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

The winter school holidays are almost here, and with that a great bunch of events and things to explore across Cairns and the Far North.

Malanda kicks off its annual show on Friday, while you can catch a bit of amusement park action right in Cairns with the return of the Reef Eye ferris wheel.

The weather in Cairns looks to be pretty clear with tops of 27 degrees.


Friday 24 June

The Reef Eye ferris wheel starts turning again today! It will operate every day, 10am to 10pm, until the wet season closure in January. Tickets are $10 for adults, but a 10% discount applied if you show local ID at the ticket box.

In classic country show style, there’s animals, craft and culinary treats galore at the three-day Malanda Show, along with a sideshow alley. It kicks off today in the showgrounds. Head here for tickets.

Saturday 25 June

This Saturday, HMAS Cairns officers will march with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying alongside the Australian Navy Band to mark the Freedom of Entry March. 8.30am start, more information here.

Catch a cool escape in the Tablelands this weekend at the Yungaburra Markets. You’ll find heaps of handmade and local goods, produce, arts and crafts, plants and homewares, 7.30am to midday.

Cairns Art Gallery opens its latest exhibition today, FACELESS. In the spirit of CIAF, it’s a collection of works from North Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and African and African Diaspora artists, each exploring themes of identity and representation. Free to visit.

JUTE Theatre Company is today hosting an Actors Studio Open Day, where you can join free acting classes and see a play-reading showcase by experienced students. It runs at Bulmba-ja throughout the day. More details here.

Goanna is bringing its national tour to Tanks Arts Centre tonight, which is already sold out! The show will be opened by Kirsty Burchill.

In more news for live music lovers, Whodafunkit is playing at Elixir Bar tonight. 7pm start, free show.

Sunday 26 June

The Tanks Markets are on today along Collins Ave, offering a huge range of original and second-hand goods, local food trucks and great vibes. 9am to 2pm.

Etty Bay Surf Lifesaving Club is today hosting celebrity lifeguard Maxi, straight out of Bondi! It’s set to be a great hands-on day of water safety skills and fun. 9am to 3.30pm.

Ever wanted to try your hand at sailing? The Cairns Yacht Club is today inviting anyone to come by and give it a go. Instructors, boats and safety equipment are all provided – just bring a spare set of clothes, a hat and some sunscreen. 10am to 3pm. Register here.

Update: due to strong winds forecast, the Cairns Yacht Club has postponed its open day event. A new date will be announced in due time! 

A Spanish Affair is in store at the Social Alley, with a Tour de Running of the Bulls event offering sangria, paella, wine and live music. Tickets are either $33 or $88, depending on the kind of Sunday sesh you’re up for!

Indie rock legends The Jezebels are playing at the Tanks tonight, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their massively successful Gold Album, Prisoner. Tickets are $59.80.