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6 things to do in Palm Cove and surrounding Far North Queensland

Palm Cove, is a unique, palm-fringed paradise in Far North Queensland, perfect for the relaxing holidays needed to recharge your batteries.

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Looking for things to do in Palm Cove and surrounds?  This guide introduces 6 of our top things to see and do in the area.

1. Hit the beach

Palm Cove Beach

It should probably go without saying that the first thing you want to do on arrival is check out the nearest beach, this is after all what Tropical North Queensland is all about.  There are so many gorgeous strips of sand and palm trees to choose from that it can be difficult deciding where to put down your towel but Palm Cove is a great place to start.  Then you can work your way up and down the coast, the beaches are all stunning with their own highlights.

2. Kayak out to Double Island

Double Island as seen from Palm Cove Beach

Double Island is the distinctive island nestled just off the coast of Palm Cove and surrounded by extensive fringing reefs.  Kayak trips are possible for anyone of average fitness, and paddling experience isn’t necessary but I would suggest that you pick a day with calm seas, it will be a better trip out with an increased chance of seeing wildlife.

3. Spend the day on Fitzroy Island

Beach on Fitzroy Island

This really is a slice of paradise and after spending an incredible day out here we can’t wait to get back again and stay a night or two on the island.  Nudey beach (no it’s not a nudist beach, not now anyway) is about a 15 minute walk from the wharf and is absolutely stunning.  We found it so hard to drag ourselves away to catch the boat back to Cairns at the end of the day.  There’s no surprise it was named in the top 10 beaches in Australia, I’m just surprised it’s not in the worlds top 10 but perhaps we should keep it quiet we don’t want it getting too popular.

Facilities on the island are limited.  Near the wharf there’s a private resort that’s closed to day visitors, a beach hut to hire equipment and a bar and cafe.  There are also public toilets and coin operated lockers if you want to secure some of your gear while out on the water or not carry it all with you.

4. SkyRail Rainforest Cableway

SkyRail Rainforest Cableway

The Barron National Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics rainforest.  This is the forest you glide over and wander through on your Kuranda Skyrail experience.  We’ve done this trip on both of our visits to the area, it’s so peaceful gliding over the forest and you get a completely different view of the landscape and the extent of the rainforest from up there.

5. Kuranda Heritage Railway

Kuranda Heritage Railway

This stretch of rail was built over 120 years ago and Queensland Rail has offered transfers to Kuranda on it for over 35 years.  The trip takes just under 2 hours to Kuranda including a stop at the Barron Falls lookout from the opposite side to the Skyrail.  Remember to be at the platform early to get a window seat on the side with a view of the rainforest (right going up, left coming back).  You’re allocated a carriage with your ticket but as it’s a heritage fit out the train has original styled padded bench seats facing each other so a specific seat isn’t able to be booked and some have a better view than others.

6. Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda is a top spot to visit while in the area, we’d not been to anything like this before and really enjoyed it. The butterflies are all bred in the facility which is privately owned and has been here in Kuranda for over 30 years.  It’s the biggest free flight butterfly aviary and display in the southern hemisphere and the collection of tropical butterflies were so pretty.  The area is landscaped with their favourite food plants, ponds and bridges to wander around and spot them.