Short Trip Report - Palm Cove

Jul 24th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Short Trip Report - Palm Cove

Just before our planned trip to Palm Cove in June I asked Fodorites for recommendations about where to dine for a special occasion . Not surprisingly I received helpful advice but noone really had a definitive view about fine dining for a special occasion . So as part of this short report I want to let you know what I found , liked or disliked about Palm Cove and its near environs .
We flew from Melbourne on Virgin and paid for the extra leg room seats as we 3 friends travelling together are all tall . Worth it as the direct 3 hour flight went very comfortably as a result . A friend flying Jetstar got caught with a few kilos overweight baggage on return and a sour faced check in person strictly enforced weight limits and charged for the excess , so please be warned . Virgin seemed more accomodating . We hired a car from Thrifty by internet booking - 12 nights / 13 days for $691 all up .The car we booked was a Mitsubishi Outlander but that was not available and they upgraded us to a Pajero. Happy with that . Beware however that they then advise you at pickup about insurance liability and the option of taking extra cover .If in an accident there is a huge excess top be paid by you regardless of fault . So a bit a sneaky I feel .Check before hire just in case they all do it . Otherwise a good car and no trouble with Thrifty who I have always found to be the cheapest hire company . Cross however as 7days after pre - booking Medibank Private Health Insurance ,who I am with , offered a further 10% off the booking price if you quote your membership number . Any one booking soon in Australia check it out .

We were staying with friends at their homes , one of which is hired out . Called Celadon it is a lovely well situated property near the beach . See if curious . There is a lot of building going on in Palm Cove at present and it looks a little like a bomb site .When last there about 3 years ago all was calm and lovely - almost anally manicured in appearance .There are currently 3 major waterfront / Veivers Rd development projects happening resulting in trucks ,dust and noise . So be careful where you book eg some apartments overlooked a hole in the ground and pile drivers .
In my view the best food is found at restaurants attached to The Beach Club Hotel .It leases 3 or 4 restaurnat spaces at the front of the property . The best are NuNu and the Thai restaurant ,whose name I forget . I chose NuNu for a b'day dinner even though its setting is not as pretty as some because I wanted good food as against a pretty postcard setting .Far Horizons at Angsana has a glorious setting but also food discount card ( 2 for 1 pricing on main courses etc .) Not a good sign as far as I am concerned . NuNu staff , when I called by to look at the place during the day , assured me they do not own a can - openner or a microwave oven and that sold me . We did not regret the choice for a special dinner . There were 7 of us at table and all were delighted with the food , service , wine etc . We all agreed it was great to read a menu that made it hard to choose what to order. It was also a good venue because it is open to the sea but roofed with roll down clear blinds which help stop rain splashing in or being blown in by the wind . Yes , despite it not being wet season and generally lovely in June we had rain that night and wind for 2 weeks from 13th to 26 th June which hampered some plans . Far Horizons do special dinner on the grass under Palm trees which looks lovely but not in 30 knot wind and rainas we saw some enduring on another night .
We also went back to Nu Nu for breakfast. The best juices ,great coffee, coconut banana pancakes , crepes stuffed with lemon and ricotta cheese , a box of toasted fruit bread filled with apple puree and rhubarb , eggs any way you like etc etc . Marvellous . Cockys has been on the waterfront for breakfast for years but has gone off. The weakest coffee and , well , just not good .But it is cheap . There are plenty of cheap alternatives for breakfast and lunch eg surf club . Ate at Casimar which was good save that they overcharged us for 2 dozen oyster Kilpatrick when we had ordered 2 half dozen natural . If not ' on the ball ' we would have paid .Bit cynical about whether it was an error or not .Il Forno does excellent Pizza but so it ought at $18 for a small one .
We took a Reef trip on Synergy 11 which is a 12 person catarmaran out of Port Douglas. It was superb . Great food staff etc and the snorkelling was lovely at Tongue Reef even in 15 to 30 knot winds !On a still day it must be incredible .We did the Kuranda sky rail which is fabulous and the train trip back which is less fabulous but if you are like old trains you will love it . The movement sent me to sleep .
I love all the free things you can see and do . We took Pat Wolfords advice and went to Crystal Cacades . Superb. Hardly anyone there mid week and just lovely .We went back to Mossman Gorge and walked it and then on to the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation .We also drove on another day to Emerald Falls and to the crater lakes at Yungaburra ( which has a market once a month I beleive is excellent ) and the Curtain and Cathedral Fig Trees . All free save for petrol and a car ferry at the Daintree. Bought bananas for $4 a kilo at stall on the Daintree . Who would ever have thought we would have crowed about $4 being a bargain.!I would pack a hamper of food next time as lunch at Cape Trib was 'off ' at a hotel we called to at 1pm and only cake and coffee on offer despite meals being served still to people who ordered at 12.50pm !! . Or eat at noon .
I know Palm Cove is touristy and there are only 300 permanet residents there but heh I am a tourist. Too quiet for some who prefer Port Douglas but I don't love PD either . How many sarongs and sandals shops can one place sustain ?

But in these troubled times there is a lot to be said about going out and leaving your door open and never having to look over your shoulder . It is a truly lovely spot catering for everyone . I could not live there permanently but certainly could visit anytime and see something new I am sure every time .
JohnFitz is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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Nice to see you enjoyed your trip to Crystal Cascades, JohnFitz, many don't realise you don't have to go far out of Cairns for rainforest scenery of this quality.

