When it starts to heat up in Tropical North Queensland you know that time of year is just around the corner. The decorations have been dusted off, the kids are counting down to the big day, the drinks are flowing and the parties seem never ending.
With the daily goodies in the advent calendar quickly diminishing, it’s time to get your Christmas cheer on and start seriously planning for New Year’s Eve.
From Cairns to Palm Cove and beyond to Port Douglas, here is a rundown of what’s on.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN CAIRNS
On 30 November Christmas’ arrival was made official with the lighting of the tree on the Esplanade. This always marks the start of the pre-Christmas buzz over the coming weeks and this year is no exception.
Oceana Walk will extend its shopping hours on Thursdays to 7.30pm up until 15 December. Santa will be available for plenty of Christmas wish-list demands from the kids from 5.30 – 8pm.
CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT
Heralded as one of the biggest annual community events in Cairns, attracting thousands of residents and visitors, this carols session takes place at Fogarty Park on Sunday, 11 December at 6.30pm. Bring your rug or chair and sing along to the favourites. Proceeds from merchandise sales will go towards the distribution of food hampers to approximately 700 local families who might otherwise go without on Christmas Day.
Further north, past Port Douglas, the Mossman Christmas Carols will be held at the Mossman Showground on Saturday, 10 December. These festivities kick off at 3pm with Santa photo ops, entertainment, face painting, a jumping castle and a lolly drop at 4pm. The carols, hosted by local radio talent Mark and Juanita from SeaFM, will kick off at 6.30pm.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS RIDE
If you aren’t much of a caroller, the Christmas Lights Ride in Cairns may be the perfect little excursion for you. This slow-paced bike ride is suitable for all ages and will be held on Thursday, 15 December.
Arrive at 4.40pm to bling up your helmet and bike and attach your rider rego plate (which you’ll collect from the organisers), before heading off at 5pm to ride past the local light displays. You’ll start and finish at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon. Proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
PANTOMIME IN THE PARK
A tropical take on a Christmas Pantomime, this is great fun for the family. Staged in the outdoor amphitheatre of Munro Martin Parklands on Saturday, 17 December, A Cairns Christmas Carol is a collaboration of local creative professionals and features the angelic voices of the Cairns Young voices choir.
You’ll need to sort out your own chairs, picnic blankets, food and drink.
CHRISTMAS DAY – WHAT’S ON
Not everyone shuts shop at Christmas. If overdoing it on too much food is a day wasted in your mind there are a few boats that’ll still be venturing out to the Great Barrier Reef, such as Calypso or Quicksilver from Port Douglas. Or if you’re cruising from Cairns then Deep Sea Divers Den and Great Adventures are two options to get you off to sea!
WHERE TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR
In Port Douglas, there will be two lots of firework displays taking place in Anzac Park. One for the families at 8.30pm and the other at midnight. If you’re looking to wear the kids out before leaving them with the babysitter for your own fun, head to the family fun precinct that afternoon from 4 – 7pm at Rex Smeal Park.
Most of the restaurants and bars in both Port Douglas and Palm Cove will be holding their own events or offering set menus. Barbados and Hemingway’s Brewery are just a couple. Seabean, Sassi and Salsa Bar and Grill are also worth checking out. Vivo and Nu Nu are two very popular restaurants in Palm Cove that will book up quickly for New Year.
In addition to fireworks at 9pm and midnight, Cairns’ Fogarty Park will host a massive free evening packed with live entertainment from the critically-acclaimed Melbourne band Saskwatch as the star of the show, plus a host of notable support acts. Carnival rides, face painting and roving performers will also be on to entertain the kids.
A free bus service will be operating from 12.30am to 2.30am. Routes will include services to Gordonvale, Palm Cove and Smithfield. For more information on what’s on at this Fogarty Park event, click here.
Phew! With all these activities going on, the holidays are bound to be full of cheer and excitement! No matter what you get up to, we wish you a safe and merry festive season 🎄🎅🏽