It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as Cairns gets in festive mood
TOURISTS from the northern hemisphere are swapping their winter wonderland for scorching tropical heat this Christmas.
Swedish backpacker Amanda Eliasson will be celebrating the occasion in Cairns and plans to attend the lighting of the Cairns Esplanade Christmas tree tonight.
"This is my first summer Christmas. It's lovely because I grew up with the snow at Christmas,'' the 19-year-old said.
Miss Eliasson's friend Louise Loberg will be returning to Sweden to a chilly -25C.
"I think I will appreciate it more because it's been so warm here,'' she said.
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning will kick off the festive season when he switches on more than 8000 LED lights on the 10m-tall Christmas tree adorned with bright red baubles at 7pm tonight.
"This year we will unveil a spectacular new tree that is sure to light up the Esplanade and be the focus of many a photo,'' he said.
"For me, Christmas is a time to spend with the people you love and to reflect on all the good things in your life.''
Festivities start at 5.30pm with entertainment and carols at the Esplanade Lagoon.
For a list of Christmas activities see cairns.qld.gov.au
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Summer wonderland: Swedish backpackers Louise Loberg and Amanda Eliasson. Picture: TOM LEE