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Return to Nature When You Stay at the Reef House

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Holidays and vacations mean different things to everyone.  Some of us like to indulge in relaxation with spa treatments where we can let go of our cares for a while. While for others, it can mean soaking in the sun by the pool or beach, cocktail in hand; and for some, it can even mean immersing themselves into the nature and surroundings of their chosen destination. No matter the type of holiday maker that you are, when you visit Palm Cove in Tropical North Queensland, you’ve found yourself in the right place to satisfy everyone’s needs.

While we could talk your ear off about all the different ways you can relax and come out rejuvenated when you visit Palm Cove, today we just want to tell you about some of the truly breathtaking and unforgettable natural attractions you can see when you find yourself in this part Australia.

Some of these places you will know, and some you may not realise that they are close by, and others, you might not even realise a place like that exists at all. But let us take you on a journey to some of the sights you can see and the ways in which you can experience them.

Head out to the Atherton Tablelands

Our first recommendation is an area that is a diverse and unique landscape.  A region with wetlands, waterfalls and savannahs, the Atherton Tablelands is the kind of place you can easily spend a day, or longer, exploring.

One of the biggest reasons we recommend visiting the Atherton Tablelands is the diversity of activity right at your fingertips. No matter your interest, this region is going to have something to pique your interest.

With numerous walking trails, you can immerse yourself in surroundings such as limestone caves, volcanic crater lakes, waterfalls and of course wildlife that you won’t find anywhere else. Atherton Tablelands is home to more than 300 of the 430 bird species that can be found in the wet tropics.

If you decide to take on the walking trails, you’ve got plenty of options.  Whether you’re an avid bushwalker or short on time, you will find something to suit. You might even find yourself at the summit of Queensland’s highest mountain, Bartle Frere, a 15km of walking trail that suits the more advanced bushwalker.  If you reach the top you will be rewarded with incredible vistas that reach all the way to the coast.

Even those who like it at a faster pace will find something to their liking, with more than 60km of purpose-built mountain bike trails.

You can visit the Atherton Tablelands by hiring a car and taking in the area at your own pace, or you can opt for a tour. If you want to make a day of it, take it easy and indulge with Brett’s Outback Tasting Adventure Tour – a tour for the foodies. This tour is one that gives a taste of everything the nutrient rich soil has been able to create, from local tropical fruits, to fresh coffee, to local wine and spirits, nothing is missed, and you will get back at the end of the day well fed, and well toured.

Discover the hidden magic of our Rainforests

You are likely aware that Queensland is home to rainforest regions full of unique flora and fauna, but were you aware that Tropical North Queensland is home to the World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics?  Located northwest of Palm Cove, the Wet Tropics are known for the ancient ancestry, and this area is home to some of the oldest surviving tropical rainforests on earth.

Within the Wet Tropics there are numerous rainforests and national parks.  The one you’ve most likely heard of is the Daintree Rainforest. This is a place you can visit to truly disconnect from the modern world and enter a place that looks and feels like you’re stepping into Jurassic Park.  While it feels untouched, accommodations have been made to make exploration of the Daintree easy.  With Walking trails, boardwalks and ziplines, you can find swimming holes to take a dip in, explore below the thick canopy, and you might even spot a cassowary.

A lesser-known destination, but one that is most certainly worth a visit, is a little closer to Palm Cove – Kuranda.  Kuranda is a small village nestled right in the heart of a rainforest.  Because of its altitude and location, it is a bit of a cooler climate up there, and while there is a lot to see and do when you’re in Kuranda – it is somewhat of a hub for arts – the journey to Kuranda is what is going to blow your mind. You can opt to drive there yourself or take a bus, but there are better options.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of these options, where you can jump on a train (they start in Cairns) and make your way to the village where along the way, you will truly be spoiled by breathtaking views of gorges, rainforests and of course, waterfalls. You’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

The other option is for the slightly braver amongst us, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.  When you take this trip, you will find yourself in a gondola that can fit 6, and for 7.5km, you will be able to float above the canopy of the rainforest below.  If you have the time, make sure you jump out at one or both stops along the way, where you can access viewing platforms and guided boardwalk tours.  There are even some glass bottomed gondolas that you can brave!

