As a gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and western hinterland towns, the fun doesn’t stop in Cairns when the sun goes down. The city pulsates with energy, whether it’s from reef day-trippers returning to shore, tour groups out on the town, basketball crowds kicking on after the game, or Convention groups looking for action after a day of talking.
There’s a wide array of exciting bars, restaurants, nightclubs, casino, art galleries and night markets offering everything to make a perfect night out. The options are as varied as they are dynamic, and much of the activity is concentrated on the Esplanade and around foreshore bars and restaurants.
These make for postcard-perfect nighttime experiences while on holiday in Cairns. The dining options range from relaxed to summery sophistication, and from light bites to multi-course meals. With views of the marina and the inlet, these venues are also popular for lunch and especially in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set and happy hours begin.
You can also get your groove on with the amazing performance scene in Cairns. Become a participant with salsa dancing or open mic nights, or opt to sit back and enjoy the talented local and visiting performers in everything from music to dance to theatre. There is an amazing live music scene, from small venues and local restaurants and bars to larger spaces such as Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns Convention Centre, and Cairns Performing Arts Centre.
A trendy venue that sets the high tone for nightlife activity, Salt House boasts a sleek nautical design, beautiful oceanfront views, great music, fine food and excellent cocktails. It is situated adjacent to the glitzy Cairns Yacht Club so you can admire the fabulous yachts in the dock while you sip on a cocktail.
The classy Casino is a landmark focal point in the CBD and is an entertainment centre in its own right. It is home to four restaurants, including fine dining, four bars, a nightclub, a mini-zoo on the roof and is a key meeting point for where to go next in town. The gaming areas feature a good range of tables offering blackjack, roulette, and baccarat and there are dozens of poker machines. The accommodation is 5-star and is a ‘must do’ for special occasion celebrations.
Gilligan’s is a hotspot for young locals and backpackers and features a spacious beer deck, often hosting local bands and DJs, plus an upstairs bar lounge that serves cocktails. It’s ideal for those in search of a wild and adventurous evening on a budget.
The Woolshed parties seven nights a week and gets wilder as the early hours arrive. The street-level restaurant has an alfresco area and there’s a nightclub upstairs. It’s in the heart of the CBD and is a magnet for people wanting to chill, thrill and enjoy a drink and great food.
The Cock n Bull is a funky, reasonably priced restaurant that appeals to a range of customers, from families seeking a fun night out to skint backpackers, sporting groups and night shift staff from local institutions. It sells hearty meals, has two bars, a tropical beer garden, tables for big and small groups and caters for parties up to 150. An entertainment centre in its own right, there are also pokies, pool tables, big screen TVs, and Keno.
But a tropical night out in Cairns is not only about food, drink and partying. See some of the city and region’s best attractions on special night-time activities and packages. Some of the favourite evening experiences are Tjapukai By Night, Flames of the Forest, Paronella Park, The Hummer Outback Adventure, and Jungle Adventures Guided Night Walks. Of course, you can also take a sunset dinner cruise on the Cairns Harbour.