Palm Cove | The epitome of a tropical paradise

Jade wears Annie’s at the Beach

CityLife Cover Story

Palm Cove
The epitome of a tropical paradise

Words by Janie Barton
Photos by Gregg Maxwell

Locals have always known that Palm Cove is a sensational beach, and thanks to a recent global award the rest of the world now knows too.

The idyllic beach was named the 2024 best beach in the world by the editors and readers of Conde Nest Traveller magazine, beating out 33 other beaches including stunning locations in Greece, Fiji and Hawaii as well as five other Australian beaches.

“Palm Cove is a deserving winner of the accolade as best beach in the world,” said Tourism Minister and State Member for Cairns Michael Healy.
“It is an idyllic setting, with pristine white sands, avenues of coconut palms, ancient paperbark trees, framed by the World Heritage-listed rainforest and the Coral Sea. But it is also the world-class restaurants, cafes, resorts, shops and the friendly laid-back vibe of Palm Cove that makes it so unique.”

State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford says this award is great news for tourism throughout the region.

“Locals have always known how spectacular Palm Cove is, and they should be very proud to have this beach officially recognised as the best in the world,” he said. “This announcement will help drive even more awareness and put a spotlight on Tropical Far North Queensland.

“This is great news for tourism at Palm Cove. We already attract a high number of visitations from cold Victorians wanting to escape their winter. I’ve spoken to a lot of very excited tour operators and small businesses about how this award will boost tourism and help create jobs for locals.”
There is just so much to love about Palm Cove. The gorgeous beach is picture-postcard perfect thanks to its uncrowded and long stretch of golden sandy beach, palm-fringed shore and the sparkling blue Coral Sea. It’s here where you can easily spend hours relaxing, breathing in the fresh sea air, picnicking, swimming, fishing off the jetty and enjoying the water sports on offer. People of all ages love spending time here soaking up the sun or keeping cool under the coconut palm trees.

The quaint beachside village is also home to a range of excellent and award-winning accommodations including luxurious beachfront resorts, family-friendly apartments, boutique holiday houses and camping facilities.

“It’s amazing to be named best beach in the world,” said Melaleuca Resort manager Margaret Coop, who has lived in Palm Cove and managed the resort with her husband Stephen for 17 years.

Lucy wears Luma Swim & Annie’s at the Beach accessories
Lucy wears Luma Swim & Annie’s at the Beach accessories

“It’s great for Palm Cove but also for the area.

“Our guests call Melaleuca a home away from home, and that is the vibe that Palm Cove also gives off. It’s casual but not too casual, warm and friendly – you walk down the street and people say hello and look you in the eye.”

The Reef House Adults Retreat at the popular beach has been the recent recipient of a number of awards. It was named the number one luxury hotel and number one hotel in Australia and South Pacific at the 2024 TripAdvisor Awards. It also recently won the best five-star luxury accommodation at the Australian Tourism Awards and the Queensland Tourism Awards.

The coastal township is also renowned for being home to world-class restaurants with award-winning chefs, cosy cafes and casual eateries serving an eclectic range of cuisines highlighting the region’s sensational fresh, local produce. Whether it’s overlooking the sunny beach or enjoying seeing the moon rise over the ocean, dining here is always a pleasure.

As both locals and tourists love to shop, the hospitable seaside community doesn’t disappoint. Boutique clothing stores for both men and women, art galleries, gift stores and souvenir shops can be spotted as you meander through the suburb on its cobble-stone pathways. You can find stunning beach fashions, swim wear shops and mini supermarkets among the treasure trove of shops.

“When Conde Nast Traveller announced that Palm Cove was the world’s best beach for 2024, my first thought was ‘Why did it take so long?’,” said Annie Gillow, owner and manager of Annie’s at the Beach and the Beach Catwalk clothing boutiques. “Of course, we are all very proud and can only agree. Where else can you spot dolphins frolicking about 20 metres in front of you?

Jade wears Luma Swim & Annie’s at the Beach accessories

“Driving around the corner into Williams Esplanade at Palm Cove is always a wow moment. The mesmerising postcard blue Coral Sea, the palm trees, the view of the two islands (Double Island & Scouts Hat), the enormous Melaleuca paperbark trees that have literally been built around buildings and proudly grow through the roofs of other buildings always seems surreal, and you never tire of that view.

“I’m a true loyalist of Palm Cove and love the place, the village feel and its natural charm. Palm Cove has been my life for the last 18 years, and I just love the place.”

The appeal of the coastal community may be its relaxed atmosphere, but it’s also a great portal to exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient rainforest with tours available to suit all adventurers.

Shane Dennis of Ray White Cairns Beaches is a Palm Cove businessman who others might easily envy.

“My office is based on the esplanade in Palm Cove, and I have the best view every day,” he said. “When you combine the beautiful esplanade and the other elements that make up Palm Cove, there’s not much better.”

Mr Healy says he will always have a close connection with the area.