Yes, the Veivers Rd end of Palm Cove looks a bit like a war zone right now, just amazed they're doing this serious construction work smack in the middle of peak tourist season.

Glad you managed to get your reef trip in, as you say, wind was dreadful - day after day. Wind is to be expected in winter, but usually not with the accompanying rain, of which there's also been plenty, in so called "dry season". Not the time for alfresco dining in a balmy tropical setting, such as under the palm trees at beachfront Angsana.

You did well with bananas for $4 a kg, I'm paying about $6 for ladyfingers at the local market and the ordinary Cavendish are about twice that in the supermarket. For those who are wondering, most of the banana crop was wiped out by Cyclone Larry in March, so prices are at an unheard of highs.

pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 01:21 AM
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Hi John,
Thanks for the report, I am licking my lips as I read.

I am not surprised but a little saddened that there is loads of building going on, I am confident that the gorgeous quiet beach resort that I was lucky to stay at a few years ago will soon be turned into something grotesque. I pray it doesn't happen but you know what happens when the $ gets hold.

Mucky is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 09:28 PM
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Yes I am afeared that Palm Cove is going the way of so many places and that is gross overdevelopment . The golf courses / tourist parks are all being sold off as building blocks and housing has become very expensive .But the balance is of course that even in peak season there is lots of space on the beaches and those wonderful drives along the coast and through rainforest or in the tablelands . We were coming over the top of the Mt.s after a shower of rain and unfolding beneath us were the cloud topped mountains complete with a rainbow . And as for the stars at night ..... So , there are some things that can't be lost or traded away .John
JohnFitz is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Excellent report, John.

It brought back very fond memories of our own holiday. Nu Nu impressed us too.

I could retire to North Queensland just for the fruit.

Veivers Road at the corner with the Esplanade was beginning to look like a war zone when we were there in Jan. Then there was this building next to the pub opposite the Oasis Resort that looked postively dilapidated - like an abandoned project.

Like Mucky I would be sad to see Palm Cove lose its charm. I like to be back before that happens.

eschaton is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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Thanks JohnFitz,
Hoping to get up to Palm Cove in a couple of months, will try Nu Nu and some of your other recommendations.
Bokhara is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 01:16 AM
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Thank you and glad to pass on the information .

Bokhara as you plan to visit again soon I strongly suggest that you ask your travel agent if where you are staying is next to or adjacent to any of the building sites in order to avoid the angst of lots of noise and dust ruining your holiday.

I did omit to say in my report that there is now quite a good shopping centre at Clifton Beach with a supermarket / bottle shop / bakery / post office / pharmacy. I also omitted that the Greek Restaurant in the little shopping complex at PC ( where Il Forno is as well ) is very good .For a basic meal the Palm Cove Tavern in Veivers Rd is fine and kid friendly HOWEVER BE WARNED - if you do not like your meal in the midst of screaming kids avoid it as they got very loud and unrestrained when we went . Happy travels
JohnFitz is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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John, I've eaten many times in Palm Cove Tavern when I'm a bit hungry, but food is truly mediocre to say the least. I could name a dozen pubs in Cairns' area which would leave it for dead. But I've never struck screaming kids there, I think this year was exceptional, there was a panic after Cyclone Larry where media reports were telling all that the whole area was devastated (totally wrong) and in a bid to bring tourists back there were some incredibly cheap package deals, ie, airfares and accommodation. This created a bit of a "pram jam" in Palm Cove, thankfully, it seems to be finishing, but perhaps a reason, coupled with the unseasonal bad weather, that Angsana was offering a two for one for diners in June.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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Palm Cove Tavern, I know the management has changed now, but we had the worst treatment there that you could imagine. In fact the staff and management there were the only people in the whole of Australia that were not friendly. I mean especially horrible to us.

We turned up in Palm Cove in the evening at about 9pm and I asked where I could get some beers to take out and some cola for the children. David at the Oasis said there is a pub across the road, go there. I asked him if its ok for the children to go in and he said, yes of course there's no problem.

So we trudged off to the tavern, and sat outside,I went in to order some drinks. They said they wouldn't serve me.
I asked why and they said they don't allow children after 9pm. Ok fair enough, so I asked why is it that there were at least 15 children inside the pub? To which they failed to answer and just said they won't serve us.
Now bare in mind we had just landed from Hong Kong very tired hungry and thirsty I was not impressed.
I asked if they sell take outs, yes they can do that. So I ordered a 6 pack and some cola. The owner disapeared and was gone for ages. eventually he came back with my stuff already in a bag, seemed a bit expensive but we were in need.

So next day I went wandering and discovered a bottle shop behind the Tavern. It seems he had nipped out the back door bought what I wanted from the bottle shop and seriously over charged me for the stuff. The mans a bloody crook.

I complained to the tavern in writing when I returned and the Palm Cove tourist people who replied within a day and they also replied again 2.5 years after too,telling me the management had now changed as they had received loads of complaints.
That was a surprise.

They apologised and asked me back offering a discount at some hotel, I forget which one.

So the Tavern is the only place in the whole of Australia where we were treated badly. Everyone else was fantastic.

Mucky is offline  

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