Port Douglas Carnivale

Blog Post

Fall for the tropics with these autumn events

Natalie Johnson profile photo

TNQ Writer

March north in May for an action-packed month of events. From the conventional to the crazy, enjoy races to rodeos, biking to beer and music to muster throughout Cairns, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands. In fact, there are so many events to choose from in May you might need to come back in 2024!

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival

Calling all budding scribes and lovers of the written word! Join like-minded wordsmiths from 8 – 10 March at the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival, celebrating stories, culture and nature. Featuring over 80 inspiring presenters, including award-winning author and media personality Tracey Spicer, get your diaries out now and make a note of this one!

Feast of the Senses

Feast of the senses cooking demonstration

Rare and Exotics at Feast of the Senses

Feast of the Senses Festival

Foodies can feast by the river in Innisfail south of Cairns as the annual Feast of the Senses on 24 March lures festival goers with a showcase of the region’s impressive rare and exotic fruits, produce, seafood, herbs, spices and wine. Wander through the artisanal market stalls, watch a cooking demo, and grab a bite from the food vans and stalls before kicking back on the lawn and enjoying the music stage.

Autumn Rodeo's

Easter at Einasleigh rodeo

Chillagoe Rodeo & Bushman’s Carnival

The Great Wheelbarrow Race

If you seek wide open spaces, camping and camaraderie, you may need to make three trips to the tropics over Autumn. Easter is all about family fun from 29 – 31 March at the annual Easter at Einasleigh, featuring country-style racing, rodeo, fishing competition, and three nights of live entertainment. The outback puts it on all over again 3 – 4 May for the Mt Garnet Races & Rodeo. Grab a weekend pass and enjoy tropical north outback style camping, cabaret, races, and rodeos! The country trifecta occurs 17 – 18 May at the Chillagoe Rodeo & Bushman’s Carnival. Just follow the Wheelbarrow Way from the coast, over the mountains to the Atherton Tablelands and onward to the outback. The week before the carnival, you will see the wacky Great Wheelbarrow Race thunder through the stunning outback Savannah from Mareeba to Chillagoe as dedicated teams take to the tarmac in weird and wonderful costumes to raise money for their local charity of choice.

Historic Village Herberton Pioneer Weekend

Historic Village Herberton Pioneer Weekend

Historic Village Herberton Pioneer Weekend

Historical Village Herberton Pioneer Weekend

Delay your return to Cairns and head across the tablelands to Herberton, take a step back in time and experience the pioneering history of the Historic Village Herberton Pioneer Weekend 11 – 12 May. Featuring blacksmithing, wood chopping and tin panning demonstrations, the kids will love riding the old steam train, participating in special activities and exploring the sixty original buildings showcasing Australia’s timber, farming and mining origins.

Cairns Children's Festival

Cairns Children's Festival

Cairns Children's Festival

While we’re on the subject of kids, head back to Cairns and spend a day hitting the family-friendly Cairns Children’s Festival 18 – 19 May for two days of art, craft, interactive performances, stories and theatre dedicated to the little ones.

Sports Events

Crankworx Cairns

Sporting enthusiasts will rejoice as Cairns hosts the North Queensland Games 3 – 6 May before Crankworx Cairns rolls back into town for its third instalment 22 – 26 May in the biggest mountain bike festival of the year! Rainforest racing, supercharged slopestyle, speed and style and the wild Whip-Off Championships will return. And if that isn’t enough MB action, the UCI Mountain Bike Masters World Championship will be held in Cairns for the first time the week before Crankworx, 15 – 18 May. We suggest you might need to book for at least two weeks, so if you need some accommodation close to the action, check out the best of the northern beaches and places to rest your head.

Port Douglas Carnival

Port Douglas Carnivale

Ferris wheel at Port Douglas Carnival

Head further north to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Port Douglas Carnivale 26 – 28 May. There will be something for everyone as the iconic village of Port Douglas comes alive with an exceptional performance under the stars by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, a trip back in time at the Absolute 80’s Smash Hits show, classic, zany cabaret by Popcorn Underground and the much-loved staple events, Street Parade, Longest Lunch and Family Beach Day.

Music Events

Undara Rock & Blues Festival

TNQ loves a good music festival, and kicking off the season from 26 – 28 April is the annual Undara Rock & Blues Festival featuring three days of boot-scootin’ music, camping, glamping and stories by the campfire under a blanket of a million outback stars. May sees the Red Hot Summer Tour roll into Cairns, celebrating everything awesome about Aussie rock music. If festivals aren’t your musical thing, fall into a comfy chair at the Cairns Performing Art Centre on 16 March and be inspired by the magnificent voice of Australian music royalty Kate Ceberano or the soulfoul sounds of Missy Higgins on 11 May. Speaking of music royalty, Tanks Art Centre will see the house come down with legendary rocker Peter Garrett on 28 May followed by Ian ‘Mossy’ Moss on 31 May – pack your ear plugs; you might need them!

While you’re here…

The fun doesn’t stop when the events are over, extend your trip to the tropics with these great ideas