Your Survival Guide to the Port Douglas Hot & Steamy Festival

The annual Hot & Steamy Festival is rolling into Port Douglas once again, all a-glittery and eye-lashed to the sky. And it does exactly what it says on the packet, folks - the climate certainly is hot and steamy, and revellers wouldn’t have it any other way. As one of the most exciting events on the LGBTQI+ yearly calendar, Hot & Steamy is a most excellent precursor to Gay Christmas (aka the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras), and after everything everyone’s been through in 2020, we be needing the healing powers of HRH Queen Kylie like never before.

Regardless of how you identify, what connections you have to the LGBTQI+ community, or how damn extra you are (oh, hi there), you’re bound to feel something during this glorious tropical event (other than warm). While many of the main events are already sold out or close to it, if you can get your sparkly hands on any spares or to the various other events around the village, you’re in for a treat. This year’s headline act is the devilishly divine and bedazzled international sex symbol, accordionist and Berlin boy-wonder, Hans (Friday night at the Sugar Wharf, Saturday night at The Central Hotel, and the Sunday afternoon Niramaya pool party), bringing his sequinned tush to the tropics. And if you do miss out, that’s okay – just start planning for 2022 (note: it’s going to be H-U-G-E).

To ensure you’re less ‘deer in headlights’ and more ‘deer thriving in the limelight’, we’ve put together a few handy tips – festival survival tips, if you will. And, as there’s a good amount of downtime between Hot & Steamy and Sydney’s night of nights, why not go all out and stay a little longer?


Time management is key. And rest is for the weak. The official program starts on Thursday evening and rolls all the way through until the wee hours of Sunday night, and covers all types of venues, many of them iconic spots around Port Douglas, so make sure you get all those selfies and sunsets so your Instagram followers are seething with envy. Get your friends and your frocks and start planning dance moves and costume changes. All events over the weekend are held in very close proximity to the Port Douglas town centre (except of course the Saturday Sunset Boat Cruise, naturally), so walking from event to event is totally an option, whether you prefer heels or not.


… whatever you damn well please (unless ‘whatever you damn well please’ lands you in jail…). Fashion and LGBTQI+ events go hand-in-hand, so in the words of Madonna, express yourself. Cover yourself in glitter and body paint if you want and - with the exception of the Friday Night White Party - be just as colourful with your outfits. Bear in mind, it is the middle of a tropical summer, so make sure your glad rags are something breathable, otherwise you’ll be wishing you spent more time acclimatising in the devil’s sweaty armpit as he circled the midday sun for the tenth time.


The Hot & Steamy Festival is a tropical summer event named as such for a very good reason, so it goes without saying it’s rather hot. With all the excitement of the weekend, it’s easy to forget to drink plenty of water. You do not want something like heat stroke or dehydration ruining your festivities. Also, drinking lots of water will help with any potential hangovers (hey, it happens) and keep your skin looking fabulous.


No doubt part of your recovery plan will include dipping the toe back into eating carbs for the first time in months. No need to keep chewing the fat about Keto meal plans or discussing the benefits of HIIT (high intensity interval training) – you be on recovery time now, gurrrrrl.

Morning mimosas, we hear you say? It’s like we read your mind. Cafe institution Café Fresq know a good brunch when they see one and are utterly selfless in bringing the best to you. Head on in for their Bottomless Brunch – one dish from their award-winning, local-produce driven menu alongside bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Aperol Spritzes or Corona beer.

Be seen at ‘the local’s favourite restaurant’, Salsa Bar & Grill. Although this spot is the venue for the Hot & Steamy Taste In The Tropics (TITT) lunch on Friday, it’s always a great place to return to for cocktails and carbs. Also, make sure you pop Zinc Restaurant, Watergate, and Jimmy Rum’s Mixing Lounge (all conveniently within a stone’s throw from each other) on your must-do lists for your liquor libations.


Recovery on the reef is a Very Good Idea mainly because it becomes glaringly obvious that the colours and textures of the Great Barrier Reef have clearly been the inspiration for Kylie’s outfits all these years. Jump aboard Indigo, Sailaway, Calypso or the many other brilliant reef tours to experience the best of the GBR with personalised service.

If you prefer a little rainforest over reef, Back Country Bliss Adventures offer river drifting down the Mossman River, and quite frankly that sounds like heaven to us. Drift under a rainforest canopy, listening hard to secret beauty tips on how Mother Nature looks so good for 150 million years old (clearly teaching Cher everything she knew). The festival might be over, but the rainbow of greens are majestic providing much inspiration for next year’s costumes, yes?

...What was that restaurant?

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