Find out here the absolute best things to do in Palm Cove with Kids. The guide includes the top attractions in Palm Cove and the surrounding area.
There’s more to Palm Cove Queensland than the trees!
The little beachside community is just 25 minutes north of the city of Cairns or 35 minutes south of the holiday town Port Douglas. This tropical gem can be seen as a hub to visit both, but as you’ll see from my list below of what to do in Palm Cove it’s also an ideal place for families seeking adventure or some relaxation.
Whatever the reason for your visit you can be sure you’ll leave feeling refreshed and energized.
Included in the below guide of what to do at palm cove are day trips, popular tours, and practical information to help plan your trip.
Continue reading for all the details.
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Post was updated in June 2021
Featured Image: © Tourism & Events Queensland
- Things to do in Palm Cove with Kids
- How to get to Palm Cove
- Restaurants in Palm Cove
- Palm Cove Accommodation
- Palm Cove Weather
- Day Trips from Palm Cove
- Road Trips from Palm Cove
Things to do in Palm Cove with Kids
Esplanade Walk or Bike Ride
Williams Esplanade is one of the most picturesque streets in Palm Cove stretching along the shady tree-lined path that hugs the foreshore. It may take you around 20 minutes at a leisurely pace to walk the pathway, taking in the fresh coastal air. If you would prefer something more fast-paced, another way to immerse yourself in the sights around the area is to hire a bike and explore more of Palm Coves’ beauty.
Make a Splash at Palm Cove Beach
The tropical weather, soft white sand, and glistening waters make the beach look extremely inviting. There is no best time to visit Palm Cove as the weather is perfect year-round. However, between November and May, it is important to swim inside the enclosure and follow the signs as stingers and crocodiles are found in far north Queensland. If you’d prefer not to swim, there are many other simple beach pleasures such as watching the sunrise over the ocean, enjoying a book under a coconut palm, searching for seashells and building a sandcastle.
Palm Cove Water Activities
With the temptation of the ocean at your front door, there are many other activities in Palm Cove that allow you to enjoy the water such as hiring kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, jet skis, and kiteboards. You’ll find many of the companies set up along Williams Esplanade waiting to assist you with exciting outdoor adventures. Two of the firm favourites are the kayak sunrise tour, along with the snorkeling and kayaking tour to Double Island.
Fishing at Palm Cove
Renowned for its fishing follow the pristine golden beach curves towards the northern end of the village stopping at the Palm Cove jetty. Cast your rod off the 40 metre jetty that juts out between Ellis and Clifton Beach. The most common species of fish that are caught from the jetty is Mackerel, but there are also lots of smaller species, like whiting, flathead, and stripeys for the kids to catch.
If you need some fishing tips or gear, drop in at Bransfords Tackle Shop and Fishing Museum at Clifton Beach.
Shopping at Palm Cove
Palm Cove shopping village is conveniently located on Williams Esplanade and has a post office, news agency, and general store for your everyday needs. If you are searching for more retail therapy, you will find colourfully painted boutiques, opal and jewellery stores, art galleries, and gift shops located throughout the town and along Williams Esplanade.
If you are visiting Palm Cove on the 1st Sunday of the month between April and December, wander the Palm Cove Markets along Williams Esplanade from 8.00am – 2.00pm.
Palm Cove For Kids
Visiting Palm Cove with kids is a delight on many levels, and kids will always find enjoyment in a good playground. The beachfront Palm Cove playground has been blessed with an idyllic location where you can watch the waves lap the beach while the kids play on the swings, slides, and diggers. Close by are cafes to grab a coffee, and public toilets for convenience.
Barbeque by the Beach
One of the most popular things to do in palm cove for families is to have a barbeque and enjoy the great outdoors. This national pastime is easily accessible for visitors with many public barbeques located beachside hidden under palm trees and tropical ferns.
Relax at your Resort
Palm Cove has a large number of accommodation options including resorts, holiday apartments, and holiday homes. You’ll find many on Williams Esplanade overlooking the beach with the rainforest as your backdrop.
