We have just returned from a magical 9-day family holiday in stunning Palm Cove.
Palm Cove is a small coastal village in far north Queensland, an easy 25-minute drive north of Cairns Airport.
Palm Cove is located right on the Coral Sea and it couldn’t be a more relaxing destination for a family holiday with a picture-perfect beach and an array of amazing resorts, dining and shopping boutiques right on your doorstep.
This was our family's second holiday in Palm Cove, but the first since I started the blog so I thought I would take this opportunity to share all the details of this beautiful destination, including the hotels we stayed at and also offer some tips of where to eat and what to do in beautiful Palm Cove!
Where to stay - Pullman Palm Cove
There is no shortage of accommodation options in Palm Cove and we stayed at two stunning properties.
We stayed in a Penthouse Spa Apartment which are two-storey apartments with rooftop spa and BBQ. These apartments are so spacious and our apartment offered stunning views from the rooftop (and also from the kids’ bedroom) over the Coral Sea.
We arrived late on the Thursday night and received the warmest welcome from the hotel in our suite – there was a personalized tropical sign for Ava and Alex, board games and books for the kids to enjoy during our stay, sweets and (for Pete and I) a bottle of wine, Gallo cheese board and fruit plate. What a welcome to the tropics!
This was the stunning view from our balcony. (And I couldn't resist taking some sweet surprises along on the trip for the little ones, they loved these cookies from Sprinkle Shack in Sydney.)
There are three stunning pools to enjoy and we enjoyed all three! There is a fabulous shallow kids pool, a lap pool and the enormous lagoon pool, plus two spas (one that is for the kids!) There is also direct beach access onto the stunning Coral Sea so you’ve got the best of both worlds.
Pullman Sea Temple offers a fantastic ‘Resortology’ Program and in the school holidays there is entertainment for the kids. During our stay we enjoyed a visit from Flip The Magician, they had a visit from the Zoo on another morning (and got to hold a baby crocodile and a python), and on our final morning they got to make some Pebble Art. There was also daily ice cream tastings for the kids too.
The hotel has a poolside fine-dining restaurant, Temple Of Tastes, as a well as the super relaxed Lagoon Bar.
The food at the hotel is magnificent, everything we tasted from Room Service, through to early dinners in the Lagoon Bar, to the incredible desserts in Temple of Tastes was exceptional. In fact, for our four days at Pullman we didn’t eat anywhere else! The little ones were well looked after with a fantastic kids menu which included some special desserts.
The Lagoon Bar was definitely our favourite spot and can you believe there is even an Aperol Spritz Bar? You had me at Hello! This fun drinks cart, which is the only one in Cairns, is set up poolside at The Lagoon Bar. The Lagoon Bar offers delicious all-day dining and is super family friendly, with a fabulous mocktails menu and board games to enjoy while you wait for your meals.
Pullman Palm Cove has been designed for luxurious and super relaxing family holidays and we couldn’t recommend it more highly. To book your stay at Pullman Palm Cove visit www.pullmanpalmcove.com.au.
Where to stay - Peppers Beach Club & Spa
The second hotel we stayed at was Peppers Beach Club & Spa which is located at the northern end of Williams Esplanade, right opposite the beach and playground. We had stayed at Peppers Beach Club in Port Douglas, but this was our first stay at Peppers Palm Cove and it was fabulous.
This stunning luxury resort is popular with families due to the sandy lagoon pool and proximity to the playground, beach and restaurants along the esplanade.
We stayed in a 2-bedroom spa apartment which was an interconnecting studio apartment (complete with spa on the balcony) and a one-bedroom apartment.
The hotel also has some ocean front apartments, some with plunge pools for the ultimate indulgence in the tropics.
Our little ones absolutely adored the spa bath on the balcony and happily spent an hour or so each day enjoying a bubble bath.
There was a gorgeous tropical cheese board and bottle of bubbles waiting for us when we arrived and we enjoyed this on our stunning balcony overlooking the lagoon.
The hotel features three pools – there is the main sandy lagoon pool with swim-up pool bar, a formal lap pool and then at the rear of the property there is a beautiful Serenity Pool (pictured above), a rainforest rock pool surrounded by a luscious tropical garden, the perefect spot for those looking for some peace and quiet. There is also a tennis court, gym and spa.
Cocktails (and mocktails) by the pool are a must at Peppers Beach Club & Spa! The 'Tropicooler' above was topped off with the sweetest Palm drink stirrer from Meaps Australia!
We loved the Lagoon Pool and swim up bar and the kids made a daily visit during Happy Hour for mocktails and bowl of fries. With Happy Hour drinks offered between 3pm-5pm each day the Lagoon Pool is certainly the place to be!
Alex happily spent hours on the sand building sandcastles while Ava, our water baby, swapped between the lagoon pool and lap pool.
We enjoyed daily breakfasts in the hotel’s restaurant, Lime & Pepper, and then at night strolled along the beach to one of the surrounding restaurants.
