Ultimate Palm Cove Experience: Top 10 Things to do in Palm Cove for an Unforgettable Three Day Stay!

​Unlock the ultimate Palm Cove experience with this top 10 must do things to do in Palm Cove for an unforgettable three day stay. You’ll enjoy an unforgettable holiday in this culinary haven, with tranquil beachfront promenades, pampering spa escapes, and a captivating road trip through Atherton Tableland!  There are good reasons why Palm Cove has been named Best Beach in the World by Conde Nast Traveller.  

Things to do in Palm Cove Queensland

Palm Cove is about 27 kilometres north of Cairns in North Queensland. Centuries-old Paperbark Melaleuca trees line the casual esplanade that is the suburb’s hallmark, creating a relaxed ambience that’s hard to resist.  A Palm Cove short break has it all, but on a small scale, so there’s no danger of being lost in the crowd.  There’s a reliable selection of restaurants, a plethora of spas, boutique shopping and a long stretch of golden, palm tree-lined beach.  It’s also a perfectly positioned jumping-off point for reef or hinterland activities.

Here’s how to spend those three days, from breakfast through lunch and dinner. You might want to just lie around, but just in case, I have included plenty of activities too.

Things to do in Palm Cove kayaks on the beach
Beachfront walk at Palm Cove

Escape to captivating Palm Cove for an unforgettable three-day retreat filled with relaxation, indulgence, and exploration.



Drive or fly into Cairns and pick up a hire car and take the road north towards Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation.  Palm Cove is about 25 minutes’ drive from Cairns, and with a right-hand turn and quick drive through the ‘burbs, you’ll be cruising down the esplanade thinking you’ve found a bit of heaven!

The beachfront here reminds me of the best things about Bali, minus the beach sellers and crowds. You stroll along a palm tree-shaded foreshore with a golden sand beach lapped by gentle waves on the shoreline.  It’s picture-perfect.


Must do 1 – Watch the sunset at Palm Cove ticks all the boxes. If your room faces the beach, you’ll have a glorious view any time of the day. Take a sunset stroll along the length of Williams Esplanade and see why Palm Cove is one of Queensland’s most famous beaches.  Walk along the boardwalk to the end of the jetty and see what the local fishermen will be enjoying for dinner fresh from the ocean. Don’t walk on the beach at night in case of crocodiles.

Must do 2 – Dine at NuNu Restaurant! Award-winning NuNu Restaurant offers a menu featuring local and regional flavours that will delight your palate. It is my favourite place to eat in Palm Cove for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Dine almost on the beach amidst tropical gardens and swaying palm trees.  The menu changes frequently, but you might be able to tuck into wok-fried local mud crab, smoked red emperor and shaved heart of palm salad.  The food here is as colourful and dramatic as the landscape outside.

Must do 3 – Fall asleep lulled by the gentle sound of waves lapping the beach.

Day 2


Must do 4 – Have breakfast looking at the beach. You don’t have to go far to find breakfast in Palm Cove, with NuNu offering a range of delicious, innovative tastes.  If you are looking for something more standard, like bacon and eggs done very well and great coffee, try Espresso Co on the Esplanade.  It’s always busy, but the turnover is quick, and the service is good.

Must do 5 – Explore the region. You’ll want to get on the road fairly early as there’s so much to explore on a road trip through the Atherton Tablelands, sampling locally made coffee, cheese, chocolate, liqueur and more on a Taste of the Tropics Mountain Tablelands Food Trail.   You’re in the deli of the tropics, and the region’s food bowl is yours to savour and experience. Share the bounty and discover how good fresh food tastes! Download the Taste Paradise trail app and head off towards Mareeba. Your first stop will be Mt Uncle Distillery, where you must taste their Sexy Cat Marshmallow Liqueur.  Try, and you’ll buy the strawberry jam at Shaylee’s  Strawberry Farm and the same with the chocolates and cheese at Gallo Dairyland.  Put some award-winning Gallo Tilsit and Gruyere in your take-home bag or start putting together a grazing platter for holiday snacks!


Must do 6 – Spot a platypus! Continue on the trail, but make sure to stop at The Australian Platypus Park Smokehouse Cafe, where there is an excellent opportunity to spot a platypus and try locally smoked products.  Take a turn into the rich green grass hills to find Mungalli Creek Dairy, a family-run business producing award-winning biodynamic organic dairy products.  Coffee and a slice of the quark cheesecake with jersey cream will undoubtedly keep you sustained on the way back to Palm Cove.


For a pre or post-dinner drink, take a detour up the stairs at Palm Cove Shopping Village (also on Williams Esplanade) and find Third on the Left Wine Bar.  Make sure you read their highly amusing rules.  If you’d rather go Spanish, head to Miguel’s in Palm Cove, and enjoy tapas favorites like Spanish jamón and grilled octopus, paired with local ingredients, at tables that overlook the Coral Sea. This tapas bar and restaurant features Spanish wines to complement the evening menu and is open from Wednesday to Sunday.

Vivo on the esplanade is a great spot for dinner, but be sure to book.  We just had their local fish and chips special, and it came with a big piece of battered coral trout, caper mayo and perfectly cooked chips. It’s always busy, so be sure to book.


