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

Father's Day comes early this weekend, with events like TARGA Great Barrier Reef, Jazz Under the Stars and the annual Carnival on Collins.

You can also cheer on runners in the Great Pyramid Race, check out beatboxer Tom Thum, or learn more about legendary Far North pilot, painter and explorer Percy Trezise.

And in case you were concerned – the rainy weather we're experiencing will clear for the weekend.


Thursday 2 September

Kick up your heels for a night of dancing and entertainment at The Inaugural Dance Affair, hosted by Tanks Arts Centre. No dance experience necessary but you will leave with a tool kit of old and modern dance moves. The fun and frivolity is on again on Friday. Tickets via Ticketlink.

Over at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, ROCKARIA- THE ELO EXPERIENCE will recreate the sounds of Jeff Lynne’s The Electric Light Orchestra, circa 1970s and 80s. All of the hits from ELO's string of top 10 albums and singles will feature. Tickets here.

Friday 3 September

Three days of TARGA rally action motors off at 9am. Check out the full routes and road closures here. There are plenty of spectator points, with the cars travelling through Cairns, Kuranda, Innisfail and several Tablelands towns.

A bit like T-20 cricket but for baseball, Edmonton's Walker Road Baseball Facility will host a Home Run Derby for adult players from 6pm. Participants are given one minute to hit as many baseballs as possible as far as possible. Spectator entry is free. 

The lights will go out for a vision impairment charity event at Laneway for Dialogue in the Dark® – an immersive, sensory exhibition set in total darkness. Supported by Wolf Lane Distillery, tickets here.

Take it back a notch for an afternoon of bliss, as Tanks Arts Centre hosts Qigong (pronounced chee gung) classes in the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre. It's the 'self care' branch of traditional Chinese medicine. Tickets here.

Saturday 4 September

The Great Pyramid Race is off and running after the original August event was postponed due to COVID. Entries have sold out for the full race up Walsh's Pyramid. The runners will set off from Norman Park in Gordonvale at 7am.

From 5.30pm, the swinging and soulful sounds of Jazz Under the Stars will envelop Flecker Botanical Gardens as part of the Cairns Festival. All tickets must be purchased online.

Cairns Museum will open a special exhibition focused on notable pilot, painter, explorer and writer Percy Trezise, who is also famed for documenting the Quinkan Aboriginal rock art. Percy Tresize, The Man Who Loved Cape York Peninsula opens at 10am in the Cairns School of Arts building.

Scrawl a message of hope and support to the streets of Stratford as part of Let's Chalk About Mental Health Cairns.

As for markets, you can head along to Makin Whoopee Maker's Market or the Gordonvale Cottage Markets.

Sunday 5 September

It's officially Father's Day and so much for Dad to do. Take him along to the Cairns Festival's final event, Carnival on Collins, or perhaps he'd prefer to talk tools with Philip at Limberlost Nursery.

Another awesome free event is at the Court House, where beatbox artist Tom Thum will perform in collaboration with Far North act Water Streets.

You can also check out some of the amazing Father's Day deals in Tropic Now's special guide here.