Christmas arrives with a tropical twist

Published: 29 Nov 2018

A lagoon-side Christmas tree surrounded by palms and decorations inspired by the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest will welcome Christmas to Cairns this weekend.

Tomorrow evening’s switch-on of the Cairns Esplanade Christmas tree will launch the city’s festive season program.

Featuring 8000 LED lights, the 10 metre tall tree is a popular Christmas focal point, providing many a festive photo opportunity.

But this year’s seasonal celebration extends into the heart of the city centre, with the refurbished Shields Street providing a second centre of Christmas attention.

Mayor Bob Manning said specially-made decorations had been designed by talented local art students with a distinctly tropical flavour.

“A few months ago, we invited Cairns TAFE students to produce a design concept based on the theme ‘A tropical Christmas’,” he said. “We particularly encouraged elements that represented the reef and rainforest and other natural attributes.

“The result has been spectacular – we have some wonderfully unique decorations that really do reflect what we love about Cairns.”

Key elements include reef fish strung overhead, nesting pelicans atop light poles, light-up jellyfish, and a face cut-out cassowary to provide an interactive photo opportunity.

All decorations are made from predominantly recycled or repurposed materials.

The decorations have been installed in the Shields Street Heart, where a series of free community Christmas concerts will be held across the next two weekends.

“There will be live music from a range of local groups and musicians, celebrating Cairns’ diversity,” Cr Manning said. “Plus, you can bring the kids to post their letters to Santa at the special Beach Shack mailbox.

“It provides the perfect excuse to head into the city centre for a bit of Christmas shopping.”

The concerts will be held on both Saturday and Sunday (1 and 2 December) from 3pm to 5pm on the temporary stage near the Woolshed. Further concerts will be held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 December.

For more information on upcoming Christmas events, visit

Last updated: 29 November 2018