Cairns: An insiders guide

Cairns: An insiders guide

Cairns Ironman Photo credit: Delly Carr

You've booked your flights & accommodation, and if you’re a keener maybe your bags are already packed.  With Ironman Cairns just over a week away, that peculiar feeling of nervous excitement amongst athletes is almost at its peak.  

Triathlon Queensland asked local Cairns Crocs Club President, Nick Carling, for the inside scoop on where to swim, ride and caffeinate yourself like a local.

Where to ride 
Make the most of your trip with a pre-race ride.  For a flat easy ride, head south on the Bruce Highway and then north back to Cairns.  For those who prefer a couple of hills,  try Copperlode on Lake Morris Road for an enjoyable and scenic climb.  Also recommended is the ride out to the Crystal Cascades via Stoney Creek Road and Barron Gorge 

Where to swim
For your pre-race swim at Palm Cove, you can only swim between the flags while Surf Lifesavers are on duty.  Alternatively, the Oceans Edge Health Club in Palm Cove offer casual passes to use their 25m pool (open daily 6am-7pm).

Where to re-caffienate
For the post ride coffee, Caffiend in Cairns gets the local's tick of approval or Chill Café in Palm Cove is the place to go.

Where to shop
If you need any last-minute tri supplies and can’t find what you’re looking for at the expo, head down to Bicycle Centre Cairns on Sheridan St.  

What to do post race 
You’ve just become an official finisher of an Ironman event; and you’re ready for a drink,  great spots to soak up the atmosphere include: the Salt House, Pier Bar, Boatshed, Rattle & Hum and the Bavarian Beerhouse.  

What to do for spectators
There is a lot of time spent waiting around when you are an Ironman spectator.
If you are in Palm Cove, while away the time at the numerous cafes along the waterfront.  If you in Port Douglas at the bike turnaround, the markets at Wharf Street are a great place to spend a few hours (open 8am-1.30pm).
In Cairns, find great shopping options at Cairns Central, a couple blocks back from the Esplanade.  However the café's and bars will be pumping from mid morning as the athletes come in off the bike leg and on to the run, so there is plenty to see.
For those who want to get among the action, The Couch (a local cancer charity) have a finish line marquee with a whole day food and beverage package - click here for tickets.

What to see in Cairns
Pre or post-race, explore beautiful North Queensland's best with a half or full day trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  Additionally, taking the Skyrail or the Kuranda Steam Train for a fantastic and relaxing day up to Kuranda, where you will find the spectacular Barron Falls.      
A helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef is a great way to see some stunning views of an Australian treasure or there is a trip that leaves from Port Douglas and heads over to the turtle inhabited Low Isles.  
If you are looking for a more active recovery day, head up to Lake Eacham for a relaxing swim followed by a lovely 3km trail walk around the lake.  However, the word from Nick Carling is that if you decide to visit Lake Eacham you MUST stop at the Lake Barrine Tea House for their world famous homemade scones.   

And above all else, your time in paradise!



TQ Partners as at October 2020


Triathlon Australia
Triathlon ACT
Triathlon NSW
Triathlon NT
Triathlon SA
Triathlon TAS
Triathlon VIC
Triathlon WA