Palm Cove, Queensland

Coordinates: 16°44′49″S 145°39′57″E / 16.7469°S 145.6658°E / -16.7469; 145.6658 (Palm Cove (centre of suburb))
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Palm Cove
Palm trees at Palm Cove Beach, 2020
Palm Cove is located in Queensland
Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Coordinates16°44′49″S 145°39′57″E / 16.7469°S 145.6658°E / -16.7469; 145.6658 (Palm Cove (centre of suburb))
Population2,059 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density302.8/km2 (784/sq mi)
Area6.8 km2 (2.6 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s)Cairns Region
State electorate(s)Cook
Federal division(s)Leichhardt
Suburbs around Palm Cove:
Ellis Beach Ellis Beach Coral Sea
Macalister Range Palm Cove Coral Sea
Macalister Range Clifton Beach Clifton Beach

Palm Cove is a suburb of Cairns in the Cairns Region, Queensland, Australia.[2] In the 2016 census, Palm Cove had a population of 2,059 people.[1]

It is named after the palm trees that line the beach.


Palm Cove is located in Far North Queensland on the Australian coast. It has a long sandy beach along most of its seafront except for the rocky headland around Buchan Point in the north of the suburb.[3]

Arlington Reef is the closest section of The Great Barrier Reef to Palm Cove being around 30 kilometres (19 mi) offshore. The reef shelters the inshore waters from the Coral Sea swells creating relatively calm waters between the reef and the beach. To the west of Palm Cove is the Macalister Range National Park which is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.[4][5]

Since Palm Cove is located in a tropical climate, the average summer temperature is between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius; average winter temperature is between 14 and 26 degrees Celsius.[6]

Buchan is a town in the north of the locality (16°44′36″S 145°40′06″E / 16.7433°S 145.6683°E / -16.7433; 145.6683 (Buchan)). It was named in 1965 after Mount Buchan, which in turn was named by explorer George Elphinstone Dalrymple on 20 October 1873, after Buchan in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.[7] The use of the name Buchan has fallen into disuse over the years.[8]


Palm Cove is situated in the Djabugay (Tjapukai) traditional Aboriginal country.[9]

The first documented British visit to the area was by a coastal expedition led by George Elphinstone Dalrymple in 1873. Dalrymple's group had stopped in the area for a few days and accessed a large lagoon at Palm Cove. Immediately after landing a large number of Aboriginal people came out of their camps, and attempted to prevent the groups passage to the lagoon. It was only when the Aboriginal people were poised to throw their spears that they were repulsed by gunfire. After discovering the "unmistakable evidences of wholesale habitual cannibalism", such as "roasted and partially eaten bodies" in the camps of the Aboriginal people, all of the group "heartily rejoiced at the severe lesson which their unwarrantable hostility had brought upon them".[10]

Shortly before World War I in 1918, the land that is today Palm Cove was bought by Albert Veivers from Archdeacon Campbell. Archdeacon Campbell had been known as a priest at Cairns church who experimented with bringing different agricultural crops to the Cairns region. Veivers was important in the advancement of Palm Cove by having the first road built. The creation of the road led property values in Palm Cove to increase dramatically, leading to more prosperity for the community.[11]

Shortly after World War II, in which Palm Cove was used as a training base for Australian soldiers, the number of people travelling to Palm Cove greatly increased.[11]

The opening of the Ramada Reef Resort in 1986 marked the first international hotel chain to be located in Palm Cove and the area has continued to increase in national and international recognition ever since.[11]

In the 2006 census, Palm Cove had a population of 1,215 people.[12]

In the 2016 census, Palm Cove had a population of 2,059 people.[1]


The major industry for Palm Cove is the Accommodation and Food Services sector which relates to tourism. 21.2% of residents were employed in this sector in 2011[13]


There are no schools in Palm Cove. The nearest government primary school is Trinity Beach State School in Trinity Beach to the south. The nearest government secondary school is Smithfield State High School in Smithfield to the south.[3]


Due to the small size of Palm Cove and its tourism focus, the focus is on the provision of tourist services rather than household needs. There are two general stores, a post office, and many restaurants. The nearest shopping centre is at Clifton Beach.[14]


Jogger's track at William's Esplanade

Palm Cove is also a tourist destination due to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Palm Cove is the location of many resorts and apartments.[15] The pristine beaches and palm tree lined paths are used by joggers, walkers and cyclists and netted life guard patrol swimming enclosures offer safe access to the sea all year round. The Palm Cove jetty is one of the regions most popular fishing spots where anglers regularly catch species such as mackerel, Giant Trevally or "G.T's" and shark.[citation needed]


The closest major airport to Palm Cove is the Cairns International Airport in Aeroglen to the south. The only method of direct transportation to Palm Cove is along the Captain Cook Highway which stretches from Cairns in the south to Mossman in the north. Buses also link Palm Cove to local suburbs.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Palm Cove (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Palm Cove – suburb in Cairns Region (entry 49831)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Macalister Range National Park". National Parks, Sport and Racing. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  5. ^ Jones, Kate (24 June 2010). "Cassowaries the big winners as national parks expanded". The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Tropical North Queensland - A Tropical Paradise". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Buchan – population centre in Cairns Regional (entry 4865)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Palm Cove". Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ "First people cultural history". Cairns Regional Council. Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  10. ^ Dalrymple, George Elphinstone (1874). Narrative And Reports Of The Queensland North East Coast Expedition. Brisbane: James C Beal.
  11. ^ a b c "Palm Cove History". Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  12. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Palm Cove (Cairns City) (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Industry sector of employment | Cairns Regional Council | Community profile". Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Palm Cove Facilities". Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Palm Cove Resorts Hotels – Tourism Palm Cove". Retrieved 24 April 2022.

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