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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 2020 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 9pm 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 2020. 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 8pm (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 2019, 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 New Year’s Eve event at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. 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. Party poolside at Greenfields with live music from 8-8:45pm and 10-10:45pm; enjoy a three-course dinner and DJ from 4pm at Paper Crane; or join one of the fanciest soirées in town at rooftop bar Rocco for the ultimate night out.

Fun Run

A family-friendly fun way to bring in the the New Year

Photo credit: Bright Night Fun Run, Cairns Adventure Festival

Why not kick off the fitness goals for 2020 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 7pm, 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

Say au revoir to 2019 and bonjour to a new decade as you party ’til the sun (almost) comes up at Cairns’ nightclubs. Skip the queue all night at The Woolshed and The Cotton Club when you purchase a VIP ticket for only $20 for their huge New Years Eve celebration; or join Gilligan’s White Party with an explosion of colour and massive balloon drop at midnight. These venues are all open until 5am so party ’til your heart desires, and maybe find a cheeky midnight dancefloor kiss.

Salt House

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

See off your 2019 with a bang at the iconic Salt House, 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 a cocktail party with a 2-hour premium beverage package and canapés? You can do either with Salt House’s Roaring Twenties New Years Eve celebrations, with live entertainment from 5pm and front row seats to Cairns’ fireworks show.

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