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.

gay & lesbian entertainment

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.

Cairns Gay and Lesbian

Cairns Gay and Lesbian

gay & lesbian tours and activities

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.

tips for gay & lesbian visitors