On the day we were leaving the hotel was setting up for a poolside seafood buffet dinner and it looked incredible.
Temple of Tastes is Pullman Palm Cove’s signature restaurant and offers daily buffet breakfasts and at night a gorgeous a la carte menu.is offered both on the poolside tropical terrace and in the restaurant.
During our stay at Pullman Palm Cove we enjoyed daily buffet breakfast at Temple of Tastes. There is an extensive buffet and the little ones are very well looked after with a fabulous selection of fresh pastries and fruits, and even mini packs of Tiny Teddies and boxes of Sultanas.
We also spent World Chocolate Day sampling two of the restaurant’s pastry chef’s exquisite chocolate desserts! The first was the restaurant’s signature dessert, the Knickerbocker - baked cheesecake, meringue, wildberry yoghurt, chocolate truffles, caramel sauce and white chocolate ice cream!
The second was an incredible chocolate tart. These two heavenly desserts are available in the restaurant or via room service. www.pullmanpalmcove.com.au.
Vivo Palm Cove is a stunning open-plan restaurant located on Williams Esplanade, with beautiful beach views and relaxed north Queensland vibe. Vivo is open for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner and is super family friendly.
Vivo is just across from the beach and has breathtaking views of the palms and Coral Sea, a fabulous kids + dining menu, a wonderful cocktail and wine list (hello Orange Margarita!) and the most divine north Queensland hospitality.
We went for an early family dinner and as soon as we sat down the kids were each given a colouring book.
Some of the highlights from our meal were the scallop saltimbocca and also the Fish Of The Day (Mahi Mahi), plus the amazing warm chocolate tart which came with a bitter chocolate gelato and choc malt milk. www.vivo.com.au
We enjoyed two delicious dinners atThe Surf Club Palm Cove. The bistro’s terrace has fantastic beach views and there is a $10 kids menu (including ice cream and drink) which included local Barramundi for the kids fish and chips!
There are daily specials and also a seafood platter for two which cost us around $65 and included local prawns, reef fish, calamari and more.
Lucky Fish is a fab new (ish) Fish & Chip Restaurant located in the adorable Palm Cove Shopping Village. There is a great range of fresh fish, calamari, prawns and more, plus burgers, tacos and salads (the yummiest Asian coleslaw!), beers and wines. Seriously good food with beach views, what is not to love! www.luckyfish.online
Scoops Gelatiland is located at the northern end of the Esplanade and has a gorgeous range of (locally made) ice creams and gelato. (And some cute wall art - Ava was in love with the Cookie Monster pic!). There is an expansive terrae overlooking the beach to sit and watch the world go by. www.scoopsgelatiland.com.au
What To Do
Palm Cove is the perfect destination to do nothing at all but relax on the beach or poolside with a cocktail in hand!
But for those looking for some activities, here are my top recommendations.
Go fishing on Palm Cove Jetty
Or just take a walk along the jetty and soak in those stunning views.
Visit the Great Barrier Reef
We didn’t visit the reef this trip as have visited a couple of times in recent years, however a day trip to the Reef is an absolute must for anyone visiting far north Queensland for the first time.
Enjoy a day trip to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
A day at Hartley’s is a must-visit for anyone visiting FNQ, particularly young families. Pete and I had been before but this was the first time the kids had gone to this incredible crocodile and wildlife park. We took a boat cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon and spotted so many crocs, we enjoyed a couple of amazing shows at the Wildlife Amphitheatre, we visited the Tropical Aviary, strolled through the wildlife discovery trail, spotted Koalas and Kangaroos and got to pat a tortoise, blue tongue lizard and snake at the kids show. A fabulous day out. www.crocodileadventures.com
This stunning retreat is tucked inside the lobby of Pullman Palm Cove and I enjoyed a gorgeous 1-hour massage at the spa followed by a treat plate including a sorbet and tea. A perfect retreat for hotel guests looking for some r&r. www.pullmanpalmcove.com.au.
The second spa I visited was the Spa at Alamanda Palm Cove, which I believe would have to be Australia’s best day spa, positioned right on the beach.
I enjoyed the 90-minute Glow package and the treatment room was literally beachfront, all I could hear was the waves and breeze. I had a coconut sugar scrub body polish (followed by an outdoor shower in my very own terrace), and then a relaxing 1-hour massage.
This was the view from the terrace of my treatment room which included an outdoor shower.
After the treatment they took me upstairs to my very own private spa pavilion to enjoy tea, chocolate and a dip in the plunge pool. It could not be a more incredible setting to enjoy some pamper time. I also learnt they host baby showers, bridal showers and lots of pre-wedding celebrations in these private pavilions with lunch or High Tea from the hotel’s Nu Nu Restaurant! Talk about a magical setting! See all the details for this fabulous spa at www.lancemore.com.au
It was an absolutely magical family holiday and feel free to contact me if you are planning a trip to Palm Cove (or elsewhere in far north Queensland) and would like some further details or suggestions!