Great Gay Destinations of the world – San Francisco, Ibiza, Thailand, Rio…and now, Cairns. Just when you thought it wasn't safe to go into the backwater, Far North Queensland offers up a world-class Gay and Lesbian tourist destination, complete with gay-friendly beaches, gay spas and resorts and gay only tours and attractions.
Picture yourself relaxing poolside or basking in the tropical sun on a secluded beach and not a breeder in sight. This is the new Cairns, emerging from its old image as the Barrier Reef's airport, into the ultimate destination for Gay and Lesbian tourists to relax and revive.
Where to Stay
Whatever your accommodation preference, there's a gay owned, gay only or queer-friendly bed waiting for you. From the boutique Skinny Dips Resort and Spa with luxurious treatments designed especially for men to Sea Change Apartments, in the heart of Cairns' most popular beach precinct. From the very secluded party resort Boyz on the Beach with its optional swimsuit policy to a romantic escape at Mai Tai for a private honeymoon or cheeky weekend.From Cairns to Port Douglas, you'll find countless gay and lesbian owned bed and breakfasts, lesbian only retreats, luxury resorts, beach houses and cheap and cheerful pub accommodation. For travellers with little people or furry friends, there are even options for gay families and travellers with pets.
Where to Eat, Drink and Be Merry
There are plenty of places to let your hair down and meet up with some of the local boys and girls. Best-known is probably Nu Trix on Spence Street; it's widely known for awesome music and its cozy lounge. For a cheap and cheerful meal and a few drinks, Out Front Gay Hotel and Bar on Sheridan Street offers a tasty café menu and has on-site accommodation. For something a bit hipper, try Sapphire Bar and Lounge on Lake Street. It boasts an eclectic mix of patrons; it attracts the arty, the gourmet and the fabulously gay with a delectable menu, cocktails and an arty décor.
What to See and Do
Cairns has so much to see and do, you almost need to live there to do it all, and if you can do it in Cairns, you can probably do it “gay only”.
For a relaxing visit, there's the exclusive Gay and Lesbian only Hot Stone and Essential Oil therapies in Walk Arcade on Lake Street and of course, Cairns is where the world comes to shop, so there's plenty of specialty shops around. For the more adventurous traveller, there's no shortage of gay and lesbian only tours - rainforest and wildlife tours, waterfall tours, Port Douglas and Turtle Cove Gay Highlights Tours, Daintree tours as well as diving, snorkelling, white-water rafting, Kuranda Markets and attractions, Atherton Tablelands, Skyrail, Tjapukai Aboriginal Dance Theatre, Fitzroy Island, the Reef, ultra-light flying, hot-air ballooning – most with different optional extras to see and do along the way.
And when you're over all that adventure, many of the resorts hold weekly meets and parties as well as regular special events. Check the local pink press for more details.
Where to Swim
Cairns' most attractive beach is probably the private beach at Turtle Cove Beach Resort. Surrounded by exquisite tropical rainforest, the gay and lesbian resort sits on a stunning secluded beach which is open to visitors as well as guests.
While there are no official Gay Beaches (although there have been campaigns to establish them) there are plenty of unofficial nude, gay-friendly beaches to choose from. The Cairns Sunboys (a group of gay naturalists) recommend Buchan Point between Ellis Beach and Palm Cove around 25kms north of Cairns. It has been an unofficial nude beach since the 1950s and is secluded and beautiful. You can also try Pretty Beach, 1km north of Rex Lookout, south of Oak Beach.
For the more adventurous travellers, there are plenty of secluded beaches further north including Cow Bay, and a clothes-optional campground at Cape Tribulation.
Cairns is the perfect place to escape for a warm, sunny, hassle-free weekend or holiday any time of year. Who'd have thought that Far North Queensland would be the place to find a little slice of gay paradise?