Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Australian border measures are in place with very limited flights available. Entry is restricted to Australian citizens, residents and their immediate family members only, and Australians may not travel internationally at this time. All travellers, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility. See the Home Affairs website.
Australian states had begun to relax some restrictions in May, with restaurants,cafes and pubs reopening with restrictions. Travel within states was also allowed, but after a new outbreak in Victoria, strict lockdown measures were reimposed in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city and Victoria's capital. As of August 1, all travellers to Queensland from greater Sydney are required to hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Anyone, except those within a COVID-19 hotspot during the previous 14 days, can enter Queensland but a Queensland Border Declaration Pass must be obtained. Applications, while possible at the border, may entail delays. See the Queensland Govenment, Border Restrictions, BNE Covid-19 Brisbane, Queensland Roadmap, and Visit Brisbane/ Covid-19 websites for updates.
In the 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 Reef Hotel Casino (35-41 Wharf St), with bars, restaurants, a sports arena and entertainment.
OutCairns LGBT parties take place one Saturday of most months, usually at Kezz. Cairns Tropical Pride in October includes dance parties, art exhibits and Pride Fair Day. The Cairns Queer Film Festival screens in July. 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. Great Barrier Reef Helicopters provide Cairns helicopter tours and scenic flights over a range of destinations in Far North Queensland.
Currency and money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
Media & Resources
FNQ Magazine, a gay lifestyle and travel monthly, promotes "people and places in our pink paradise - Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Far North Queensland." Their website Go2GayCairns focuses directly on this city. Cairns Gay Info is another local website.
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.
DNA is a national glossy magazine with some very impressive photography.
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.
The Cairns Gay and Lesbian Facebook Page has information about, and provides social networks for the local community.
The Cairns Visitors Information Guide and the Cairns Tourist Information Center have general listings and tips.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Cairns listings pages.
Pink Flamingo Resort (115 Davidson St, Port Douglas; 61-7-4099-6622), gay owned and operated, adults-only resort, ten villas, two garden studios, private garden, large heated pool, bar; pet-friendly
Thala Beach Nature Reserve (Captain Cook Hwy, Oak Beach; 61-7-4098-5700), a little south of Port Douglas, is a 145 acre delux eco resort on private headland and beach property, with suites, and bungalows, Osprey’s modern Australian cuisine restaurant and bar overlooking the coast, a swimming pool and rainforest walks.
Turtle Cove Beach Resort (100 Captain Cook Hwy; 61-2-9318-2361), north up the coast from Cairns, between Wangetti Beach and Oak Beach, Australia's premier gay and lesbian resort-style hotel, for adults 18 and over. Private clothing-optional beach, lush tropical rain-forest national parklands, overlook Coral Sea. Also: swimming pool, restaurant, and several types of rooms.
See more hotel options at our map & listings pages.
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. See some of these listed at our map and listings page.
For more unusual dining options there are dinner cruises with gourmet tropical feasts, and live entertainment, from Ocean Spirit Cruises. About 40km north of Cairns, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures wildlife park features five distinct zones of crocodiles, cassowaries, turtles, lizards, plants and a tropical walk-through bird aviary.
Cruise Club (30 Spence St), the 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) - CLOSED - 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.
OutCairns Parties at Kezz Bar (33 Spence St) and other venues, LGBT dances, usually on first Saturdays of most months, just $5 cover charge.
Other local nightclubs with mainstream/ mixed crowds include: the Attic Lounge and Gilliigan's Nightclub at Gilligan's Backpackers Hotel & Resort.
The Reef Hotel Casino (35-41 Wharf St) offers luxury accommodation, restaurants, bars, gaming and dinner theater at the city center.
The Cairns Civic Theatre is to become the Cairns Performing Arts Centre (Florence and Sheridan Streets). Currently under construction, it will present local theater productions, national and international shows and plays, comedy, dance, drama, and circus acts. See alternative venues in the meantime, at this website.
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 more locations and web links of interest.