There’s more to Palm Cove than the trees! We always speak fondly of Palm Cove as it was such a wonderful holiday experience. The little beachside community is just 25 minutes north to the city of Cairns or 35 minutes south of the holiday town of Port Douglas. This tropical gem can be seen as a hub to visit both, but as you’ll see from our list below of things to do in Palm Cove, it’s an ideal place for families seeking adventure and excitement or some R&R. Whatever the reason for your visit you can be sure you’ll leave feeling refreshed and energized.
This post contains affiliate links – Article Updated January 2019
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.
From Cairns to Palm Cove, you can choose to rent a car or take an airport bus transfer.
There are often great deals for flying to Cairns from your nearest Australian capital city, so sign up to your favourite carrier so you will receive their special offers.
DRIVE – Palm Cove is 1,700kms north of Brisbane, which is approximately a 19-hour drive and normally driven over a couple of days or more stopping at some of the lovely Queensland towns in-between.
Now once you have reached this picturesque location, you are going to want to know what to do in Palm Cove and what you can see around the area. I have listed 10 things to do in Palm Cove and the surrounding areas for families.
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 by CLICKING ON IMAGE BELOW.
- 1 PALM COVE THINGS TO DO
- 2 DAY TOURS – BEST THINGS TO DO FROM PALM COVE
- 3 DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PALM COVE
- 4 PALM COVE ACCOMMODATION
- 5 PALM COVE WEATHER
PALM COVE THINGS TO DO
ESPLANADE WALK OR BIKE RIDE
Williams Esplanade is one of the busiest and 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.
Images courtesy – Tourism and Events Queensland
If you manage to arrange some adult time and want a way to relax, one of the best things to do in Palm Cove is to indulge at one of the many day spas along Williams Esplanade or in the village of Palm Cove. With so many options to choose from why not be pampered more than once!
I’m a big fan of reading reviews as word of mouth is so important when it comes to spa experiences. Here are some suggestions that I found via Tripadvisor of where to start looking for your own wellness experience in Palm Cove.
- The Spa Palm Cove
- Tropical Day Spa
- Palm Cove Retreat Day Spa
- Peppers Spa
PALM COVE RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
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 Dining Options
The Palm Cove Surf Club – Located towards to 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 along with $4.75 kids meals between 5 pm and 6 pm – including a free icy pole.
Another positive about dining here is you are also contributing to the community as it supports the Palm Cove life saving club.
Chill Cafe – Situated south of Williams Esplanade. This café is rated in the top 5 restaurants on Tripadvisor for a good reason. Their beachfront position is the ideal setting for holidaymakers to enjoy the tropical weather while eating delicious food. Open from 6 am for those early risers until late in the evening for those wanting to try their craft beers and cocktails. Chill Café serves everything from classics to specials, sweet and savory, and is well renowned for its specialty smoothies and thick shakes.
Speaking from experience, their special “thick shakes” are ahhhmazing!
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 boutique privately fashion outlets, opal stores, art galleries, gift stores and jewellery shops located throughout the town and along Williams Esplanade.
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. As our visit was in April, we did not swim at the beach, but it was still enjoyed. We woke early and took in the sunrise over the ocean, enjoyed a book under a coconut palm and searched for seashells in the sand.
PALM COVE ACTIVITIES
With the temptation of the ocean at your front door, there are many other ways to enjoy the water such as hiring kayaks, catamarans, paddle wheel bikes, jet skis, and kite surfing. You’ll find many of the companies set up along Williams Esplanade waiting to assist you with exciting outdoor adventures.
Renowned for its fishing follow the pristine golden beach curves towards the northern end of the village stopping at the long jetty or cast your rod right off the beach. The most common species of fish that are caught from the jetty is Mackerel, but there are also lots of smaller species for the kids to catch.
Image courtesy – Tourism and Events Queensland
FUN THINGS TO DO IN PALM COVE FOR KIDS
There are not many enclosed playgrounds where you can watch the waves lapping the beach while the kids play on the swings, slides, and diggers. We became very familiar with this playground as it was something we normally walked past each day and of course there is NO such thing as walking past a playground.
BARBEQUE BY THE BEACH
One of the most quintessential things to do in Australia is to have a barbeque, and they are even more popular when located beachside. There are many public barbeques scattered along the esplanade hidden under palm trees and tropical ferns.
RELAX AT YOUR RESORT
Palm Cove has a large number of accommodation styles, such as 3 to 5-star resorts, hotels, holiday apartments, and holiday homes. Many you’ll find on the esplanade overlooking the pristine beach with a rainforest backdrop.
When searching for accommodation, you will discover many places you can stay 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.
DAY TOURS – BEST THINGS TO DO 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. There are companies throughout Palm Cove that can assist with booking tours. The tours can range from water sports over to the nearby islands, to a Great Barrier Reef cruise from Cairns or Port Douglas.
DAY TRIPS FROM CAIRNS
Fitzroy Island Day Tour – Fitzroy Island is a 339-hectare island that has spectacular walking trails and is teeming with marine and local wildlife. Around a 45 minute cruise from Cairns choose from a half or full day trip, where you can walk through the rainforest, swim in the crystal clear water, snorkel over coral reefs and build sandcastles on one of the most beautiful beaches in north Queensland.
Daintree Rainforest to Cape Tribulation – You will need a full day, to see some of the areas around Port Douglas. If you want to take your time and experience this area, I’d suggest staying in one of the local resorts or hotels, but if time is not on your side, you can still discover the beauty of the area in a day trip. 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. Moving on to Cape Tribulation is where two World Heritage areas meet – the rainforest of the Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit the Village of Kuranda – One day trip we can personally recommend is a visit to Kuranda on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Kuranda Skyrail. It is one of the highlights of our trip, and you can read all about our experience below.
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.
Image courtesy – Tourism and Events Queensland
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.
Palm Cove to Mission Beach – 2 hours, 15 minutes
If you are taking a road trip up to Palm Cove, then you may like to stop at Mission Beach on your way. Made up of four villages this impressive natural environment will have you wishing you stayed longer with activities ranging from the adventurous to the indulgent.
PALM COVE ACCOMMODATION
The Mantra Amphora is south on Williams Esplanade and was recommended to us by friends. As a family of three, we found it’s location convenient, the self-contained apartment rooms comfortable, and it had a superb pool for kids of all ages. It was also one of the more reasonably priced places to stay when comparing the Palm Cove resorts, which is why it is listed in the top ten places of the best value on Tripadvisor.
If you want to compare accommodation as there are ample to choose from in Palm Cove, I recommend searching Booking.com for the best Palm Cove accommodation deals.
PALM COVE WEATHER
Palm Cove Average Monthly Maximum & Minimum Temperatures
Summer – Temperature ranging from 22 – 30 C Rainfall – 175 – 435 mm
Autumn – Temperature ranging from 19 – 29 C Rainfall – 99 – 424 mm
Winter – Temperature ranging from 16 – 25 C Rainfall – 27 – 49 mm
Spring – Temperature ranging from 18 – 29 C Rainfall – 35-89 mm
I always suggest visiting the Bureau of Meteorology for more weather information before visiting a location. This will also help you decide what to pack for your trip.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND?
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