“Palm Cove has a special place in my heart because it was where I first lived while working at the old Travelodge Palm Cove resort when I moved to Cairns more than 40 years ago,” he said. “I love the people and the place; it holds some wonderful memories and has a fantastic future.

“With the Double Island resort lease back in the state’s hands and Wangetti Trailing opening up, I’m more than confident that Palm Cove’s best days are ahead.”


Tristan wears Annie’s at the Beach
Tristan wears Annie’s at the Beach

The Boutique Collection

The Boutique Collection has welcomed guests to its curated collection of handpicked holiday homes in Far North Queensland for more than two decades.

The team pride themselves on providing exceptional and memorable guest stays. Their guests love the local touch and attention to detail from its teams who live, work and directly support tourism in our communities.

From stays in Cairns, Palm Cove and Port Douglas, The Boutique Collection know you’ll love your time there. They look forward to welcoming you to one of their homes in this amazing part of Far North Queensland.

Jade & Lucy wear Luma Swim & Annie’s at the Beach accessories
Jade & Lucy wear Luma Swim & Annie’s at the Beach accessories

Luma Swim

Luma Swim, the brainchild of local designer and model Lucy C Miller, brings a splash of vibrant elegance to the beach with a black bikini and coordinating one piece. Using a buttery-soft aqua fabric inspired by the Great Barrier Reef’s waters as the main feature, Lucy crafted these pieces to capture the beauty of this natural wonder. They are perfect for those who want to make a statement while embracing the spirit of our coastal heritage and make a splash in and out of the water.

Over a decade of experience modelling internationally, primarily as a swimwear model, sparked Lucy’s passion for crafting swimwear. Her pieces are handmade, and she also offers a made-to-order service for custom designs tailored to individual preferences. Each design is meticulously crafted to help you feel confident as they take you from the beach to the bar and everywhere in between.

Lucy’s commitment to quality and passion for design shine through in every piece, with a focus on creating swimwear that celebrates individuality. Luma is dedicated to delivering exceptional customer experiences, making it a brand to watch in the swimwear industry. With exciting plans for future collections and collaborations, Luma is poised to make a lasting impression.

Tristan wears Annie’s at the Beach
Tristan wears Annie’s at the Beach

Ray White
Ray White Cairns Beaches & Palm Cove: Leading the way in sales and property management

Ray White Cairns & Beaches proudly stand as the premier sales and property management team in our region.

With a steadfast commitment to excellence, they have earned the reputation of being ‘best in market’ for their unparalleled service and dedication to client satisfaction. Their team brings extensive local knowledge and expertise, ensuring that every client receives tailored solutions that exceed expectations.
Central to their success is their access to cutting-edge technology, exclusive to the Ray White organisation. This advanced technology empowers them to deliver innovative marketing strategies and efficient property management solutions, setting new benchmarks in the industry.

Whether buying, selling, renting or investing, their clients benefit from seamless experiences and optimal outcomes guided by their proactive and client-centric approach.
Located on the vibrant Williams Esplanade at Palm Cove, they leverage their strategic positioning to maximise exposure and capitalise on market opportunities. Their commitment extends beyond transactions; it encompasses building lasting relationships based on trust, integrity and professionalism.
At Ray White, they are not just leaders; they are partners in your property journey and are dedicated to achieving success together.

Jade wears Annie’s at the Beach
Jade wears Annie’s at the Beach
Jade and Tristan wear Annie’s at the Beach
Jade and Tristan wear Annie’s at the Beach

Annie’s at the Beach

Vibes of the sea, the sun, sand, low humidity and fresh breezes epitomise a Palm Cove winter, reflected here under the iconic palm trees and meandering path between Nu Nu Restaurant and the Coral Sea.

Tropical friendly fabrics combined with individual and clever boutique-style choices are the secret to always looking fresh and sun-touched.
Jade wears a Lulu Life two-piece pantsuit teamed with a cute Baku bandeau bikini. The postcard-blue frangipani print of this matching set screams “carefree beach holiday”.

The joy of this print is that it opens up to having almost endless accessory choices.

To complete the look, we added on-trend accessories – chunky platforms, a Louenhide crossbody bag and tasteful jewellery, creating perfection in readiness for that beach getaway.

Tristan rocks this super-fine cotton shirt by True North. This quirky palm tree print is so wearable for any casual beachside bar or beach wedding and is offset with these winter-white, bamboo cotton shorts. We’ve kept it simple and relaxed with Havaianas as thongs are very accepted at this beach-side location.

To complete this duo’s impressive coastal statement, we added Szade and Reality sunglasses.

All fashion items are available at Annie’s at the Beach and Beach Catwalk boutiques at Palm Cove, which are proud to be supporting Australian designed fashions.


Models: Jade Morris, Lucy Miller & Tristan Pep
Styled by: Annie Gillow from Annie’s at the Beach & Lucy Miller from Luma Swim
Location: Nu Nu Restaurant, Palm Cove