While our Southern friends are stoking the fireplaces and pulling their novelty jumpers out of storage, Port Douglas is ramping up for balmy days of tropical perfection and endless sunsets over the Coral Sea. There’s something in the air at this time of year – the taste of paradise on the horizon, garnished with good times and grooves.
Yup, it’s that time of year again where we celebrate and promote the very best Tropical North Queensland has to offer – the sea, the sun, the abundance of fresh produce, the talented local artists, musicians and performers. Port Douglas Carnivale is a celebration of our laidback lifestyle, all while being entertained by incredible talent. It’s time to party in paradise!
While the big weekend is 24 – 26 May, events start taking place from as early as 17 May. With events ranging from family-friendly to adults only, how ever will you choose? Here’s a run-down of our top picks.
Friday May 24th 11.30AM – 3.00PM
Hands up who doesn’t love a long lunch? (*crickets*). Kicking off the Carnivale celebrations is the hugely successful event favourite, The Longest Lunch. Cool breezes through your hair, ocean views accompanied by local produce and excellent drinks to get the weekend started, The Longest Lunch is brought back this year by popular demand by Ochre Restaurant & Catering. Serving up a delicious and delightful afternoon of gourmet treats, entertainment by Spiegeltent performers and cool tunes under the swaying palms.
Friday May 24th 5.00PM
From 5PM, the main drag of Macrossan Street gets all dollied up for the sights and sounds of live music, street performers and the official opening of the Carnivale weekend, the Port Douglas Carnivale Street Parade. This year’s theme, linking in to the 25th anniversary, is Silver and Sunshine, so pop on your very best glittery catsuit and practice those street dancing moves. The parade, with creative floats from local businesses, kicks off at 6.30PM followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 8PM.
Saturday 25th May 10AM
Grab your spade and bucket and head down to the iconic Four Mile Beach for Family Beach Day and show off your sand architecture skills. Sand sculpting competitions, a sky diving display, face painting, a sky bejewelled with hundreds of kites, Samba lessons in the sand, and the whole afternoon run by the well known Dream State Entertainment – it’s a day not to miss.
Saturday May 25th 7PM – 10PM
Paint your fingernails black and start slurping that red wine - Eskimo Joe, the ARIA-award winning Aussie rock band, are headed back to PD Carnivale 2019! Known for multiple hit songs including From the Sea, Black Fingernails and Red Wine, and Foreign Land the alt rock band has amassed a giant fan base in their 21 years of touring.
Supported by local rockers Benny & The Clones, Eskimo Joe will strap on their guitars and turn it up loud in Rex Smeal Park on Saturday night.
Sunday 26th May 12 noon
Seafood and the tropics are a love affair that go together like Queen Bey and J-Z. You’re going to want to wear stretchy pants as Port Douglas Carnivale welcomes back the Seafood Extravaganza – an afternoon on the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina boardwalk snacking on oceanic delights, straight of the back of the boat, all washed down with a sloop or two from Hemingways Brewery. Entertainment for kids and live music make this an afternoon for everyone to enjoy.
May 17th – 26th (see program for show times)
Like stumbling drunkenly into a 19th-century bootleg salon, the Wonderland Spiegeltent transports you to a world of aural decadence steeped in the darkest of blues and lusty, busty entertainment. The famous Wonderland Spiegeltent, one of few extraordinary and hand-sewn pavilions left in the world originally used as travelling dance halls, bars and entertainment venues, are the hub of night time entertainment over the Port Douglas Carnivale festival.
With a variety of circus-inspired shows for the family and the more late-night risqué adults only cabaret and burlesque, the Spiegeltent shows are a decadent blend of sensational acrobatics, operatic cabaret and tongue in cheek comedy. A non-stop celebration of the bewildering, the astounding and the downright sexy, these are shows not to miss.
May 27th 12.00PM – 5.00PM
What’s better than an afternoon eating the freshest of seafood in the sunshine, sipping the most delightful of local brews and listening to tunes along a tropical boardwalk? Nope? Can’t think…? No, us either.
Hemingway’s Brewery is excited to be bringing the Seafood Extravaganza back to Port Douglas Carnivale, with a monster line up of music, entertainment, and of course a showcase of the best seafood the region has to offer, as well as the very best locally brewed boutique beers. So kick back with a coldie, listen to the bands, and tuck into that bucket of prawns.
If you want to fill your tropical days with more than just the pool bar menu, Port Douglas Daintree region has a jam-packed events calendar to keep you keen. For the yachties, hop aboard the Quicksilver Race Week - a five-day regatta sailing the Coral Sea; Port Shorts Film Festival is widely considered the best little film festival this side of Cannes (not to be confused with Cairns), and for the adventure lovers, The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival and the Targa GBR are sure to get the adrenalin pumping. Whatever your passion, you’ll find something to excite you in Port Douglas Daintree.
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