Situated between Cairns and Port Douglas in tropical north Queensland, this beach suburb is a short hop from two of Australia’s greatest natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef and the UNESCO-listed Daintree Rain Forest, both of which set the stage for adventure. Here are your options for outdoor activities in Palm Cove.
The landscape surrounding Palm Cove is dominated by rain forest, and one of the best ways to explore it is on horseback. Follow trails through jungle, mangrove forests, and sugarcane fields. With no loud engine to drown out the noises of nature or spook animals, horseback riding is also an excellent means of wildlife-viewing. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and crocodiles.
ATV and 4WD Tours
For high-speed thrills, opt for an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tour. Prepare to get a little muddy as you steer your way around off-road dirt trails. If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, join a four-wheel drive tour of the Barron Gorge National Park and Kuranda National Park, which make up part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palm Cove is within easy reach of the Australian rain forest, which supports an incredible array of wildlife and plant species. For a bird’s-eye view of this lush and verdant tropical ecosystem, which encompasses a vast range of forest and swamp habitats, opt for a zipline tour and careen over the forest canopy.
A short boat crossing from the mainland provides access to the remote sand and coral cays of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Relax on board a luxury catamaran and listen to commentary from a marine biologist as you travel to uninhabited islands such as the Low Isles or Michaelmas Cay. Many day tours include the opportunity to view local marine life, whether by snorkeling, scuba diving, or glass-bottom boat. Day trips along the Daintree River are also available and offer the chance to bird-watch and spot crocs amid the mangrove estuaries.