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

We have a huge weekend coming up with IRONMAN Cairns, expected to bring together over 10,000 competitors and spectators across the region.

There’s also the hotly anticipated Festival of Spirits, next to the Festival of the Knob and lots of live music.

It’s also the last weekend to see the Archie 100 at Cairns Art Gallery!


Friday 10 June

The Queensland Academy of Sport is today hosting the first of its talent scouting sessions in Cairns. Both able-bodied and para-athletes are being sought ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics. Find more information here

Want to get amongst all the IRONMAN action in a non-competitive way? The five-kilometre COUCH Charity Fun Run kicks off bright and early this morning, with all proceeds from the event supporting locals whose lives have been impacted by cancer. 7.15am, register here.

Tim Rogers’ Liquid Nights in Bohemia Nights is showing at the Tanks this Friday. brimming with live music, interviews and musings from those across the cultural spectrum, it promises to be a thinking person’s theatre and comedy all rolled into one. 7.30pm start, tickets $45.

More live music can be found at Elixir Bar with Cinnamon Sun in the house. The Cairns-based artist’s sound sits somewhere between Angus and Julia Stone and Fat Freddy’s Drop, offering a heartfelt songwriting style and eclectic live performance. 7pm start, $5 door entry.

The Dolphins & Marlins tonight take on Logan Thunder. 6.30pm start at the Cairns Basketball home in Manunda, seats start at $12.

Two days and nights of live music and camping are coming up as part of Black Mountain Picnic, 20 minutes south of Cooktown. It kicks off on Friday and features Blues Arcadia, 8 Ball Aitken and Lady Valiant, among other bands. BYO event, tickets $95.

Saturday 11 June

The famous Festival of the Knob is here, this time along Sims Esplanade in Yorkeys. The free family day offers market stalls, live music, dog shows and car displays, alongside food and drinks. 10am to 4pm.

Keen kids with today be tearing around the Cairns Esplanade for the IRONKIDS triathlon. There’s two comps – 7-10 years and 11-13 years – and all competitors will get a t-shirt, medal and go in the draw to win awesome prizes. 6.45am start.

The inaugural Festival of Spirits is here! Head to Hemingway’s on Cairns Wharf from midday to taste gins, rums and spirits from a bunch of local distillers. The dress code is Mardi Gras’ with a lively dash of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Free event.

Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball are performing together at the Tanks Arts Centre tonight. Punters can expect to enjoy an vibrant array of work spanning across their 20+ year careers, both solo and in their band Gomez. Tickets $49.50, 7.30pm start.

Sunday 12 June

The 11th annual IRONMAN is here. Anticipated to draw more than 3500 competitors across both the main event and 70.3, the action will stretch from Palm Cove to Port Douglas, before athletes cross the finish line on the Cairns Esplanade. Find a list of all the road closures here.

Sunday marks the last day to see Archie 100 at Cairns Art Gallery. The collection of 100 Archibald works spanning the past century of the Prize truly isn’t to be missed. Plus, it’s free to visit with no bookings required.

Belfast End Credits Film Club is this weekend screening Belfast – a British coming-of-age drama and Academy Award, plus Golden Globe winning film. 4.30pm start at BCC Cinemas Earlville.