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

The wintery weather is set to ease for a beautiful weekend ahead – and just in time for a bunch of exciting outdoor events.

Cairns is gearing up to have one of its busiest weekends in a while with the Amateurs Cup across three days, as well as Flickerfest at the Botanic Gardens and the Dino Expo at the Showgrounds. 

There's also lots of live music to enjoy, theatre, markets, and the annual Bon Odori Festival on the Esplanade. 


Thursday 9 September

The celebration of the year is here. Cairns Amateurs begins today with the Ladies Fashion High Tea in the late morning, followed by the Presidents Cocktail Party on Thursday evening. Limited tickets remain to both events.

The Carnival Ball comes the following night, as well as two days of trackside action. Find everything you need to know here.

Friday 10 September

The four-day Dino Expo starts today, offering kids big and small the chance to get up close with life-sized dinosaurs, including the legendary Tyrannosaurus rex. Held at the Cairns Showgrounds, 9am to 7pm each day.

The annual Flickerfest kicks off this Friday in the beautiful Botanic Gardens! The first of two events focuses on the best of Australian short films. Indigenous filmmaker Jahvis Loveday, a Djiru man of Mission Beach, leads the lineup with his short, Bama. Book tickets here.

*Edit: Flickerfest's first event has been postponed to Friday 24 September. 

Laneway Cairns hosts MOFO Live tonight, featuring three live bands for your listening pleasure: Sit Ubu Sit, Forest and Jimmy Flipshyt with Diggis, as well as DJ Paul Rudd. 6:30pm start, tickets here.

More live music includes The Dreggs at the Tanks on Friday, as well as Whoodafunkit at Elixir Bar on Saturday night.

Saturday 11 September

Cairns Art Gallery is hosting a guided tour through the Centenary Lakes Nature Park this Saturday morning, where three local naturalists will share a wealth of knowledge on local flora and fauna. 9am to 10:30am, bookings essential.

A classic Shakespeare comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is playing at CPAC this Saturday. Described as fast, funny and family-friendly, the production’s received rave reviews across the country.

The annual Cairns Bon Odori Festival is on tonight, presented by the Japanese Society of Cairns. Make your way down to the Esplanade in front of the Night Markets for an afternoon of dance, performances, market stalls and food, fore a fireworks display! 2pm to 8pm.

Cinnamon Sun launch their latest single at Laneway tonight, Fly, with support acts Jessy Lynch and Tessa Devine in tow. Pre-sale tickets $12, or $20 at the door.

Sunday 5 September

Holloways Beach Markets are on this Sunday, one of the region’s largest collections of handcrafts and local goods.

Are your kids keen to jag a catch? Head to the Fishing for the Future Day in Port Douglas, where the local marine advisory committee will take young anglers through sustainable and responsible fishing. Free event, with games, prizes and a BBQ part of the day’s activities.