Palm Cove Beach: Best Visitors Guide 2024 (UPDATED)
Table of Contents
This article about visiting Palm Cove Beach in Tropical North Queensland is extensive. Therefore, I have included a table of contents to help you access the information you want more quickly. If you don’t want to read the whole article, simply click on the relevant link to navigate to what you want to see.
2. About Palm Cove Beach
3. Location and History
4. Things To Do in Palm Cove Beach
5. Other Beaches near Palm Cove
6. Best Time to Visit Palm Cove Beach
7. How to get to Palm Cove Beach
8. Where To Stay in Palm Cove Beach?
9. Where To Eat in Palm Cove Beach?
10. Spa and Wellness Retreats
After reading this article, I hope you’ll be motivated to check out this fantastic Far North Queensland beach.
The term paradise is often overused but in the case of the beach at Palm Cove, 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 surroundings 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 Coast, 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.
Set against a backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains, Palm Cove Beach boasts a gorgeous stretch of white sandy 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 northeast.
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.
Palm Cove is a coastal suburb of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland.
Located about 27 km north of the city centre 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 have 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 building the first road and the first beachfront structure. Which in turn led to 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! Before that, it was known as Double Island or Palm Beach. But as other places were already 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 in Palm Cove Beach
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 sunbathing. This includes water sports in Palm Cove like hiring kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, jet skis, kiteboards, snorkelling and diving.
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 stripey can all be 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 8.00 am – 2.00 pm.
Away from the beach, the area is blessed with many World Heritage spots just waiting to be explored. The Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest tours and Atherton Tablelands are all within easy reach by car or organised tour, as are Port Douglas and Cairns. Additionally, thee are plenty of wildlife in Far North Queensland tours you can go on.
If you are feeling brave, whilst not officially recognised as one, Buchan Point at Ellis Beach is a well-known nudist spot
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 of all beaches to Cairns and Holloways Beach, the closest of all patrolled Cairns Beaches.
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 local beach, which you are highly likely to have to yourself, while Mission Beach has 14km of golden beach to explore on the Cassowary Coast.
In Port Douglas, Four Mile Beach 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 recognised as one, Buchan Point at Ellis Beach is a well-known nudist spot.
Since Palm Cove Beach is located in Tropical North Queensland, 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 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 Coast, 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.
Distance from Palm Cove
Palm Cove Beach is located in Tropical North Queensland, about 1700 km 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, which runs an on-demand shuttle service and Sun Palm Transport, which offers 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.
Palm Cove is an excellent destination for foodies.
If you are planning a visit to Palm Cove Qld Beach, there is an excellent range of holiday accommodation options to fit most budgets and needs.
These include world-class 5-star resorts, boutique hotels, serviced apartment units near family-friendly beaches and coastal Palm Cove holiday rentals. Also, Palm Cove has a Caravan Park on the beachfront esplanade too.
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 these Palm Cove Resorts and beachfront accommodation providers have very been given a number of very favourable reviews across most hotel booking sites.
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 esplanade dining options in Palm Cove. All within easy walking distance of the main street.
Arguably the best of the lot is Nu Nu. Who offers 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, which offers 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 cocktail or casual dinner with Palm Cove sunset views. 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 and Palm Cove Marina offers alfresco dining with plenty of more affordable family-friendly meals, and those looking for fish and chips will not be disappointed with the options you will find in town too.
Best Spa Resorts in Palm Cove
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 beachside 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.
How Far Is Palm Cove Beach from Cairns?
Palm Cove Beach is located about 25 km from Cairns. It should take about 25 minutes to drive there from the CBD area.
Can you swim at Palm Cove Beach?
While you can swim all year round at Palm Cove Beach, it is best to stay within the stinger nets - especially during the period of November to May. Doing this will significantly reduce your chances of getting stung by jellyfish.
What is the best time of year to go to Palm Cove?
The best time of year to go to Palm Cove is between the months of April to November. This period is considered the dry season and provides nice warm weather while much of the rest of Australia is shivering through autumn and winter.
Is Palm Cove closer to Port Douglas or Cairns?
Palm Cove is slightly closer to Cairns than Port Douglas. It takes about 25 minutes to drive to Cairns and about 35 minutes to get to Port Douglas.
What is Palm Cove known for?
Palm Cove is one of Australia's most popular wedding destinations. There are a number of venues for beachfront weddings ranging from rooftop terraces to small beachfront chapels in the area. The main esplanade at Palm Cove also features 500 year old Melaleuca trees.