Sports unites. It starts friendships. It stops a nation. Around the world, it defines the time of the year. In Australia, we know September is Grand Finals month; the first Tuesday in November is Melbourne Cup; and the lead up to Christmas is when cricket kicks off.
How do we do sport in the tropics? Well we certainly don’t let the heat hold us back. So maybe it’s time to take that New Year’s Eve resolution to the next level and commit yourself to one of the following events, whatever your discipline. Or if spectating is your sport of choice, we’ve got you covered:
Great Barrier Reef Masters Games
When: 25 – 28 May, 2017
With over 2,000 participants, 23 individual and team sports, and four days devoted to sports, the third biennial Great Barrier Reef Masters Games is set to take it up a notch this year.
From futsal to judo, the only requirement is you need to be 30 years, or older. That said, check the specific sport you plan to participate in as the minimum age may be less.
Now it wouldn’t be fair to host these games in an idyllic location such as Tropical North Queensland without a healthy social program, would it? Exclusive to registered participants, expect live bands and DJs, themed party nights and great food in the heart of Cairns. The sports are just an excuse for a good ol’ fashioned weekend of partying in the tropics!
Cairns Airport Adventure Festival
When: Between 4 – 12 June, 2017
Where: Cairns, Northern Beaches, Palm Cove, Green Island and Port Douglas depending on the event you are registered for.
This festival is a true fitness fanatic frenzy. A paradise of #fitspo photo opps, it’ll leave spectators motivated to get off the couch and sign up for next year’s event (or is that just me?!). Designed to appeal to a broad range of competitors – whatever your age, fitness level, or discipline – the healthy choice of events reflects this.
From the 5km Cairns Post Bright Night Run to the iconic (and some would say gruelling) IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races; the 1.5km or 3km reef swims in the sparkling waters off Green Island; or the IRONKIDS triathlon, there is bound to be a race for you. If mountain biking or ocean racing is more your thing, check out the RRR Mountain Bike Challenge and the Ocean Challenge. Visit here for an overview of all events and get those runners on already!
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys | Round 19
When: 4pm, 16 July, 2017
Where: Barlow Park, Cairns
This will be the fifth season the Rabbitohs bring a home game to Cairns. And with last year’s clash attracting nearly 15,000 supporters, plus high-profile players taking to the field – including the much-loved Jonathan Thurston – 2017’s is set to be a sell-out game as Cairns becomes the focus for league fans again this July. Grab your tickets here for this one.
AFL Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns | Round 18
When: 4.35pm kick off on 22 July, 2017
Where: Cazaly’s Stadium, Cairns
Meeting for the 4th time in Cairns, the clash between the Dogs, reigning Premiers of 2016, and the Suns promises to be a fierce one, with the Dogs fighting to remain undefeated in Cairns. More than 10,000 fans are expected to descend on Cazaly’s Stadium for the twilight game.
When: 1 – 2 September, 2017
Where: Cannon Park Racecourse, Cairns is the primary venue however there are a range of events being held over the two days across the city.
Calling all racing fiends, fashionistas, or FOMO sufferers! This spring racing celebration is lauded as one of the biggest on the region’s social calendar and with a broad selection of events to choose from – whether you’re after family-friendly or plenty of bubbles and the occasional flutter – the Cairns Amateurs will have you sorted.
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
When: 5 – 10 September, 2017
Where: Smithfield Regional Park, behind the James Cook University Campus. For detailed instructions on how to get there, check out this helpful link.
This September the world’s best cross-country and downhill mountain bike riders will descend on Cairns for THE event on the mountain biking calendar. Attracting thousands of spectators, 300 riders from 35 countries will compete in team and individual races along the purpose-built Smithfield Mountain Bike Park. The World Champs are not to be missed if you’re into tearing up the tracks and riding some sick trails.
Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival
When: 22 October, 2017
Where: Port Douglas
Starting on the iconic stretch of sand of Four Mile Beach with the sun rising over the horizon, the course of the full marathon race is considered one of the most beautiful, taking you from beach to bush, through rainforest and past sugar cane fields. Not your run-of-the-mill marathon; it’s a tough 42.2km, but worth it. There are a range of shorter runs to pick from too, including a junior run of 2.5km (for under 14s), 5km, 10km and half marathon, with all showcasing the stunning landscape of the region.
Rugby League World Cup Pool Games
When: 29 October, 2017 two back-to-back games will take place at Barlow Park starting at 2pm with Scotland and Tonga battling it out. Ireland and Italy will then take to the field. On 11 November, 2017, Samoa will play against Scotland.
Where: Barlow Park, Cairns
With origins dating as far back as 1935, when the French started campaigning for a competition, the games are now held every four years. With 14 teams, 28 games and five weeks of games, the 2017 competition will be hosted in 13 cities throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. This is the pinnacle event for international Rugby League. Cairns is set to host three of the games, with one being a double header on Saturday, 29 October.
Plan Your Trip
Once you’ve locked in your tickets to one (or more) of these events the fun really begins – plan a few lazy days of post-race recovery or perhaps longer, to take full advantage of the location. Accommodation options abound, whether you prefer to base yourself in Cairns, Palm Cove or the idyllic seaside town of Port Douglas.
Keen to discover our World Heritage sites? There are so many ways to explore these jewels. Adrenalin still pumping from all the running or cheering? These activities are sure to provide the release you need! Or if you prefer to acquaint yourself with the local eating and drinking haunts, you could make a week of exploring these waterfront bars. One thing’s for sure – the action won’t stop beyond the field or the running track!