Bray, Brigid Holt Live Art and DJ Magic Carpet Ride, it kicks off at 6.30pm. $10 entry online & at the door (limited spots!), with all proceeds going to the Free West Papua campaign.

Can't stop watching the Olympics? You're not alone, so don't be! Head to the Cairns Esplanade's big screens and join the crowd cheering the Aussies on. 

Saturday 31 July

Start your morning with some excitement, sand and sea by catching the blessing of the fleet and the start of the Hekili 10th Annual Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge at Yorkeys Knob. It's an outrigger canoe race which sets sail just after 8am, with the fleet heading north to Port Douglas, where they'll cross the finish at Four Mile Beach around 11am. 

Then, head into Cairns to float. Yep FLOAT by Laneway is on again! Relax in the pool, soak up some sun and enjoy cocktails, tapas from Hungry Nomad and tunes from Ro, Markus Mark, Lewis and Alexandr. Towels are also provided.

If classical is more your thing, St Monica's Cathedral is hosting Bach to the Bush, featuring acclaimed cellist Anthony Albrecht. The cathedral acoustics are stunning. Tickets at the door and online.

Sunday 1 August

To kick off Multicultural Month, our friends at North Cairns Tigers Netball and Football Club are hosting the Eidelweiss Dancers for the Cairns Bavarian Fest. From 10am to 2pm, take the whole family along for some wholesome fun (not to mention the beer). The best bit? Entry is a gold coin donation.

Love your mushies? A mushroom cultivation workshop for beginners is on in Kuranda. You'll learn simple and effective methods to grow six different species of wood-loving mushrooms. Tickets here.

It's the first Sunday of the month (yes, already!), so the Palm Cove Markets are on, featuring arts, crafts, food and just a fun day.