Tropical North Queensland conjures images of endless crystal blue waters, soft sand beaches, and lush rainforests that house unique flora and fauna. The thought of spending even a day in these surroundings will have many of us reaching for our suitcases. And this is for good reason, Tropical North Queensland is the destination for you to escape, explore and experience once-in-a-lifetime adventures.
The sleepy enclave of Palm Cove is the perfect place for you to base yourself. Situated 25-minutes from Cairns airport, Palm Cove is a somewhat hidden gem of Tropical North Queensland, and within reach of many unique and luxurious experiences. Palm Cove is also home to some of the most relaxing and bespoke accommodation you will ever have the chance to experience. The prime example of this luxury boutique accommodation is right here with us at the Reef House in Palm Cove – which we will tell you more about later. But first, we want to tell you about some of the special ways you can experience this attraction-rich part of Australia.
A little bit about the area
For those who don’t know much about Queensland, particularly Tropical North Queensland, when you close your eyes and imagine what Australia is like, the water & beaches we mentioned earlier, the rich tropical rainforests, and huge array of animals you won’t find anywhere else, those idyllic images are likely what you’re thinking, and Tropical North Queensland is exactly where you’re going to experience it.
Rich with natural wonders, both inland and out, Tropical North Queensland is home to the Wet Tropics, some of the oldest rainforests in the world. It is also home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is visible from space and has been World Heritage listed since 1981. Truly spoiled with these natural wonders (and more), visitors to the region can experience these sights in some extraordinary ways. So, let us help take you off the beaten track and tell you about some of the very different, luxurious and unique ways you can immerse yourself in all Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
Get into nature
You’ve likely heard of the first place we recommend visiting – Mossman Gorge. Part of the Daintree National Park, another World Heritage Listed natural wonder of Queensland, Mossman Gorge is an area around 56,000 hectares in size. Often referred to as the gateway to the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge is known for its breathtaking beauty. Home to countless walking trails offering endless sights to see, all while under the safe canopy of the rainforest above, this is where you will see that crystal clear water tumbling over the huge granite boulders that rest in the gorge.
Littered with endless swimming opportunities, Mossman Gorge is a place to not only stimulate all senses with its overwhelmingly breathtaking beauty, but it’s somewhere to feel true rejuvenation and reinvigoration.
While there are many ways that you can experience Mossman Gorge, given it’s close proximity to Palm Cove, one of the most convenient and unique ways you can do so is with a tour with Back Country Bliss Adventures.
With multiple options to choose from, we recommend making a day of it with the Mossman Gorge Adventure Day.
You will be picked up from Palm Cove in the morning and taken to a secret location along the Mossman River where you kickoff the adventure with a River Drift Snorkeling tour. It’s a bit of swimming, snorkeling, floating and drifting in the clear waters of Mossman River. It’s here that you may catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife, with people having spotted Fish, Birds, Water Dragons, Turtles and even a Platypus.
After the lunch that you’ve earned, you will get to immerse yourself in a traditional smoking ceremony of the Kuku Yalanji. The Kuku Yalanji are an Aboriginal Australian people that originated in the rainforest regions of Far North Queensland. The smoking ceremony will cleanse you of bad spirits, and as part of the ceremony, you can have traditional rainforest body paint applied.
After the ceremony, you will take on a guided walk of the rainforest, where you will get to see some of the most stunning parts of the Daintree Rainforest. It’s here that you will get to see some of the most unique animals and wildlife in the world. One animal that you need to keep your eyes peeled for are the real life dragons – not quite like the ones you’ve seen in Game of Thrones, rather, you would be on the lookout for the Boyd’s Forest Dragon. Which is a type of lizard that is only found in this part of the world.
While all of the flora of the Daintree is spellbinding, one incredible and unique plant you will see is the Giant Strangler Figs. These plants are absolute giants in the rainforest, and with their unique life-cycle, which your guide will tell you all about (we won’t spoil it for you now), you will be left in awe when you spot one.
With lunch, snacks, wetsuits, masks and a safe return back to Palm Cove all taken care of by the Back Country Bliss Team, this full day adventure is one to save an entire day for when you visit Palm Cove. To find out more information, click here.
Ahoy all anglers
For the adventurous types amongst us that would love nothing more than a day out on the boat fishing, boy do we know the experience for you. Set sail on a charter boat out to the beautiful waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef with the Cairns Reef Fishing team.
Departing from Cairns Marlin Marina, only a 25-minute drive from Palm Cove, you will climb aboard one of the boats of the highly experienced team, and head on out to the Reef. The team has many years of commercial and offshore deep sea charter fishing and diving experience, so no matter your skill level, the team can teach you a thing or two.
On the way out to the Reef, to give you a glimpse of some of the fish you will be wrangling, the team troll some lures in the hopes of hooking Marlin, Tuna, Mackerel and more. After the lures are set, you will be given the reins to reel in that big fish.
Once you reach your final destination, which could be anywhere within a 25-mile nautical radius of Cairns, depending on where the fish are biting, this is where you’re going to try to land that big fish. The usual targets for the day are Coral Trout, Cod, Trevally, Red Emperor’s and many more reef species.
Lunch, fishing rods, and bottled water are all provided. Just bring yourself a camera, sunscreen and beer, Cairns Reef Fishing will supply the ice-cold eskies to keep your drinks in.
These tours are booked on a shared basis, so you don’t need to worry about getting a group together, you can join a boat and share this experience with people from all over the world.
