Palm Cove is one of the Northern Beaches, about 20 minutes north of Cairns. Although there are some top class hotel and restaurants there, it hasn’t been ruined by development and retains a very casual, laid-back vibe.
The bulk of the commercial properties lie along Williams Esplanade facing directly out to the Coral Sea. All along the Esplanade the foreshore is fringed with tropical gardens and palm trees.
The magnificent Melaleuca (paperbark) trees have been cleverly incorporated into the landscape design of various hotels, shops and restaurants. Even the road itself is laid-back with traffic islands and carefully placed curves and speed humps to keep the traffic at snails’ pace.
We were booked in at the Mantra Amphora through our timeshare, with an apartment facing the central pool area. It was a fantastic apartment with huge open-plan kitchen and living room, and a balcony with table and chairs, perfect for breakfasts, since we prefer to eat in.
The pool itself was rather warm, as they tend to be in the tropics, and the jacuzzi was almost unwarranted given the heat and humidity of the climate in December. The resort had a restaurant which was always well patronised, but we found others which suited us better.
Our meal at Nunu was beautifully presented and inventive in its use of ingredients, but the serves were a bit small considering the price. Staff were very friendly and helpful and the view from the outside deck right on the foreshore of swaying palms and ocean was magnificent, even as dark settled, with the moonlight playing on the sea in the distance. The other restaurant worth mentioning was the Lime and Pepper at Peppers Beach Club.
They served a fantastic tasting platter for two at a very reasonable price. Along with a couple of cold beers and a Mojito, this was really sufficient for us both as dinner. All it needed was an ice-cream to follow as we walked along the Esplanade and out to the pier to enjoy the cooler breezes and evening lights along the foreshore.
One aspect of a tropical beach holiday that most people look forward to, is to swim at any point along the magnificent white sandy beaches. Because of the protection afforded by the Great Barrier Reef, the waves are modest and the water is shallow for some distance out. However the reef also brings with it the problem of the Stingers – quite dangerous jelly-fish known as the Box Jellyfish and Irukandji Jellyfish. These have long trailing tentacles which can sting you even if you are some distance from the body of the creature. Stings are extremely painful, causing scarring, nausea, abdominal and joint pain, and hospitalisation is required for treatment.
So along the beach there are containers of vinegar for first aid and signs warning of their expected presence at certain times of the year. Unfortunately, this is right during the summer months. To combat this, the towns along the coast provide swimming enclosures made from a floating barrier with nets reaching the sand which keep out the majority of stingers and their tentacles. The signs also note that crocodiles have been known to appear along the coast, particularly if there are estuaries with mangrove swamps nearby. Apart from a trip out to Green Island, we stuck to swimming in the hotel pool!
Palm Cove is also the proud owner of a top class golf course – Paradise Palms. Hubby made sure to get in a round one morning before it became too hot. It is a beautifully manicured course and club house with its own resort next door.
- Tropical North Queensland (aroundtheworldwithliz.com)
- Inspire Magazine – tropical North Queensland adventure (houseoftravel.co.nz)
- Sea turtles released near Great Barrier Reef after rehabilitation – video (theguardian.com)