Be social

If you’re only in Cairns on a short visit you might want to make the most of your visit by doing some of your sightseeing at night. And luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Cairns at night besides discovering the city’s bars and restaurants. 

Here’s a list of some ‘sight-seeing’ things to do in Cairns at night:

1. Cairns Night Markets

cairns nigth marketsA visit to Cairns isn’t complete unless you have wandered through the Cairns Night Markets, browsed the stalls for souvenirs and stopped off for a cheap massage.

In fact it will be hard to pick the tourists from the locals as the locals love the night market massages.

You can pick up a hammock, a didgeridoo, t-shirts, jewellery and all sorts of unique trinkets here at the market, as well as being able to grab a bite to eat at the 200 seat food court with a variety of seafood and Asian eateries.

2. Cairns Sunset Cruise

sunset view of cairnsThis is a great way to start the evening before heading off to dinner near the Marina.

Cruising down Trinity Inlet with a glass of wine in hand, this sunset boat trip gives you a unique view of the city that you wouldn’t know existed unless you took this cruise.

It takes you around the Trinity Inlet National Marine Park, a very unique environment of mangroves and waterways that is home to the saltwater crocodile so keep your eyes peeled and you might see one in the wild.

This relaxing one-and-a-half-hour cruise departs from Cairns Harbour at 5.30pm so you can watch the sun go down as you enjoy the views and some nibbles.

Another option is to take a dinner cruise with Spirit of Cairns but we would recommend a sunset cruise so you can enjoy the views.

3. Tjapukai By Night

tjapukai at nightTjapukai is an ‘aboriginal cultural park’ that is obviously open tourists in the daytime, but they also put on a dinner and show at night.

It isn’t a cheap way to dine but it does give you a taste of Australian indigenous culture.

After a welcome drink you get to join aboriginal warriors for a lakeside ceremony. Clapsticks are then handed around and everyone joins in the corroboree. You get to watch fire being made with firesticks and listen to Dreamtime legends before heading through to the Boomerang Restaurant for a four-course meal and stage performance.

If you’re looking for an ‘authentic’ introduction to aboriginal culture, this is probably not for you but when we went we took our kids and they absolutely they loved it (that’s us at the back in the photo!).

4. Night Time Wildlife Spotting Tour

Many of Australia’s animals are nocturnal so it actually makes a lot of sense to try and spot them after sunset.

Wait-a-While Wildlife Tours start in the early afternoon from Cairns and travel up to the Tablelands where they take you to various places to spot wildlife with their super strong torch lights.

On the tour we went on we were lucky enough to see platypus, tree kangaroos and possums.

5. Great Barrier Reef Night Dive

Since Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the top things to do in Cairns is to go scuba diving. If you book onto a liveaboard package (inc. as a part of your dive course), you will be able to stay out on the Reef overnight and do a night dive.

Several of the dive operators offer liveaboard packages including Pro Dive, Cairns Dive Centre and Deep Sea Divers Den. The trips range from two days upwards and incorporate day and night dives all as part of the one package.

Dive operators such as Mike Ball, TAKA and Spirit of Freedom offer longer trips that go further field for more experienced divers.

Most meals and accommodation on the boats are included and details on certificates required can be sourced directly from the operator.