Cairns Reef Fishing is passionate about sustainable fishing and following the regulations that help preserve the marine environment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, so when you’re on one of their tours, you know that you’re in good hands.
To find out more about this tour click here for more information.
Tantalise the taste buds
Tropical North Queensland is a proverbial food bowl. With nutrient rich landscapes that make it possible to grow all sorts of fare, you will return from a trip to the region very well-fed and likely to have tried something you’ve never eaten before.
For those looking for a food and dining tour experience that is so diverse you won’t believe what you’ve seen and eaten all in a day, then a tour with Brett’s Outback Tasting Adventures is where you should start.
With the option to hop on a bus tour or tag along in your own car, this tour departs from Port Douglas, which is a 40-minute drive from Palm Cove. Be ready for a big day because there are 7 stops along the way.
As we mentioned before, Tropical North Queensland volcanic soils are nutrient dense – this allows farmers to grow sugar cane, avocadoes, mangoes, macadamia nuts, coffee and so much more. And the aim of this tour is to give you a taste of this local fare, all while being spoiled with the breathtaking surrounds of the Atherton Tabletops.
The tour makes stops at the Tjapuki Aboriginal Cultural Park, the Jacques Family Coffee Plantation, Mount Uncle Distillery, Gallo Dairyland, the Humpy, Golden Drop Winery and the Platypus Hut. Along the way you will taste tropical fruits, local coffee, locally produced liqueurs and spirits, handcrafted chocolates, delicious cheese, mango wines and so much more.
Not for the faint of heart, the tour includes all of the tasting, but be sure to bring some spending money, there are some delights you’re going to want more of.
Combining diverse landscapes and sites with a huge array of food and drink, Brett’s Outback Tasting Adventure aims to show you that there is something for everyone in Tropical North Queensland.
To find out more information on this tour, click here.
Don’t forget the Reef
When you visit Tropical North Queensland, it is hard to ignore the overwhelming urge to visit the Great Barrier Reef. And when you’re in Palm Cove, you don’t need to ignore this urge because there are numerous ways to see it, each within easy reach of Palm Cove.
While any visit to the Reef is truly breathtaking, there are some incredibly unique, once-in-a-lifetime ways that you can experience all the glory of this incredible place. We want to tell you about two of our favourite unmissable experiences.
Option One: Get up close & personal with the Reef
Our first suggestion is to set sail with real life Marine Biologists where you will head out to the Mackay & Undine Coral Cays. Sailaway will take you out to experience the reef up close and personal. Departing from Port Douglas, (a 40-minute drive from Palm Cove) you will set sail on a luxury catamaran out to the Coral Cays of Mackay and Undine Reefs.
Specialising in small group tours, Sailaway have exclusive access to these Cays, meaning you can snorkel through the coral gardens at your own pace and experience the reef in a way that only a limited number have.
While the reef is what you’ve come to see, you will definitely revel in the spectacular views of the Daintree Rainforest as you sail along the coastline. The custom built sailing catamarans that Sailaway uses have a glass bottom, so you can watch the marine life and the crystal clear waters pass underneath. As you make your way to the Cays, the Marine Biologist will entertain you with interesting information about the reef, which will leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of the stunning fragile environment around you.
As the waters around the Cays are shallow, you will have the ability to see not only coral, but fish, giant clams, turtles and so much marine life up close in their natural habitat. Don’t forget your underwater camera, this place is idyllic for taking pics.
A tropical buffet and afternoon tea of locally sourced produce are included as part of your trip, as well as snorkel gear and guidance.
Perfect for people who are really looking to immerse themselves in their surroundings, this tour allows you to explore the Reef up close, at your own pace and in a place that is unspoilt and off the beaten track. Learn more here.
Option Two: Take it in from above
Our other suggestion to visit the Reef to take it all in from a different angle – perhaps a birds-eye view from the comfortable seats of a Helicopter. With GBR Helicopters, you can see the Reef on a scale that wouldn’t be possible without some friends in high places.
Departing from nearby Cairns, you will fly over those aqua waters and be able to feast your eyes upon the Reef and finally truly understand why it is named the Great Barrier Reef.
Covering an expansive area, the Reef is approximately 348,700 square kilometres in size, and made up of thousands of individual reefs and hundreds of islands. While you’re likely to have seen aerial pictures of the Reef before, this does not compare to witnessing this natural wonder from the seat of a helicopter with your own eyes.
The way the sun makes the water shimmer with shades of turquoise and blue, the light dances off the coral below and makes for an amazing experience and there is no better way to be introduced to this natural wonder than from this view.
From your seat your senses are likely to be almost overwhelmed with all of the sights you will be taking in because it’s not just the Reef that you’ll see from up here. You catch glimpses of nearby tropical islands, and luscious rainforests, and it will leave you contemplating if you ever want to leave.
With GBR Helicopters, tours start at being 30 minutes in duration, however, there are many options for you to upgrade your experience. Find out more information here.
The perfect way for you to finish your day of luxury adventure is to come home to a place that was made for relaxation and recuperation, and that’s exactly what we can do for you at The Reef House.
Our Boutique Colonial style beach house accommodation is not just any run of the mill hotel – at The Reef House, we specialise in tranquillity and ambience, and your stay will be as memorable as any of these once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Located in Palm Cove, conveniently between Cairns and Port Douglas you will be away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and be entrenched in a world of bespoke charm that will authenticate every piece of uniqueness that Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
Trust when we say, you will never want to leave.