A secluded tropical beach surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest comes alive with the party of the year on Saturday 7 October, Queer Spring Break at Turtle Cove Beach Resort, part of the celebration of Cairns Tropical Pride. With top local DJs poolside and a private clothing-optional beach, the day also hosts the world premiere performance of The Merqueens in Sync or Swim, ‘unsynchronised swimming at its very best’. A little bit of LGBT+ heaven on earth – a secluded tropical location but with all the amenity of a world class LGBT+ resort. Cairns Tropical Pride are running coaches to the event which is half an hours drive from Cairns.

Cairns is perfect in October – glorious spring days, generally 23 – 30 degrees, too early for stingers or cyclones and the humidity hasn’t kicked in yet. It’s the ideal time to visit the reef and rainforest, though visitors are warned to be cautious of the local wildlife. Do not enter water where crocodiles may be present and do not get between a tropical drag queen and her drink.

Cairns Tropical Pride runs from Saturday 30 September (same night as the Elton John concert in Cairns) until Pride Fair Day on Sunday 8 October. The 11th Annual Pride Fair Day will be held in the Tanks Arts Centre – a beautiful heritage listed arts precinct at the foot of a towering rainforest-covered mountain and includes the Wild Barra Fashion Show – wonderful indigenous design showcased by a rainbow constellation of models and dancers.

Pride Fair Day will also include the Dog Show in the rainforest amphitheatre, Wedding Expo, Marriage Equality Forum, Fierce MegaDrag Show, the Tropical Gaze Art Exhibition, cafes, stalls, singers, bands and so much more. Last year over 1000 people visited the art exhibition alone on Pride Fair Day so this year’s event promises to be the biggest gathering ever of the LGBT+ community in North Queensland.

In 2016 Cairns Regional Council became the first regional council in the country to install a Rainbow Crossing. On one of the cities most prominent corners, the Esplanade crossing to the Cairns Lagoon, it was probably the most photographed streetscape in the country for a few days last year and Cairns Regional Council will be doing the same in 2017 to show their support for diversity and inclusion in the community.

Cairns Tropical Pride includes film events – John Water’s Polyester starring Divine will be shown as the maker intended in magnificent Odorama with the last original Scratch ‘n Sniff cards in the world and followed by a Divine Dragfest, while Fair Day will see a screening of Jenny’s Wedding starring Katherine Heigl.

The week leading up to the big Pride weekend includes a musical dinner show featuring an Australian LGBT+ sporting icon, barefoot bowls, a trivia night and other community events before the big weekend kicks off with LGBT+ visitors flooding into town from 6 October for the Proud Women’s Dance and Tropical Gaze Art Exhibition Launch party on 6 October, the Gay History Walk and Queer Spring Break on 7 October and Pride Fair Day on 8 October.

The 2017 Cairns Tropical Pride Festival runs 30 September to 8 October. For more information about the festival, and life in Cairns and Far North Queensland, visit: www.cairnstropicalpride.com for details.

Image: The Dog Show, Rainbow Crossing in Cairns and Queer Spring Break – courtesy of Cairns Tropical Pride