gay & lesbian cairns
- gay & lesbian accommodation
- gay & lesbian entertainment
- gay & lesbian tours and activities
- tips for gay & lesbian visitors
Australia is friendly toward gay and lesbian visitors with the annual Sydney Mardi Gras bringing thousands to the country every year. Many of them then head north to the Cairns region to enjoy the natural wonders and laid back lifestyle.
For the past 10 years, local members of the gay and lesbian community have compiled an annual publication full of information about specialised businesses, activities and accommodation.
The Pink Guide comes out just before Sydney Mardi Gras weekend every year and is full of helpful information about the Cairns scene.
gay & lesbian accommodation
Tourist centres like Cairns city, the Northern Beaches, Port Douglas, the Atherton Tableland and even the Daintree offer a number of resorts exclusively for the gay and lesbian community.
Skinny Dips Resort & Spa is an exclusively gay resort in the centre of Cairns city with a swimwear optional policy around their pool.
Boyz on the Beach at Kewarra Beach is also an exclusively gay male provider of accommodation with another clothing optional swimming pool and just a few minutes’ walk from the beach.
On the way to Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Highway is Turtle Cove Gay and Lesbian Resort. The venue is almost totally booked out every year for its Sydney Mardi Gras after party with visitors from around the world heading there for some R’n’R.
On the same coastal strip is the Thala Beach Resort, another secluded resort that promotes itself as gay and lesbian friendly but is a mixed venue.
While they are not exclusively for gay and lesbian visitors, a number of other resorts welcome the community, particularly the Mango Lagoon Resort & Wellness Spa at Palm Cove; Inn Cairns Boutique Apartments Hotel in the city; the Green Island Resort; Ryan’s Rest Guesthouse in Cairns as well as the major hotels like Shangri-la at the Marina and Cairns Hilton.
Head Office CBD is a “real man’s cruise club” according to their advertising. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 2pm to 2am, it is located on Abbott St in the city.
Velvet Underground in the Reef Hotel Casino building on the Abbott St side offers plenty of 'name' DJs, Ministry of Sound nights and house music. The club has a fairly young crowd and really only pumps on Friday and Saturday nights, unless there’s a public holiday.
In the Pier Shopping complex, there are a number of stylish bars and restaurants including Ba 8 in the Shangri-la Hotel which offers chill out music from a DJ on Friday evenings.
Other great spots include the Water Bar & Grill, Mature Yogo with a degustation menu, The Pier Bar & Grill which is more relaxed during the week but gets a bit rowdy on the weekends and It’s All About The Fish restaurant.
Just about all the tour companies are welcoming and there are gay massage therapists, professional body waxers, rollerblade hire, marriage celebrants and a heap of cool fashion and interior design stores in both Cairns and Port Douglas and more art galleries than you imagine.
There are also dedicated gay & lesbian tour companies in the Cairns region.
The Cairns region is definitely in the “pink” and gay and lesbian visitors will be welcomed with mostly open arms.
- The legal age for homosexual consent differs from state to state in Australia and also differs on the sexual act in question.
- In Queensland, the homosexual age of consent is 18 years of age (all anal sex).
- The heterosexual age of consent is 16 years of age.
- Male and female anal sex is treated differently to heterosexual sex in Queensland.
- As long as gay and lesbian couples are relatively discreet – holding hands is fine, French kissing maybe not so fine – they shouldn’t experience too much discrimination in the Cairns city region or at luxury resorts and hotels.
- However, more remote areas of the region like the Cape York region can be homophobic, particularly in the mining towns and in some Aboriginal communities. Discretion would be appreciated in these areas.
- When booking hotel rooms in the name of a same sex couple, you will need to emphasise the need for a double bed rather than two singles.
- Pick up a copy of the Pink Guide for a more detailed list of gay and lesbian friendly products, services, accommodation and entertainment venues.