Palm Cove is a tourist oriented, beach town - just north of Cairns.
Palm Cove is newly developed cluster of hotels, modern apartments and restaurants, on the beach about 30 minutes drive north of Cairns, set on a sandy beach. It could almost be seen as the northern limit of suburban Cairns. It avoids the crowds and some higher-density development that is Port Douglas, its northern neighbour.
It is immediately adjacent to the residential suburb of Clifton Beach, but you could easily stay there for a month and never be aware of this.
Once of the most common questions asked by visitors to the area, is whether to stay in Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Some of the factors to consider are:
- Reef tours leave from Cairns or Port Douglas. Although you can get a pickup or drive from Palm Cove, you'll spend an extra hour or so each side to get back to your accommodation
- Palm Cove only has a small supermarket, and a small range of restaurants and food. Port Douglas has a quaint shopping village with a variety of fashion, food and curiosities
- Palm Cove has public transportation to Cairns. Transfers from Port Douglas to Cairns are expensive
- Palm Cove is more compact, and you can get to the beach and shops from almost any accommodation there by foot. Port Douglas accommodation is very spread out, and you may find it a hassle without a car
- Port Douglas has the marina and beach side, which add a bit of diversity over Palm Cove that only fronts onto the beach
- Both have patrolled beaches with stinger nets up in season.
From Cairns it is a half hour taxi ride to Palm Cove. The Cairns local bus service runs to the town surprisingly frequently, every half an hour or so. Cairns has scheduled flights from most Australian capital cities, and some overseas destinations.
Palm Cove is easy to walk around. There is a walking/cycling track to Clifton Beach that will take around half an hour. Ignore the nice "rainforest walk" map distributed around town, which is a 20 metre walk designed to take you to the newer apartment developments. Head the opposite direction, south, along the beach for much better bush, beach, and walking opportunities.
- Jet Ski Hire
- Swim - there are stinger nets in season. Beach is patrolled. Many of the hotels have pools.
Supermarkets in Palm Cove are small and expensive. Souvenir shops abound. Neighbouring Clifton Beach offers non-tourist oriented shops and prices.
Palm Cove lines the beach, with wide choice of dining. Go for a wander and take your pick, even in high season you are unlikely to miss out on a table. If you are on a budget, there are a few take-away and cheaper choices as well.
There is a pub in the centre of town, or numerous hotels and bars to choose from.
There is a choice of high-end accommodation in Palm Cove, but there are some value family apartments available as well. There is competition here, expect good value. Expect some great deals out of season.
The town is modern, and tourist oriented. Internet terminals are not hard to come by. Mobile service and 3G data are available from all networks.