Guide To A Winter Getaway To Cairns | Gourmand & Gourmet

Say cya to winter with a Cairns getaway

Biting blizzards, cracked skin, and sneezing people everywhere… ugh, it’s winter in Brisbane again.

It’s the time of year when Game of Thrones fever (and actual fever) are running high as the collective population starts dreaming of a seven-year-long summer, Westeros style.

Come to think of it, however, there’s no need to travel to imaginary lands to experience an endless heatwave – isn’t that just called a couple of days in Cairns?

Far from hibernating this winter, we suggest chucking out the doona and travelling north to banana-bender country instead – good old Cairns is calling your name!



Um, is this Cairns or the Hamptons?

Just because you’re living amongst crocs now doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice luxury for swamps. For those wanting to spend big, get down and boujie at the Pullman Cairns International, which comes decked out with a gymnasium, jacuzzi, Coco’s Kitchen and Bar, and spa. Hop onto their website now, and you’ll also be able to snag their ‘Wintervention’ deal, giving guests escaping the cold $25 off each night, plus breakfast for just one dollar every day!

Catch us in the sauna, sis.


Winter? That’s a distant memory thanks to the gorgeous tropics-themed luxury rooms at Pacific Hotels Cairns.

While their naturally lit and lush rooms are sure to keep you nice and warm, it’s in the hotel’s solar-heated outdoor pool and Brazilian-inspired BBQ experience where things really start to heat up.

Chuck in the fact that their hotel’s only a short walk from the Great Barrier Reef fleet terminal, and you have the perfect location for your Cairns getaway!


Sail on in to Piermonde by Park Regis, a sky-high apartment hotel lying in the heart of the city. Alongside the requisite sun-soaked rooftop pool area and Insta-worthy views for days, this hotel also boasts day spas, a fitness centre, and hair salon. So chop chop, Brisbane – better make that booking today!




Only a stone’s throw from the hotels (when you take the highway – come on, this is Cairns after all) is Hopscotch in Barr Street Markets, where the breakfast menu is all sorts of dishes that are groovy and sweet.

Lend some sugar to hotcakes baked with blueberry and ricotta, or opt for their dreamy tiramisu French toast instead, with espresso-soaked brioche topped with vanilla mascarpone, shaved dark choc, toasted pistachios, and cherry compote. Wash it down with a cheeky breakfast cocktail (moonshine iced tea, anyone?) and you’re good to go!


Filling up with a bowl as nourishing as the gorgeous Cairns weather? Now that’s amore. Enter through the doors of Providore Amore for tasty nourish bowls heaping with karaage chicken, salmon, falafel, and more! For those rushing from A to B, these guys also whip up a pretty delish coffee and baked goods perfect to pick up on the go.   


Proving that sunny Cairns is more than its swarms of singlet-clad and bare footed backpackers is NOA, a beautiful restaurant serving plates of food that are both delicious and just that little bit fancy. Delve into the spicy Thai red prawn curry with roasted pumpkin, fresh lychee, and ginger and lime pilaf rice before ending the night on a sweet note with their mandarin brûlée, served with cardamom and pistachio biscotti.




This Port Douglas bar stocked full of delicious drinks and (of course) bottomless rum is raising the bar for Jims around the world.

Expect this place overrun in the daytime with cocktail enthusiasts taking masterclasses in the mixing lounge, while the night is reserved for sidling up to the bar’s signature cocktail: the Gin Lavender Thingy, made with gin, Lillet, lemon, and lavender. 


Tick tock on the tiki clock! A trip to Cairns ain’t complete without a visit to this Polynesian-inspired tiki bar, whose fruity share cocktails are straight fire – as in legitimately set on fire. Locals tell us that fan-favourites in this tiki bar are the Zombie or OG Flamingos cocktails, all made with premium alcohol and exotic syrups.


Cocktails are great fun, but when you’re looking for some ‘Old Man and The Sea’ tranquillity, look no further than the iconic Hemingway’s brewery situated on the picturesque Cairns Wharf. While away the hours sipping on tropical ale and West Coast IPA from their flagship range or see what’s brewin’ by taking one of their guided distillery tours!




Adani who? The gorgeous Great Barrier Reef is an obvious must for any city slicker who makes the trip north, and is so vast that the options for exploring the seventh wonder of the natural world are simply endless. Snorkelling, scuba diving, glass-bottom boating, or cruising on a pontoon… whatever you want, there’s a tour to try!


Dang, Cairns – this is your backyard? When it comes to exploring luscious greenery and magnificent waterfalls, look no further then the heritage-listed Daintree rainforest. Travel the chasm that is Mossman Gorge, discover native animals in the Daintree national park, motor up Cape Tribulation, hit the Bloomfield Track, and still somehow not see everything this beautiful landscape holds. Lucky there are guided tours for those looking to make the most of this evergreen wonderland.


Strap on the crocs (a requisite for any tourist in Cairns) and visit the crocs at Rainforest Nature Park by hopping on the zoo’s unique Army Duck rainforest tours! Travel through both dense rainforest and croc-infested waters (in the safety of the amphibious boat, of course) spying critters left and right, or enjoy a walkabout among snoozing koalas in the zoo’s wildlife park instead. 

Garn and head up north, Brisbane – just watch out for the cassowaries on the way there.

Words by Jacqueline Pon
- the gourmand that stans a Cairns vacay this winter