Palm Cove Beach: A Tropical North Queensland Beach Paradise

Palm Cove Beach


Palm Cove Beach in Tropical North Queensland


The term paradise is often overused but in the case of Palm Cove Beach it is quite justified.

Nestled in between Cairns and Port Douglas, this sleepy, tranquil beachside village is the perfect base to connect with both yourself and the stunning surrounds of nature.

Palm Cove Beach is an idyllic place to visit. Defined by its long stretch of pristine beach and the sapphire waters of the Coral Sea, it also features palm trees that line the idyllic coastline, and the 500-year-old melaleuca trees that line the cobbled waterfront esplanade.

Offering endless opportunities to refresh the body, mind and spirit, it appeals to tourists from all over the world for its world class accommodations, beautiful scenery and magnificent year-round tropical sunshine.

Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Queensland, many people from other states in Australia also choose to own holiday homes near Palm Cove Beach because its charming, laid back vibe offers the perfect retreat to get away from it all and rest and rejuvenate.


About Palm Cove Beach

Palm Cove Beach was once awarded the title of Queensland’s Friendliest Beach. Which speaks volumes for how fabulous it is.

The most northern of Cairns suburban beaches, it is undoubtedly the most beautiful of them all too.

Set against a backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains, Palm Cove Beach boasts a gorgeous stretch of white sandy beach.

It lies at the northern end of a 5.5 km long beach that runs south from Buchan Point, where it faces east, through to Clifton Beach and beyond to Kewarra Beach, where it faces north-east.

So it is the perfect beach to walk on.

A very quiet beach, you will find plenty of spots along the way to lay down a towel, or set down a chair and enjoy the peace and quiet of a relaxing Tropical North Queensland beach day.


Location & History

Palm Cove is a coastal suburb of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland.

Located about 27 km north of the city of Cairns. It is named after the palm trees that line the beach.

Situated in the Djabugay (Tjapukai) traditional Aboriginal country, Palm Cove is believed to been inhabited as far back as 60,000 years.

The first documented British visit to the area was by a coastal expedition led by George Elphinstone Dalrymple in 1873 – who shortly after they arrived were attacked by members of the local indigenous community, whom they successfully repelled.

Over the subsequent years ownership of the area now recognized as Palm Cove is believed to have changed hands a number of times. But one of the most noteworthy owners, and the first known person to own it outright, is Archdeacon Campbell. Believed to be the man responsible for planting the iconic palm trees the town was named after.

Shortly before World War I in 1918, the land was bought by Albert Veivers, who was instrumental in having the first road built and also building the first beach front structure. Which in turn led to an increased prosperity in the area due to rising property prices.

During World War II, Palm Cove was used as a training base for Australian soldiers. This saw islands just off the coast, like Double Island and Haycock Island being used as training targets, which led to the presence of mines in the area from the missiles used.

It wasn’t until after the war ended that the number of people travelling to Palm Cove as a holiday destination began to increase.

In 1958 the iconic Reef House was constructed. Originally constructed by a bookmaker from Cairns, the Reef House was initially a private family home. But after a sale to a property syndicate it operated as a restaurant with limited garden suite accommodation. By 1972 The Honourable David Thomson bought the Reef House as a private residence and it continued to be that until it was eventually turned into the 5-Star Luxury Colonial Style Boutique Hotel it is today.

In 1980 arguably the most significant thing happened in the area. Palm Cove got its name! Prior to that it was known either Double Island or Palm Beach. But as there were already other places nearby with the same name, it was decided that a new name was needed.

By 1986 the opening of the Ramada Reef Resort signified the first international hotel chain to be located in Palm Cove, which really put the town on the map as a tourist destination. Setting the path for many other hotels and resorts to be built.


Things To Do

Palm Cove is blessed with a plenty of sights, attractions and activities to keep you occupied during your stay there.

The beach is an obvious drawcard and there are plenty of things to do there other than sunbathe. This includes water activities like hiring kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, jet skis, snorkeling and kiteboards.

For a magnificent start to your day, hire a kayak on the beach and paddle out to watch the sunrise from a stoic ocean that is quiet and still.

If fishing is your thing head to the Palm Cove jetty, which juts out between Ellis and Clifton Beach. Mackerel is the most common species of fish caught here but the likes of whiting, flathead and stripeys can all being hooked.

Shopping lovers should find the upscale boutiques, opal and jewellery stores, gift shops and galleries dotted around town an interesting distraction, while kids will love the beachfront playground.

If you are visiting Palm Cove Beach on the 1st Sunday of the month between April and December, the Palm Cove Markets take place along Williams Esplanade from 8.00am – 2.00pm.

Away from the beach the area is blessed with many World Heritage spots just waiting to be explored. The Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands are all within easy reach by car or organized tour, as is Port Douglas and Cairns.


Palm Cove Beach in Tropical North Queensland


Other Beaches in the Area

If you are looking to visit other beaches in the area there are a number of other options you can head too.

These include Machans Beach, the closest beach to Cairns and Holloways Beach, the closest patrolled beach to Cairns.

Also Trinity Beach which enjoys a stunning location nestled between two headlands, Yorkey’s Knob, a great beach for families and Kewarra Beach with its iconic palm trees are all great to check out too.

