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


The long weekend is almost here and there's something for everyone, from a country camping and music festival to opera, the NRL Grand Final and welcoming home our hero paralympic swimmer, Grant 'Scooter' Patterson.  

Cairns also kicks off Oktoberfest, while the little ones might like to catch the rubber duck race at the Lagoon.

It's going to be steamy – up to 36° in Mareeba and 33° on the coast.



Friday 1 October

Savannah in the Round kicks off three days of music, camping and culture at Mareeba Rodeo Grounds. A COVID-19 pivot has led to a bold new line-up, including John Williamson, John Butler, Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Sheppard and Sneaky Sound System. Tickets are still available.

On Friday afternoon head off to Tobruk Memorial Pool, where Tokyo Paralympics dual medallist Grant 'Scooter' Patterson will be given the keys to the city. All the details are here.

The Ironing Maidens will be heating things up at Tanks Arts Centre. You're asked to bring both your tickets and your leg warmers for a high energy night of electronic music and dancing. It all begins with experimental instrumentalist and beat-maker Lara Biggs and sonic neo-futurists the Tegan Koster Project.

For something more chilled, join Wolf Lane Distillery's virtual gin cocktail masterclass. You don't even need to leave home! 

Saturday 2 October

The Rotary Corporate Ducks will be racing in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon from 2pm, with all money raised going to the Dr Edward Koch Foundation for mental health and suicide prevention activities.

A few hours later, the Court House will come alive through the sounds of Opera Queensland and Nikki Doll. No tickets are needed, just remember to bring a rug and a picnic.

Or, enjoy sopranos in the sand and under the stars at Nu Nu Restaurant, alongside some award-winning Italian cuisine.

If you prefer comedy with your music, shake off the hot flushes and head to CPAC for the world-renowned Menopause the Musical. Tickets here.

The Gordonvale Cottage Markets are also on at Norman Park.

Sunday 3 October

If you like schnapps, schnitzels and steins of beer, head down to Hemingway's Brewery for their annual Oktoberfest celebrations. Dance around the May pole, take part in the keg lifting competition and slap you knees to the beat of the oompah band. Bookings are recommended.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs are taking on the Penrith Panthers in the NRL grand final at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. Head down to your local drinking establishment to enjoy the game among other fans.

Markets at Palm Cove are also on, and it'll be the perfect weather to take a dip in the ocean afterwards.