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-   -   Palm Cove or Port Douglas? (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/palm-cove-or-port-douglas-185197/)

Jamie Mar 29th, 2002 04:30 PM

Palm Cove or Port Douglas?
 
I am planning our trip for March, 2003. We are thinking of staying 3 nights towards the end of March to see the Great Barrier Reef as well as relax and shop. I can't decide between staying in Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Which town has more to offer? Which is more charming? We are thinking of staying at either Seibel Reef House or the Sheraton. Thanks.

tropical Mar 29th, 2002 04:38 PM

Port Douglas is the best. Much more to do and see but 3 nights is not much time to see it in though.

Marg Mar 29th, 2002 05:35 PM

They're both great. Palm Cove is a little village right on the beach. Port Douglas is a lot bigger with more choices for accommodation and eating places. Boat trips for the reef leave from Port Douglas but you can arrange to be picked up from Palm Cove.<BR>Hard choice.

Mina Mar 29th, 2002 06:35 PM

Palm Cove is definitely nice, but in my opinion, the hands down winner is Port Douglas. I believe it will be easier to access the reef from there. I'd also recommend staying right in town in PD...I'm not sure, but I believe the Sheraton resort is a few miles down the road. However, it's not so far you can't take a quick ride into town. (It probably has a more resorty feel to it too.)

Jamie Mar 30th, 2002 06:15 AM

Thank you everyone for your comments. I really appreciate it. Just one more question---which town is prettier?

tropic Mar 30th, 2002 12:03 PM

Palm Cove is not a town, it is really a suburb, al beit a bit outside, of Cairns. But if it were a town then P.D. would still win hands down. As you have to go there for the reef trips etc you may as well stay there.

disagree! Apr 2nd, 2002 05:07 PM

we were really surprised at how big and developed port douglas was compared to palm cove. it's apples and oranges. palm cove is a quaint quiet street with a waterfront path all set along one single beach. the hotel you are considering is dead center and the cairns reef buses to the best reef to visit (michaelmas an island not just a platform at sea) will take you from there.<BR>port douglas felt huge and bustling. the hotels were behind giant entrances- as they are in say cancun, and the main drag was in my humble opinion overdeveloped with "name brand" restaurants and upscale shops.<BR>we are a young couple and we enjoyed the very peaceful atmosphere of palm cove. we stopped off at port douglas en route to the daintree area and were so, so glad we had based ourselves in palm cove.<BR>also, palm cove let us visit cairns one night, the aboriginal museum in the afternoon and discover the residential parts of cairns.<BR>if you are from the united states i think the choice is :blockbuster arnold schwarzenegger movie versus art house film. if the reef house is your taste, then palm cove is for you. if you are more of a hyatt/hilton person, then port douglas is for you.

Mina Apr 2nd, 2002 06:15 PM

With all due respect to Mr./Ms Disagree, I wouldn't call Port Douglas "bustling." There isn't a McDonald's in the entire place (nor a Blockbusters for that matter. ;) )<BR><BR>Yes, there are some resort type hotels, that are behind giant entrances, but those seem to be a little ways from the main area in Port Douglas, where "apartment" style places seemed to dominate. Palm Cove is a great place, don't get me wrong...it seems very romantic. However, I'd get bored there for any length of time, simply because it's so small (When I went, I was 28, and a gal traveling solo...so I'd want more excitement). The main row of hotels and shops line, as Disagree points out ONE quiet quaint street, as far as the tourist area goes (the rest seemed residential). If you're only staying 3 nights, I'm sure you'd enjoy it. But Port Douglas has more to explore, with some really great restaurants (none of which I recognized as "brand name" but I guess it depends where you are from).<BR><BR>Also Port Douglas is the easiest place to catch the many excursions out to the reef. PC is at LEAST a half hour drive from PD.<BR><BR>Disagree is absolutely correct in saying that PD is big compared to PC. Just keep in mind that PC is tiny. PD is absolutely, positively no Cancun! I suppose I'm just hugely biased in favor of Port Douglas, because it was one of my more memorable stops in Australia. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll have fun...

Mina Apr 2nd, 2002 06:20 PM

I thought I had said everything I wanted to say, but I do want to note that "they" say that the further north you go, the more spectacular the reef is. I met some tourists who said they went on a reef tour from Cairns, and that it wasn't that colorful (although I think some people expect it to be as brilliant as the professional photos they often see). If you're into diving, definitely don't take the Quicksilver, which docks near a huge platform and is better for Snorkelers. There are plenty of smaller diveboats). I'm sure some locals may be able to tell you more about good spots on the reef.


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