Blog Post

9 Ways to Bring in the New Year around Cairns

TNQ Writer

Still deciding what you want to do for New Year’s Eve? From epic island parties to family-friendly activities along the Esplanade, send off the year with these celebrations near Cairns.

Cairns Esplanade

Fireworks on the Esplanade is a must. Photo credit: Xplosive Art

Be part of the official celebrations along the Cairns waterfront for the Crystalbrook Collection New Year’s Eve at the Esplanade. Pack your camping chair, picnic blanket, and fill the esky with suppliers before settling down for an evening of fun and festivities, including live music, family-friendly activities at Fogarty Park (from 5pm) and dazzling fireworks at 9pm and midnight.

Palm Cove

Spend NYE under swaying palm trees

Ring in 2019 in true tropical style with the sand between your toes at the seaside village of Palm Cove, just a short 25-minute drive from Cairns. With Williams Esplanade turning into a pedestrian street, many party-goers make the trip north to watch the sky light up at the 8pm and midnight firework shows. Between Portofino’s bar and lounge booths, Nu Nu Resturant’s absolute beachfront dining and live music at Apres Beach Bar & Grill, there’s no shortage of fun and frivolity.

Fitzroy Island

Spend NYE on the Great Barrier Reef

Ring in the new year with an unforgettable celebration on the picturesque Fitzroy Island, where you’re guaranteed a tropical party like no other. From live music to world-renowned DJs, party-goers can expect to dance the night away at Foxy’s Bar into the wee hours of 2019. If you’re looking for a more low-key intimate setting, enjoy alfresco dining at Zephyr’s Restaurant with beautiful views over Welcome Bay. Settle in for the night and stay at the island resort or catch one of the returning ferries back to the mainland to continue the party.

Port Douglas

Drinks at Iron Bar

Party the night away in Port Douglas, knocking back a cold bevy and kicking up your heels to celebrate the year that was. This tropical destination is one hour from Cairns and a popular location for many looking for a luxurious weekend escape. Between Hemingway’s Brewery on the Marina to Rex Smeal Park, the famous Iron Bar or Paddy’s, your options are endless and luckily close enough together to party hop. There are fireworks at 8:30pm (those wanting an early night) and midnight (those just getting the party started).

Red Arrow

Find a spot on the Red Arrow with a vantage point of the city

For those looking for a wholesome end to 2018, active types can hike the popular Red Arrow walking trail to the lookout to watch the fireworks along the Cairns Esplanade. This 1.5km loop weaves through World Heritage-listed rainforest, eucalyptus and grasslands before you reach the top. Located behind the Cairns Botanic Gardens in Edge Hill, the Arrow walking tracks wind through Mt Whitfield Conservation Park.

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection

Choose from multiple bars to hangout at

Try their range of signature cocktails

Food at Paper Crane

Turn your night up a notch at the inaugural New Year’s Eve event at Riley, Cairns’ newest five-star hotel in over 20 years. With its own dedicated barge out the front of the resort, you’re guaranteed one of the best seats in the house to view the firework shows. Book a table or booth at Paper Cane or relax in the tropical Greenfields restaurant with DJs on the decks and pop up bars around the pool, keeping you cool all night long. Riley is also guaranteeing a few surprises, that you’ll have to go to see for yourself.

Fun Run

Image credit: Bright Night Fun Run, Cairns Adventure Festival

Why not kick off the fitness goals for 2019 a day early with the Cairns Regional Council NYE Resolution Fun Run. Starting at Fogarty Park, the 4km fun run along the Esplanade starts at 7:30pm, with entertainment and surprises lining the course, inviting you to party your way to the finish line. Dress up in bright neon or paint yourself with glow pens and join the party with a healthy way to finish the year with family and friends. The best part is it’s free and all ages are welcome.


Party through the night

Head down during the day for a pool party

With multiple bars you won't have to wait long for a drink

Arguably the premier place to party in Cairns, grab your mates and get yourselves over to Gilligan’s for their Ship Wrecked New Year’s Eve party. Bringing DJs from around Australia and internationally, expect a larger than life night with incredible special effects across multiple dancefloors and bars. Watch the sunrise in true New Year’s Day style with the club open until 5am. This is one place you’ll find a cheeky midnight dancefloor kiss.

Salt House

Enjoy 2 hours of canapés and drinks at the Canapé Cocktail Party, or dine in for a three-course dinner

See off your 2018 with a bang at the iconic Salt House, one of the best venues in Cairns with beautiful views of the mountain range, ocean and Trinity Inlet. Fancy a luxury three-course dinner while sipping on champagne, or would you rather an all-all-you-can-eat-drink cocktail party? You can do either with Salt House’s NYE packages, with revolving DJs providing the party tunes all night.

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