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

Our heavenly tropical winter is here, and with it a great bunch of events that are begging you to get outside!

On Saturday, you can see Xavier Rudd in the beautiful Munro Martin Parklands, or head up the Range to watch a rock cabaret by Box Jelly Theatre at a riverside retreat.

There’s also one of Australia’s best artists in town for a special event at Cairns Art Gallery, plus a bunch of markets.

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Friday 3 June

Tonight, UMI Arts opens its latest exhibition, Culture Through Our Eyes, showcasing the tremendous talent and creativity of young Indigenous artists. Free event, RSVPs welcome. 5.30pm start.

Art lovers can also join a special evening with Archibald Prize winning artist Wendy Sharpe as part of a fundraising event by Cairns Art Gallery to build its permanent collection. After a private viewing of the Archie 100, hear Wendy talk about the business of art prizes and bid on an original sketching, all over dinner and drinks at Perotta’s. Tickets $150.

Another edition of Friday Knock Offs returns to Brother Jenkins, this time featuring Broden Tyrrell, Undercover Brothers, and Oh Sh*t Shanai. 4 to 9.30pm, free entry!

Saturday 4 June

Kick your Saturday off with some local shopping at either the Gordonvale Cottage Markets or Koah Markets. Both come around just once a month, and end at midday.

Xavier Rudd is in town as part of a national tour on the back of his 10th studio album, Jan Juc Moo. Watch the singer and multi-instrumentalist dip into powerful stories of humanity and environmentalism at the Munro Martin Parklands. 7pm start, tickets $79.90.

After a sold-out season in Brisbane, Box Jelly Theatre is bringing its heart-warming rock cabaret All Fired Up to a Tablelands riverside retreat. The live show promises plenty of 80s hits, dancing on and off the stage, and a touch of time travel, along with food trucks and acoustic music to entertain beforehand. Bus transfers and on-site camping are also available. 5pm start, tickets $44.  

One of the city’s largest charity events takes place tonight, the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation Charity Ball. This year marks the 25th annual ball. Tickets have just closed – to all those going, enjoy the night at the Pullman!

Sunday 5 June

The first Sunday of the month means the Palm Cove Markets are here! One of the largest in the region, the markets boast around 140 stalls along the stunning Williams Esplanade. 8am to 2pm.

Preluding the Cairns Italian Festival later this winter, Salt House is tonight hosting a belated Festa della Republica event. Guests will go in the draw to win door prizes and enjoy a welcome spritz, prosecco or beer on arrival. Tickets $20. RVSP to secure your spot.