As life panned out, lastminute lovely, Kirsty’s besties are now located all around the country so planning a weekend away was hard. Their criteria: sun, sand, sea, pools and Pina Coladas – Palm Cove didn’t disappoint.
Only 30 minutes from Cairns by taxi (around $40), Palm Cove was to be the scene of our Girls Gone North weekend and after a quick stop at a roadside fruit stall we had arrived.
Palm Cove instantly turned on the charm with everything you want in a beach town: quaint coffee shops and stores, a few good pubs, great restaurants and a palm-tree lined beach. The enormous Paperbark trees that line the main street and meld with shop fronts, give the strip a unique character that also struck us. There is no pretention and it was just perfect for our laid back ladies weekend.
Things got even better at our apartment. Having walked past the fabulous resorts including Peppers Beach Club and Sea Temple, we were wondering if an apartment was the right choice, however our three-bedroom digs at Island Views Palm Cove were perfection.
A spacious kitchen, perfect for storing roadside fruit and pina coladas, two living areas, perfect for D&Ms and a huge balcony overlooking the beach, made us all jump around on the spot squealing for a good minute…. Yep this would do!
The second most important ingredient for our weekend was food (glorious food) and the dining options in Palm Cove didn’t disappoint. From fish and chips at the local, to a delicious Thai feast at Choc Dee and a splash out dinner at Nu Nus we were all impressed.
Our fancy dinner at Gourmet Traveller magazine’s regional restaurant of the year, Nu Nus gave us an excuse to don our beachy cocktail dresses and drink fancy champagne. The menu was pretty special too – my eye fillet steak, poached in beetroot juice was amaze-balls… not to mention the huge oysters. Shazzam, another slam-dunk for Palm Cove!
Determined to break up cocktail drinking, we planned activities to keep us out of trouble. Day one was hilarious (or as we later called it “totes hilare”). Led by the more adventurous and followed by complaining companions, we reclaimed our youth by hiring bikes and cycling to Kewarra beach (about an hour away by bike). With the exception of one minor run in with a fence, a small sunburn issue and a treacherous path through crocodile inhabited areas… it was a great day. Our afternoon cocktails felt so much more deserved after a hard days work.
Our second adventure had much more pizzazz (and a lot less injuries) – a day trip to Green Island on the Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises. Coincidently, this was also our ‘resort wear’ competition day… oh yes we travelled in true vacationer style.
Aside from relaxing with cocktails on beach chairs, we got amongst the island action. The snorkeling was spectacular and the only thing that stopped us talking – who said we could talk underwater anyway? I had my first encounter with a shark (a very, very small one), however we were all most impressed with swimming beside the turtles grazing on the sea grasses.
We had to drag ourselves out of the water to go on the submarine ride. We weren’t sure about it until we got in and suddenly, we were kids at Sea World – I think I may have even squealed… again. Giant Trevally and swarms of reef fish swam next to the windows as we toured the reef. I highly recommend dragging yourself away from the cocktails for this experience.
And what destination blog would be complete without mentioning the nightlife? We aimed to bring the party to Palm Cove and I was so proud of our achievement. Starting with a few drinks at Portobello Restaurant we then hit the pubs. The highlights: one lucky lady was delivered a cocktail from a mystery admirer (nothing like a free drink to say “You look goooood”), another brought the house down with her rendition of ‘All night long’ by Lionel Richie and another managed to make an animal print jumpsuit look amazing. Paint the town pink… tick!
Just as we’d hoped, Palm Cove had everything you need for a girls weekend away – adventure, great diggs, amazing food, warm weather and good friends. Round up your besties and make it an annual trip. We will be!