Whether you are a seasoned local or this is your first Christmas in Cairns, there’s nothing quite like getting into the Chrissy spirit in December. While everyone knows of the classic Christmas with all that white snow, the majority of the world experiences a no-snow festive season.
While for those new to a warm Christmas like the one we have here in Cairns, it might feel odd to celebrate Christmas in the middle of summer (especially as despite the heat, you’ll still hear carols about snow, pictures of snow, stories about snow, fake snow in windows, fake snow on Christmas trees, snow, snow, snow) however, there are still a lot of awesome ways to enjoy Christmas in the tropics. After all, Cairns is a tropical paradise and why would you not want to celebrate one of the biggest holidays of the year here?!
Let’s start with the classics…
Cairns Local Christmas Market
Christmas markets are not only found in Europe. The Cairns Local Crafts and Art Christmas Markets can be found each year at the Fred Moule Pavilion at the Cairns Showgrounds, on the edge of the Cairns CBD. Enjoy sourcing locally made Christmas craft, and get into the Cairns Christmas spirit.
Yungaburra Christmas Markets
The Yungaburra Christmas Markets, situated in the Atherton Tablelands, are well worth the road trip from Cairns. Held every year, you can find a Christmas gift for your friends and family back home (or even pick up a Christmas present for yourself).
Cairns is a fan of Christmas lights. Each year you can watch the Christmas Tree at the front of the Cairns lagoon on the Cairns Esplanade being lit or venture across the suburbs to seek out the best of the best of the Christmas displays.
Carols by Candlelight
Not only is Cairns a fan of Christmas lights, they’re also partial to a carol or two. Each year, the people of Cairns join together at Fogarty Park on the Cairns Esplanade for Carols by Candlelight.
Still missing the cold? Despite its 30 degree December days, Cairns has you covered with an ice skating rink at the Cairns DFO Shopping Centre. While this used to be an only Christmas/school holidays event, it’s now open 5 days a week all year around. You can find out more here.
Christmas Day Ideas
A tropical Christmas is one you’ll never forget. While your friends and family may be rugged up inside at home on Christmas Day, by spending Christmas in Cairns you could be snorkelling up a storm on the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, hanging out on a tropical island or dipping into the refreshing stream of one of Cairns’ many freshwater creeks.
Option 1 – Christmas on a Tropical Island
Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy Christmas on a tropical island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef? Cairns islands such as Fitzroy Island and Green Island do Christmas Day specials, which include a fantastic Christmas lunch and time spent enjoying paradise. Remember to book quite far in advance as these are popular and do sell out.
Option 2 – Christmas Day on the Great Barrier Reef
I still remember spending Christmas Day with my family on a pontoon in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. We had a fantastic lunch, snorkelled to our heart’s content and even did an introductory scuba dive (complete with a photo of my brother and I scuba diving with santa hats on). For a Christmas Day you’ll remember for the rest of your life spend Christmas out on the Great Barrier Reef.
Option 3 – Get Out On The Water
Hire a boat, make friends with someone who has a boat, buy a boat (maybe a bit extreme for just one day), but a Christmas Day spent sailing across the ocean is one that you’ll never forget. The Great Barrier Reef off Cairns is also sprinkled with sand cays (like Michaelmas Cay pictured below) and therefore you can pull up and enjoy a spectacular blue (water) and white (sand) Christmas in paradise (who said red and green were Christmas colours anyway?).
Option 4 – Freshwater Creeks
Cairns has a number of freshwater creeks and waterfalls both close and far to the city and they’re a great location to spend a tropical Christmas Day. Crystal Cascades and Stoney Creek are both close to Cairns or you could drive further afield to Josephine Falls or Babinda Boulders!
Option 5 – Enjoy a Christmas barbecue and picnic at the Cairns Lagoon & Esplanade
Soak in the Christmas atmosphere down at the Cairns Esplanade. Enjoy the free BBQ facilities for an Aussie styled Christmas Day lunch and cool off in the Cairns Lagoon afterwards. It’s relaxing, it’s very easy (and it’s cheap!)
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