In the far northern reaches of Queensland, Cairns is a tropical city that welcomes a steady stream of national and international visitors, many of them gay. The Great Barrier Reef is the main attraction, of course, but other draws include the Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, and a long list of other natural wonders. Among the many activities available are ballooning, white-water rafting, snorkeling, and visits to the rainforest town of Kuranda by cable car or a cute little train.
Cairns has a gaming casino at the Pullman Reef Hotel (35-41 Wharf St), with bars, restaurants, a sports arena and entertainment.
Each year after the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Cairns enjoys an influx of gay travelers heading north to this tropical heaven for more revelry or a bit of rest and relaxation.
You’ll probably change planes in Sydney or Melbourne to get to Cairns Airport, as it’s mostly a regional airport. Buses and taxis make the 10-minute trip to the downtown area.
For getting around Cairns, do as the locals do and rent a bicycle. Taxis are good for short trips around town. Sun Lovers Helicopters give scenic tours of the area, from the air, for between $300-400 per person.
Currency and money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
Media & Resources
DNA is a national glossy magazine with some very impressive photography.
Culture is the bi-monthly LGBT magazine, with online download pdf issues. BoyzOut is the website of a local social group for gay men of all ages, with BBQs, movie nights, and picnics among the events they sponsor.
QNews gay and lesbian magazine for Queensland, including the Northern Rivers NSW area, is published every two weeks.
For those who like to sun in the buff, Cairns Sunboys nude social group based in Cairns has regular meetings of men who like to be naked with other men. Fruitloops networking nights bring the community together to promote gay and lesbian owned/operated businesses.
A good general website for Cairns info, Destination Queensland, covers all of Queensland, including Brisbane. Gay Cairns Accommodations has listings of all the best places to stay, bookings, and other area information for gay visitors. Cairns Visitors Information Guide also has general listings and tips.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Cairns listings pages.
Boyz On The Beach (1 Coogee Close, near Kewarra Beach; 61-7-4055-6462), gay-owned-and-operated, men-only, three-room bed and breakfast, 20 minutes from Cairns city.
Skinny Dips Resort and Spa (18 James St), Cairns' resort catering exclusively to gay and lesbian travelers, CLOSED November 30, 2012.
Turtle Cove Beach Resort (100 Captain Cook Hwy; 61-2-9318-2361), north up the coast from Cairns, between Wangetti Beach and Oak Beach, is Australia's premier gay and lesbian resort-style hotel, for adults 18 and over. It has a private beach, bordered by lush tropical rain-forest national parklands, overlooking the spectacular Coral Sea. They also have a swimming pool, restaurant, and several types of room options. Parties with top DJs take place here from time to time.
Pink Flamingo Resort (115 Davidson St, Port Douglas; 61-7-4099-6622), adults-only resort, ten villas, two garden studios, private garden, pool, and bar.
Queens on Charles (296 Fearnley St; gaycairnsaccommodation.com), ornate "Queenslander" bungalow B&B, 20 minute walk from Cairns center.
Clubs and restaurants
There are over 180 restaurants and cafes in this small city, known for a good variety of local fresh fruits and vegetables, seafoods & meat, and a diverse choice of cuisines.
For more unusual dining options there are dinner cruises with gourmet tropical feasts, and live entertainment, from Ocean Spirit Cruises (Oceanspirit.com.au); or Cairns Night Zoo Aussi-style barbeques followed by clear night star gazing and nocturnal visits with kangaroos, possums and koala bears.
Cruise Club (30 Spence St), Laneway Adult Shop rear entrance, 7-day 10am-10pm cruise space for men, video lounge, leather couches, special stage events, maze, sling room, group sessions room.
Head Office (42 McLeod St), cruise club, men-only, 18 and over; wide ranges of sexual activities, playrooms, public or private sex space, sling room, cubicles, and refreshments. Lounge rooms feature movies, internet access, complimentary coffee and tea.
Heritage (Spence & Lake), gay-friendly restaurant, bar, pub & nightclub, Cairns 2nd oldest building, rainforest wood construction.
Vibe (39-49 Lake St), the former Saphires, mostly straight these days, bar/restaurant, lunch/dinner.
The Cairns Civic Theatre (Florence and Sheridan Streets) presents local theater productions, national and international shows and plays; comedy, dance, drama, and circus acts.
Cairns is great for souvenir shopping, aboriginal artifacts, opals, and tropical clothing. Cairns Central, the night markets, and the downtown area are good hunting grounds. See our map listings for locations and web links for each of the above.