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

We're in for sunny days and clear skies this weekend, along with a bunch of great events and things to do in the tropical north!

From film festivals to exhibition openings, all-day electro parties to craft brew get-togethers, there's something for all Cairns people, young and old.


Thursday 18 November

Macalisters is throwing the ‘world’s easiest competition’ tonight, FNQ Music Bingo, with beer prizes up for the taking. Free event, 7.30pm start.

More games can be found at Salt House, as it hosts another one of its popular Trivia Nights – this time raising money for Ruth’s Women’s Shelter. $10 fee to play, 6pm start. Bookings essential.

Friday 19 November

This weekend’s your last opportunity to experience TERMINUS at Cairns Art Gallery. The ground-breaking virtual reality exhibition will put you in the centre of a mysterious universe, where you’ll come face to face with humanoid clones and navigate through alien architecture. TERMINUS includes five VR experiences, which are each approximately 5:30 minutes in duration. Free entry.

The new Botanica in Edge Hill is hosting a Full Moon Live Jazz dinner this Friday, with nationally renowned jazz artist Chris Lloyds. $59pp or $79pp to include matching wines. 6 to 9pm.

NorthSite Contemporary Arts is tonight launching its latest exhibition, The ‘m e r i’ project –a collection of photographs and stories sparked from years of conversations between artist Wendy Mocke and young Papua New Guinean women. The event includes a talk by Wendy herself and by live music by Papua New Guinean jazz musician Klara KuOlga. 6pm start, free event but bookings encouraged.

Saturday 20 November

Cairns’ annual Thai Loy Kra Tong Festival is here, an all-day affair on the Esplanade’s Western Lawns Park. From 9am, there’ll be Thai food stalls, music at midday, and the main ceremony in the early evening before the floating lantern display at 8pm.

Coinciding with The ‘m e r i’ project, NorthSite is running a Weaving Workshop with artist Rosie Omundsen. 10am to 1pm, tickets $45pp.  

It’s time to pull out the lycra – Motel Nomad is reviving with Cocoloco Electro, and all-day electro party, where 80s, neon and spandex are the name of the game. Boasting almost 20 DJs, visual art displays and performances, the activities kick off at 12pm. Tickets from $46.

The eighth annual Understory Film Festival has arrived, a night dedicated to recognising the extraordinary expertise, energy and commitment of emerging and professional filmmakers of the Far North. Bring a picnic chair or rug to Munro Martin Parklands this Saturday to watch the festival screening and resulting awards. 6pm start, tickets $18. 

Machans Beach State School is hosting a Free Movie Night this weekend, Up, a family favourite story about an old widower goes off on an adventure in his flying house. There’s also activities from 4pm, followed by live music, before the movie starts at 7pm. Drinks are available to buy or BYO for $10 corkage.

Sunday 21 November 

The Crafty Brewer’s Stew is launching the FNQ Brew Club this weekend, located at Coral Sea’s tap house down Bank Lane. Beginners and like-minded all grain and extract home brewers can get together, kettle a brew, and learn about ‘brulosophy’ while enjoying a beer with Coral Sea’s head brewer, Morgan. 1 to 4pm.