Take a break, Queensland style, with these must-try activities in the tropical north.

Go troppo

Spending time outdoors is one of the great attractions of Palm Cove. The town, 30 minutes north of Cairns in Far North Queensland, enjoys tropical warm weather year-round and is a perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Hotels such as The Reef House provide bikes, fishing rods and sketching kits so you can enjoy the best Palm Cove has to offer. In the early evening, locals and tourists alike head to the far end of Palm Cove Jetty and throw out a line.

Explore on two wheels

Imagine yourself cycling down a secluded bike path; you’re surrounded by mangroves on one side and lush green hills on the other. The beach is two minutes to your left and the sun is dappled as it filters through the trees. Oh, did I mention the temperature is a perfect 26°C? The cove is relatively flat so the riding is easy and, just past the Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa, you’ll find a dedicated cycleway. Just keep an eye out for the saltwater crocodile that sometimes emerges from the mangroves… according to locals, he won’t eat much as long as you leave him alone.


Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is a must and the best local island to start with is Green Island. A 50-minute ferry ride out of Cairns, Green Island has white sandy beaches, an informative eco-walk and glass-bottom-boat tours – a great way to view the coral and sea life under water if you don’t want to get wet. You can also snorkel off the beach so it’s ideal for families and the aquatically challenged.

Take a sunset stroll

Pack your camera and go for a walk along the beachfront. In the evenings, a gentle breeze rolls in and takes the temperature down to a mild 24°C, which makes for pleasant walking conditions. As you wander, keep an eye out for the warning signs (crocodile sightings and jellyfish first aid) and bottles of vinegar dotted along the beach. While serious in nature, the signs are a great Aussie photo op for out-of-towners.

Five Things to Do in Palm Cove

Relax at a spa

Amp up the R&R by spending some time at a day spa. There are seven to choose from in the Palm Cove area, each offering a unique experience. The Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore spa treatments take place in open-air pavilions overlooking the ocean, while The Reef House day spa does romantic couple’s treatments.


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