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

May has arrived, and with it the best weather of the year for our beautiful part of the world.

This weekend has a bunch of great events in store, including jazz, soul and indie/folk live music, as well as markets, a craft beer festival and the Cairns Expo. 

Plus, we've got a round-up of the best Mother's Day events to treat the loved ones in your life! 


Friday 6 May

The Cairns Expo kicks off today at the Showgrounds, offering three days of all things caravans, campers, 4x4, boating, fishing and much more. Tickets are $15 for one day, or $18 for multi days.  

Maifest and Markets are on at the German Club in Cairns tonight, celebrating the arrival of the European spring with arts stalls, the Oompah band, dance and great food. 5pm start, free event.

Our favourite jazz man JC Stylles is opening a permanent venue for world-class jazz artists to perform in Cairns. You’ll find it at the back (behind the red curtains) of the Pist4cchi Restaurant on Shields Street. This Friday, JC leads a quartet with Tommy See Poy on piano, Josh Holt on acoustic bass, and Joe Vizzone on drums. $30pp, starts at 8pm.

The Tanks is hosting Bobby Maguire, The Sunshine Project and Ella Hartwig tonight, together spanning genres from indie rock to folk. Catch the line-up of three local acts from 6.30pm, tickets $20.

Soul singer Lisa Hunt is playing at the Benson Hotel this weekend, for not one but two nights! Catch her from 6pm either tonight or Saturday evening. Tickets from $39.

Saturday 7 May

One of our favourites, the Gordonvale Cottage Markets are on this morning from 7am to midday.  

Little J’s Vintage Markets are returning to Elixir Bar this weekend, bringing with it a bunch of groovy second-hand threads for your perusal. 9am to 1pm.

The annual Cairns Craft Beer Festival is returning to Hemingway’s Brewery this weekend, featuring five local breweries alongside live entertainment. Free event, midday to 10pm.  

With the end of the wet season comes events at Munro Martin Parklands again! This Saturday, the parklands are playing host to Australian icon, Missy Higgins. She’s supported by Adrian Thomas and Leanne Tennant. Show starts at 5pm, tickets $82.

Another Reggaeton Party is going down at Pacifico, this one to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Featuring a licenced outdoor dancefloor, a margarita bar and barbequed tacos, tickets are only $10 and include a shot on arrival. 7pm start.

Sunday 8 May

Today’s one of the best causes for celebration of the year – Mother’s Day!

The Holloways Beach Markets are also on for morning go-getters, featuring a huge range of stalls alongside one of the prettiest esplanades in Cairns. 8am to 1pm.

Later on there’s a bunch of events to treat your loved ones, including a three-course set menus at the Salt House and Rocco, a high tea at The Chambers, and Artisan Markets at Crystalbrook Bailey.

The Bailey is also offering an opportunity to paint and sip with Chalk & Cheese. $79pp includes all the tools, nibbles and a glass of wine to spark creativity. 3pm start.    

Unseen Cinema is screening Loveland – a blend of artificial intelligence, machine domination, paranoia and corporate rule, by Indigenous director Ivan Sen. 3pm start at BCC Cinema Earlville.