Palm Cove resorts offer the comforts of home with the additional benefits of exceptional service, pools, jacuzzi’s, day spas, gymnasiums, lagoon bars, and restaurants. If your ideal holiday is to relax poolside while the children have fun in the water, then this may be an ideal destination for your family.
Do you have some kid-free time? Then you may like the below option::
Spa Treatment Indulgence
Relax at one of the many day spas along Williams Esplanade or in the village of Palm Cove. With many options to choose from why not be pampered more than once!
Word of mouth is important when it comes to spa experiences. Here are some suggestions that I found via Tripadvisor of where to start looking for the best spa activities in Palm Cove to support your wellness experience.
- Palm Cove Retreat Day Spa
- Soul Escapes Wellness Sanctuary
- The Spa Palm Cove
- Peppers Day Spa
- Alamanda Spa
How to get to Palm Cove
Palm Cove is easily accessible for visitors due to its location.
FLY – Approximately 25 minutes from Cairns airport, all the major airlines Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, and Tiger Air offer flights into Cairns from various destinations.
You May Also Like: Over 50 Lifesaving Tips you Need to Know for Flying with Kids
From Cairns to Palm Cove, you can choose to rent a car or take an airport bus transfer.
DRIVE – Palm Cove is 1,700kms north of Brisbane, which is approximately a 20-hour road trip and normally driven over a couple of days or more stopping at some of the lovely Queensland towns in-between.
Read More: Driving from Brisbane? Read here some of the must-see places on the road trip.
Money-Saving Tip – We chose the bus transfer to Palm Cove and hired a car a couple of days into our stay as we didn’t need it at the beginning. You can find rates for car hire Palm Cove here.
Restaurants in Palm Cove
Restaurants and cafe options are abundant for all tastes and budgets in Palm Cove. Many of those boasting picture postcard views over the Coral Sea and offering an array of cuisines for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
Our top two family-friendly Palm Cove dining options are:
Surf Club Palm Cove – Located towards the Palm Cove jetty the surf club is what you would expect, but even better. The relaxed vibe, generous portions, quick service, alfresco dining was a perfect family-friendly option, and we found ourselves dining here regularly. The meals were one of the most affordable in Palm Cove, and they offer daily specials and a kids’ menu.
Practical Information: Open daily for lunch 11.30am – 3.00pm and dinner 5.00pm – 8.00pm
Chill at Portofino– Situated south of Williams Esplanade, Chill Café has now joined with Portofino Palm Cove. This café is rated highly on Tripadvisor for good reason! Their beachfront position is the ideal setting for holidaymakers to enjoy the tropical weather while eating delicious food.
Open early for breakfast and continuing service into the evening. Chill Café serves everything from classics to specials, sweet and savory, and is well renowned for its specialty smoothies and thick shakes. To satisfy the kids there is also a dedicated kids menu.
Practical Information: Open daily from 7 am till late.
Palm Cove Accommodation
The Mantra Amphora Palm Cove is south of Williams Esplanade and was recommended to us by friends. As a family, we found its location convenient, the self-contained apartment comfortable, and a superb pool for kids of all ages.
The Mantra Amphora was one of the more reasonably priced places to stay when comparing Palm Cove family resorts, which is why it is listed in the top ten hotels to stay on Tripadvisor.
Palm Cove Weather
The weather is one of the best things about Palm Cove – as it’s a destination you can visit all year round.
- Summer (Dec-Feb) Average Temp 23 ºC / 31 ºC
- Autumn (March-May) Average Temp 22 ºC / 29 ºC
- Winter (June-August) Average Temp 17 ºC / 26 ºC
- Spring (September-November) Average Temp 20 ºC / 29 ºC
The months that are likely to experience the most rainfall are December through to April.
Tip: I always suggest visiting the Bureau of Meteorology for more weather information before visiting a location. This will help with what to pack for your trip.
