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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded article click DailyXtraTravel
Click on the link for a handy PDF version of our January 2008 Australia travel feature!
Cairns, in far north Queensland, is a tropical city blending the best of Australia with a steady stream of international visitors, many of them gay. They come to enjoy and explore the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest,
visit the Great Barrier Reef (the world's largest living thing), the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, or simply to chill out. Among the many activities available are ballooning, white-water rafting, snorkeling, and visits to
the rainforest town of Kuranda by cable car or on the cutest little train.
Each year, after the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Cairns enjoys an influx of international and domestic travelers heading north to this tropical heaven for "Mardi Gras recovery" and a tad more revelry.
Cairns is great for souvenir shopping, aboriginal artifacts, opals, and tropical clothing. Cairns Central, the night markets, and the downtown area are good hunting grounds.
On the fringe of the city center, Skinny Dips Resort and Spa (18 James Street; +61-7-4051-4644) is Cairns's only resort catering exclusively to gay and lesbian travelers. Think Melrose
Place: twenty-one well-equipped air-conditioned rooms overlooking the sparkling pool, jacuzzi, and poolside cafe. They offer a fitness room, sauna and a guest courtesy lounge with complimentary internet access. The licensed
outdoor-indoor restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the bar and restaurant open to outside patrons from 11 a.m. Sanctuary Spa Centre, located within Skinny Dips Resort, offers a range of massage and
pamper treatments, administered by male attendants, and designed with men in mind.
Boyz On The Beach (1 Coogee Close, situated close to Kewarra Beach; +61-7-4055-6462), a gay-owned-and-operated three-room bed and breakfast, is yet another all gay option, 20 minutes from Cairns city.
Discreetly tucked behind what appears to be the doorway to a car park,
Head Office (2nd floor, 52-A Abbott Street) is a men's cruise club attracting gay and bisexual locals and tourists alike. It's a facility for physical
release comprised of a lounge, a spa, a maze, and a video area.
There are countless restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs, with
Nu Trix (53 Spence Street) being the gay nightclub, while
Sapphire Tapas Bar (39-49 Lake Street), which is gay-owned-and-operated, attracts an
eclectic mix of gays and gay-friendlies.
Planning your trip
Good websites for Cairns info include Destination Queensland, a fab resource on all of Queensland (including Brisbane) and