If you would rather head north, try this fabulous Great Barrier Reef Drive, which will take you through the Daintree as far as Cape Tribulation. It’s an easy day trip from Palm Cove.  Your third option is to take a right-hand turn off the Great Barrier Reef Drive and explore Port Douglas.  It has plenty of charms to enjoy.

Third from the Left House Rules Palm Cove
things to do in Palm Cove
Breakfast at NuNu Palm Cove
Breakfast at NuNu Palm Cove
Beachfront Palm Cove.

Day 3


Breakfast at Garage on the beachfront at Palm Cove, where flavours from around the world are on the menu. Brunch is served until 3 pm. After starting as an all-day breakfast and brunch café, they recently added a dinner menu a. Tarragon spiked whitebait fritti, torched yellowfin tuna curry leaf confit leeks, and grilled brussels sprouts with mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke cream. These treats can be enjoyed after 5 pm.

For a healthy breakfast, try 27 Degrees, a little hidden cafe that serves Allpress coffee and acai bowls.  It’s highly rated on TripAdvisor.

Must do 8 – Yoga on the beach.  Picture this: You are standing under the palms while waves crash on the shore just a few feet away, saluting the sun! Join a Hartig Yoga class. 

Must do 7 – Spa treatment. Palm Cove is one of Australia’s spa capitals and you’ll find there are plenty of options for a relaxing massage or treatment.  My favourite spot is L.M. Spa on the rooftop of Alamanda Palm Cove.


Must do 9 – See a crocodile!  The best place to see a crocodile is Hartleys Crocodile Adventures which is a 15-minute drive north of Palm Cove and have a crocodile burger for lunch at Lilies Bistro! Fashionistas might also find it hard to resist the range of crocodile skin bags.


Must do 10 – Enjoy your own local tasting platter with a sunset view. Now it’s time to bring out some of those great food finds over the past two days and create your own platter to enjoy.  If you need any more produce for your platter, check the shelves at Pete’s Place for local goodies.

For dinner head back to Palm Cove Village to El Greco Taverna for a taste of Greece in Palm Cove.

sunrise on the beach Palm Cove
Drift Palm Cove

Drift Palm Cove

Say goodbye!

Time to bid a bittersweet farewell to the stunning Palm Cove! Packing those sun-soaked memories and sandy souvenirs, I reluctantly shuffle forward on my journey. But oh, what relaxation I enjoyed in the heart of tropical North Queensland sippin’ cocktails under the swaying palms, enjoying the easy-breezy vibes of Palm Cove. 

From seafood delights that would make Poseidon jealous to tropical concoctions that infused the very essence of vacation into our taste buds – Palm Cove, you’ve spoiled me in every delicious way imaginable.

As I wistfully peer back at the coastline, a part of me wonders, “Can’t I just set up camp here forever?” But life’s tides tug me forward, promising more adventures beyond the palm-fringed horizon. Same time next year, you say? Oh, it’s not a question – it’s a promise! 

For this visit, I stayed at Drift Palm Cove on Williams Esplanade, just across from the beach. We booked and paid for a two-bedroom apartment, which was very spacious.

Just so you know – no part of this holiday was hosted or sponsored! 

Kerry Heaney in Monet in Paris photo garden

Written by Kerry Heaney

Meet Kerry Heaney, an intrepid gastronomic explorer, travelling the globe one delectable bite at a time. Drawing on two decades of experience, she unveils hidden culinary gems and palate-pleasing dishes for your indulgence. A seasoned writer and editor, Kerry's travel stories feature in print and online travel publications, and her food odyssey continues at Eat drink and be Kerry. Follow her escapades on Facebook or join on her latest adventures via Instagram. Kerry's passions include savouring oysters, indulging in art, embracing aquatic experiences, and delighting in new culinary discoveries every time.

Related Articles


Bossley Bar and Restaurant rib eye
Follow Ed+bK


Subscribe For Updates & Offers

Don’t miss another update. Get your food and travel news from someone who has been writing about it for more than five minutes straight in

Share your thoughts on Eat, Drink, and Be Kerry! We'd love to hear from you. Join the conversation and let us know what's on your mind.

Eat Drink and Be Kerry is your trusted source for unbiased and expertly curated content that feeds your curiosity and enriches your culinary and travel experiences.

Kerry Heaney
Kerry Heaney,
Freelance Writer and Content Producer,
Publishing Editor, Eat drink and be Kerry.

At Eat Drink and Be Kerry, our editorial policy is founded on the principles of authenticity, quality, and trustworthiness. We are dedicated to providing our readers with unbiased, informative, and engaging content that revolves around the world of food, travel, and culinary experiences.

Our team of passionate writers and experts adheres to rigorous editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content is meticulously researched, fact-checked, and free from external influence.

We maintain editorial independence, which means our opinions and recommendations are driven solely by the merit and relevance of the subject matter. Transparency is paramount to us, and we clearly disclose any potential conflicts of interest or sponsorships to maintain the integrity of our content.

© Kerry Heaney and Eat Drink and be Kerry. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kerry Heaney and Eat Drink and be Kerry with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.