Day Trips from Palm Cove
Even though this picturesque village can cater to everyone in the family and there are many things to do at Palm Cove, it is also a great hub for exploring tropical north Queensland. Many local companies can assist with booking Palm Cove activities for families.
The things to do around palm cove can range from water sports over to the nearby islands, to a Great Barrier Reef cruise.
Find below some of the most popular options:
Green or Fitzroy Island Day Trip
If you are wanting to visit one of the nearby islands, Green or Fitzroy Island are two of the most popular, and are near Palm Cove. Depending on what you want to experience and the level of activity you enjoy each island has something spectacular to offer.
Here are a few points of difference between the two islands:
Green Island is a relatively flat island with 12 hectares covered in rainforest and surrounded by a sandy beach. Entry into the water from the beach is shallow which is ideal for children or for people who aren’t confident swimmers. To enjoy the rainforest that is home to over 120 native plant species and learn about the island’s history along the way take a stroll on The Boardwalk.
Fitzroy Island’s fringing coral gardens are teeming with marine life and there are many ways to explore the reef from above on stand-up paddleboards, sea kayaks, and glass-bottom boat tours. Of course for a closer inspection strap on the snorkel or scuba gear. On the land, there are many walking trails to soak in the tropical rainforest. Fitzroy has three beaches which are mostly made from crushed coral.
Self Drive Day Trips from Palm Cove
Some of the most scenic drives from Palm Cove are to Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands. Mossman Gorge is located in the southern part of the World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park and contains some of the oldest rainforests on earth. While the diverse Atherton Tablelands boasts some of the best waterfalls and is a mixture of wetlands, rainforests, and geological wonders.
One day trip in the Atherton Tablelands we can personally recommend is a visit to Kuranda.
Great Barrier Reef Tour
Complete your trip to tropical north Queensland by visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Take a scenic helicopter flight over the Whitsunday Islands. Experience a sailing adventure stopping at unique locations. Visit the spectacular Outer Barrier Reef, or take a tour that includes visiting the Daintree Rainforest, plus the reef.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure
Only 15 minutes from Palm Cove in the Wangetti Valley visitors can see crocodiles up to 5 metres in length at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. Hartley’s is one of the longest continually operating attractions in Australia. There are regular wildlife presentations including a snake show, crocodile farm tour and the crocodile attack show. Entertaining and educational, Hartley’s is a great place for breakfast or lunch while learning about Australian wildlife.
Practical Information: Open daily 8.30 am – 5.00 pm
Road Trips from Palm Cove
If you enjoy travelling at your own pace, then this is when a car will be handy. Car hire Palm Cove options can be found here.
Driving Distance from Palm Cove
I have listed the driving distance from Palm Cove to nearby places of interest.
Palm Cove to Port Douglas – 42 minutes
Port Douglas’ location was always going to be a recipe for success as there are few places where natural and man-made ingredients are mixed to create a location that mirrors paradise. You are guaranteed one of the most scenic drives in Australia when you travel from Palm Cove to Port Douglas.
Palm Cove to Cairns – 35 minutes
Cairns is one of the major well-known cities in tropical north Queensland, and many of the attractions in and around Cairns allow you to take full advantage of the beautiful balmy weather. The man-made swimming lagoon on the Esplanade is one of those. Bask in the warm weather enjoying the stunning views, while taking a dip in the patrolled swimming enclosure. Cairns is known as having a thriving foodie scene, so once you worked up an appetite, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.
Palm Cove to Kuranda – 32 minutes
There are some different ways to reach the mountain village that is nestled in the Cairns’ tablelands, but for the ultimate experience, we recommend travelling via the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail. Once you reach Kuranda, you can spend a whole day wandering around the charming town, visiting their much-loved attractions such as the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Koala Gardens, and Bird World.
Palm Cove to Trinity Beach – 15 minutes
If you meet a Cairns local chances are they may tell you one of their favourite stomping grounds is Trinity Beach, with it being a place for families to enjoy the beach, beautiful surroundings, and patrolled swimming zone.
Do you have any questions about Palm Cove? Ask them in the comments below.
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