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

The show weekend is here! Friday marks Cairns’ day off to head to the Showgrounds, while you can also head to Mossman for another funfair on Sunday.  

The Cairns Marathon is on too, next to the three-day Kuranda Roots Festival.

There’s also plenty of live music on in town, plus arts and crafts events.


Friday 15 July

While the five-day fair and art market may be over for another year, CIAF activity continues with a couple of key events. The Fashion Story exhibition exploring local First Nations’ design, wearable art and photography runs at the Court House Gallery until 30 July, while David Hudson’s illuminating life story will be told through theatre production From Campfire to Stage Light until Saturday at CPAC. The former is free, and the latter starts from $43.30.

Australia’s longest-running outdoor roots and reggae festival returns again this weekend, and surprisingly, there’s still a few tickets available! The Kuranda Roots Festival is set to be three days of magic at the base of the Emerald Creek Falls, with artists from around the region and the world on the line-up. There’s a range of ticket and camping options here.

Cairns Show, the largest regional show of its kind in Australia, is currently on. Before it finishes up on Friday there’s all kinds of sideshow alley action for the kids (and adults), classic carny fare and the best of the region’s agriculture. You can buy tickets online or at the gate.

Saturday 16 July

All things crochet, knitting and coffee are on the agenda this morning in Gordonvale, as the local QCWA hosts a come-and-try event at Caffin8. 10am start.

Another type of art class is up this weekend with a life drawing event at Kiss Teas on Shields St. The two-hour session will be guided by Jesse – The Empowered Muse. Tickets are $60. 6 to 8pm.

CPAC hosts the Great Northern Jazz Explosion tonight, compromising of some of Australia’s best jazz musicians – Cairns locals among them! It promises an eclectic mix of carefully crafted music, lots of improvisation and joyous musical energy. 7.30pm start.

Tropic Thunder is playing live at the Red Beret Hotel this Saturday, covering classic rock and pop from the 70s to today, as well as original tracks. 8pm start.

More live music can be found in town with the White Rabbits at Elixir Bar. The rock tunes kick off at 7.30pm.

Sunday 17 July

The annual Cairns Marathon is on today. It’s not too late to enter either, with distances starting from 2km right up to the full marathon monty. You can also head down to the Esplanade and cheer runners on as they cross the finish line.

The Mossman Show kicks off today and runs until Monday. This year marks the 70th annual event! You can expect all the classic country fares and wares alongside family entertainment.