Clifton’s Beach is a pristine locals beach, which you are highly likely to have to yourself, while Mission Beach has 14km of golden beach to explore on the Cassowary Coast.

Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas has a lovely curve of family-friendly beach and is probably the most iconic beach in the locality.

If you are feeling brave, whilst not officially recognized as one, Buchan Point at Ellis Beach is a well-known nudist spot.


Best Time to Visit

Since Palm Cove Beach is located in a tropical climate, it is a Queensland holiday destination you can go to all year round.

The weather is pretty good throughout the year, though the months that are likely to experience the most rainfall are December through to April.

In terms of average minimum and maximum temperatures, the seasons are as follows:

Summer (December – February) Average Temperature 23ºC – 31 ºC

Autumn (March – May) Average Temperature 22 ºC – 29 ºC

Winter (June – August) Average Temperature 17 ºC – 26 ºC

Spring (September – November) Average Temperature 20 ºC / 29 ºC

If you want to swim in the Coral Sea, the best time to do that is between April and October.

From around November through to March, Palm Cove Beach becomes home to the box jellyfish. So to protect yourself you should always swim in the special stinger nets swimming enclosures that are erected at the beach.


Getting There

Palm Cove Beach is located in Tropical North Queensland, about 1700kms from Brisbane.

It takes around 20 hours to drive here from the state capital. So, many people choose to stop somewhere like Airlie Beach or Mackay overnight and do the transit over 2 days.

If you would prefer to fly, all the major domestic airlines including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Air offer in most cases multiple regular, daily flights into Cairns from various destinations.

Palm Cove is about a 30-minute drive north of Cairns. From the airport you can hire a car from any of the car hire companies that operate out of the terminal.

There are also regular shuttle services to Palm Cove from both Cairns Airport and the city of Cairns. Two of them are Exemplar, who run an on-demand shuttle service and Sun Palm Transport, who offer a timetabled service with regular departures.

Taxis are aplenty from both the airport and the Cairns city centre, while most hotel and resort providers arrange free pick up and drop off shuttle buses so you don’t have to worry about getting to and from the airport.



If you are planning a visit to Palm Cove Beach, there are an excellent range of holiday accommodation options to fit most budgets and needs.

These include world class 5-star resorts, boutique hotels, serviced family apartment units and coastal holiday homes. Also Palm Cove has a Caravan Park on the beachfront esplanade too.

You can use the search box below to find the best holiday accommodation deals currently available.

However some of the accommodation providers to look out for are the Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa, the Paradise on the Beach Resort, Sanctuary Palm Cove and the Mantra Amphora.

All of which have very been given a number of very favourable reviews across most hotel booking sites.


Dining Options

Palm Cove is an excellent destination for foodies.

Ranging from deluxe, 5-star fine dining restaurants to hip, eclectic cafes, there are more than 25 eating options in Palm Cove. All within easy walking distance of the main street.

Arguably the best of the lot is Nu Nu. Who offer an innovative modern Australian local seafood tasting menu with matching wines, that has seen them awarded the title of Australia’s best regional restaurant.

Other great places to eat include Beach Almond, who offer beautifully presented Asian seafood, and Vivo, which enjoys a gorgeous outdoor deck dining setting showcasing panoramic views over Double Island.

The Rising Sun is a great place to enjoy a sunset cocktail or casual dinner. While the Chill Café at the Portofino Palm Cove serves delicious Italian inspired food from an ideal beachfront position.

The Surf Club Palm Cove, located near the jetty offers alfresco dining with plenty of more affordable family friendly meals, and these looking for fish and chips will not be disappointed with the options you will find in town too.


Spa Treatments

Palm Cove has been labelled the spa capital of Australia. Infact it has so many spas in the town that its main street has been dubbed ‘Spa Street’.

Should you fancy a massage or treatment, many of the spas and wellness retreats offer specialised menus that incorporate native Australian ingredients, much of which are sourced in the local area.

They also provide serene settings, like rooms in the rainforest or open-air beach side pavilions, in which to enjoy them.

One of the most notable spas in the area is the Peppers Day Spa. Part of the exquisite resort of the same name, it boasts an award-winning sanctum, where all treatments begin with an ancient foot ritual and an Aboriginal smoking ceremony.

Close by, the Palm Cove Retreat Day Spa at the Mantra Amphora resort, specialises in a range of treatments including Elemis body wraps, massage, anti-ageing facials, exotic body treatments, manicures and pedicures.

Another great place to check out is the Alamanda Resort & Spa. Located in the award-winning Reef House it offers a stylish beachfront sanctuary with open-air treatment rooms and a private plunge pool.


Palm Trees at Palm Cove in Tropical North Queensland


Your 14 Day Guide to a Gold Coast Beach Holiday
The Ultimate list of 36 Awesome Sunshine Coast Beaches!


Welcome to Beach Scenes

Hi! My name is Spencer and I have created Beach Scenes to help you find the perfect travel destination for your beach holiday in Queensland.

I hope the reviews and recommendations on my site inspire you to book an Australia Queensland vacation!

Follow Beach Scenes

Join our VIP Beach Club
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content from Beach Scenes!
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.