Spend a day on the Waterfall Circuit

While TLC told us not to chase waterfalls, we can’t help but think that that is bad advice if you’re in Tropical North Queensland.  You see, you can spend a whole day, or more, chasing waterfalls when you’re in this part of the world.

Our climate facilitates the abundance of waterfalls you’ll find in this region, with our wet season ensuring that that water keeps on tumbling down on its way to the rivers, creeks, waterholes and rockpools.  You can marvel at the sight of the water majestically falling, and at some, you take a swim in the collected water.

Some favourites include Josephine Falls, Davies Creek Falls, Milaa Milaa Falls & Pepina Falls. Each of these are within a 1-2.5-hour drive from Palm Cove.  These are just some of the waterfalls in the area, they are all over this part of Australia, so whichever direction you head, you’re bound to come across some beauties.  Check out some of the other waterfalls you could visit here. Hire a car and do a waterfall crawl, you won’t regret it!


See why the Great Barrier Reef got its name

Now, the Great Barrier Reef, I’m sure you’ve heard of, it is a place that needs no introduction, but it certainly deserves one.  Considered to be the most spectacular and diverse reef in the world, it was the first reef to earn World Heritage status.

Believed to inhabit 10% of the worlds entire fish species, the great barrier reef spans far and wide, at it’s widest, it is 250km. The marine wildlife that can be seen here, and the numerous tropical islands (which we will talk about later) that are scattered around, makes this place truly unforgettable.

You could spend days, even weeks, exploring all the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. And the best part is that no matter how much time you have on your hands, you will be able to experience its beauty.  You could see the Reef and its inhabitants up close and personal by snorkeling or diving; you could take it in from a bird’s eye view with a helicopter or plane ride above, or you can immerse yourself within it with a luxurious catamaran ride to a sand cay where you can explore at your own pace. Tours can last from 30 minutes to days at a time.

Many of the ways you can experience the Reef are right at your doorstep when you’re in Palm Cove.

Get stranded on a Tropical Island

I don’t think any of us can deny having a fantasy of spending some time in seclusion, basking in the luxury of a tropical island.  So, when you visit Palm Cove, why not make this fantasy a reality?

All along the coast of Tropical North Queensland, you can find tropical islands.  And so many of these can cater to visitors.  You can day trip out to an island via a ferry, or water taxi, or you can stay a little longer with camping and accommodation options on many of the islands.

A favourite island of ours is home to what was named Australia’s best beach in 2018 – Fitzroy Island.  The beach in question is Nudey Beach, a white coral sand beach that can be accessed via a national park rainforest.

What we love about Fitzroy island, is that this place is truly where the rainforest meets the reef.  And here you find the perfect balance of both.  The island is almost entirely covered by a national park that you can explore at your own pace.  With walking trails to suit all ages and ability, you can reach the summit of the island where you will be greeted with views of the water below as far as the eye can see.  You might even spot a whale or two if you’re there at the right time of year.

Given you’re surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef at all turns, you will probably spend a lot of time in the water exploring all this majestic underwater world has to offer. And you will never run out of options in how you can explore.

Fitzroy Island is conveniently located a 45-minute ferry ride that departs from Cairns, making it an easy day trip, or you can choose to stay a little longer if you have the time!

Do all of this from Palm Cove

The best place you can base yourself when you’re looking to visit some of these attractions is none other than the hidden gem of Palm Cove.  A seaside village situated halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas; Palm Cove is your gateway to all that Tropical North Queensland has to offer.

Each of these attractions we’ve mentioned can be visited in a half-day or full-day trip from this quiet community. And the best part is, after a day of sightseeing and adventure seeking, you can still soak up the sun or indulge in a massage when you’re here at the Reef House in Palm Cove.

Here at our colonial style boutique hotel, we specialise in reinvigoration and relaxation – but we can also indulge that adventure seeker inside. Work with our concierge to organise any of these activities (and so many others, check them out here).

Make your next visit to Tropical North Queensland truly special with us here in Palm Cove.

Isabelle Neil - Spa Director

Originally from Switzerland, Isabelle was trained in France by the crème de la crème; Clarins, Chanel, Dior & Phytomer, specialising in intensive therapies such as anti-ageing, deep relaxation massage and slimming treatments. Isabelle was the Managing Director of the first privately owned Christian Dior Spa on the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten. Isabelle’s extensive experience has taken her all around the world as a pioneer in providing anti-ageing facial treatments.

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