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Frequently asked Questions

The Reef Retreat apartments and suites are all located in our own unique Melaleuca rainforest setting and offer a wonderful shady retreat from the heat of the tropical day. The tropical gardens at The Reef Retreat feature a huge range of flowering and native trees and plants, with plenty of birdlife.

Accommodation FAQs

The Reef Retreat is a non-smoking property. All rooms, including balconies are NON-SMOKING areas. Smoking is not permitted in any of the common areas including reception, the BBQ area or the pool area.  If you are a smoker we ask that you please exit the property to smoke.


As with most self-catering accommodation daily housekeeping is not included in the room rate but can be arranged for a small fee. Guests staying 5 nights or more receive a mid-stay service with linen and towels changed. (Stay 10 nights receive 2 services etc). The Three Bedroom Townhouses located at No 5 Harpa Street, receive a full service after 7 days or mid stay for stays over 7 nights. Clean towels are available from reception at no extra charge should they be required.

All bed linen and bathroom linen are provided, we also provide Towels for use at our pool, for the beach or to take on Reef or Waterfall tours.

All the apartments have air-conditioners and ceiling fans. We recommend that guests operate their Air Conditioners at 23 degrees Celsius as this represents the most efficient and effective temperature for operation of the A/C Unit and the cooling of your apartment. We do ask that guests turn off the A/C unit when leaving the apartment to minimise electricity. In closing the Unit and the curtains on departure the apartment will remain cool until your return and energy is conserved

Nothing is too much trouble, just let us know in advance what you would like for that special someone or as a treat for yourself. If you desire items such as rose petals for the bed or something special over and above Wine, Flowers or chocolates please contact with some reasonable lead time to allow us to give you a quote.

All the apartments are self-contained, they are equipped with a kitchenette, two hob electric stove-top, a microwave oven, half size refrigerator, toaster and kettle and utensils to support the preparation and enjoyment of a light meal or Take-away food purchased from the variety of menus available from The Palm Cove Esplanade restaurants.

Our 2 Bedroom and 3 Bedroom Accommodation have their own laundry facilities. There is a Guest Laundry available with coin operated washing and drying machine. In addition there are clothes airers available from reception for the drying of delicate items.

The Reef Retreat, is perfect for a romantic getaways in the heart of Palm Cove. It is ideal for that surprise weekend or to add just the right to touch for the celebration of an anniversary or a birthday. Just picture the two of you sitting on the balcony perhaps sipping some bubbles and enjoying the ambience of our pool setting and gardens, set amongst a magnificent grove of paperbark Melaleuca trees. Ask about our romantic packages or click here to see our current specials.


Our Two and Three Bedroom accommodation are ideal for families that have children ranging from 18 months to 18 years. The rooms allow children and teenagers to have their own space, yet be in close proximity to the rest of the party. The Reef Retreat also enjoys a fantastic location relative to the beach and to affordable dining options with its proximity to the Palm Cove Esplanade and the on-site BBQ Common area.

Our rooms primarily enjoy a Garden or Pool view perspective. Some One Bedroom Apartments enjoy picturesque mountain views to the east of Palm Cove where the Tableland escarpment comes to within 1 kilometre of the Beach and the Coral Sea. All of our rooms afford privacy.


Please refer to our floor plans which will give an indication of the size of the room in terms of square meterage and in particular in respect of the configuration of the rooms and their furnishings.

The Three bedroom apartment is located on the 3rd floor of The Reef Retreat and joins together the 2 bedroom apartment with a one bedroom suite giving 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full-sized kitchen, 2 x kitchenettes, a full laundry, 2 x balconies and 2 separate living areas with 3 x televisions. Maximum occupancy in the 3 bedroom apartment is 8 people with 2 accommodated on roll-away beds.

The Three bedroom townhouses are located directly across the road from The Reef Retreat at No 5 Harpa Street.There are 4 x three bedroom, 2 bathroom apartments on the ground and first floor, each has a maximum occupancy of 7 people. Each Townhouse has a full kitchen with dishwasher, full laundry facilities, an open plan living and dining area with a TV, DVD player and free WiFi. Each apartment has a garage that can accommodate one vehicle. The complex also has a small plunge pool for cooling off on hot days or when returning from the beach.

Reception and check in for the Townhouses are at the Reef Retreat. Please note the Reef Retreat and The Reef Retreat Townhouses are separate complexes. Guests staying at the Reef Retreat Townhouses do not have access to the facilities at The Reef Retreat.

Studios are located on the ground or first floor. Ideal for short stays, for the single traveller or couples. A third person can be accommodated on a rollaway bed. Our studios measure 45 – 47 square metres with separate living and sleeping areas. All have a king size bed with ensuite bathroom. The well-equipped kitchenettes provide a variety of cooking utensils with cutlery and crockery for 3 people and are perfect for preparing breakfast, lunch or a light dinner which can be enjoyed on your private balcony (first floor) or patio (ground floor). One bedroom suites are located on the first and second floor and measure 47 – 58 square metres. They have open plan living and kitchen areas. The bedroom is separated from the living area by sliding doors. Glass sliding doors open to a large private balcony. The well-equipped kitchenettes contain a variety of cooking utensils with cutlery and crockery for 3 people.

Superior spa suites are located in the newest part of The Reef Retreat adjacent to the reception. They are located on the ground or first floor.

All superior spa suites overlook the tropical gardens and pool. Glass sliding doors open from the bedroom to the large patio / balcony which features a covered outdoor open plan living and kitchen area. The large bathrooms contains a spa bath for two which is separated from the bedroom by wooden sliding doors. Maximum occupancy is two people, no extras can be accommodated.

The standard spa suites are located on the ground, first or second floor these suites are contained in the original Reef Retreat buildings. Glass sliding doors open from the bedroom to the open plan living and kitchen area which has wooden sliding shutters. The large bathrooms contains a spa bath for two which is separated from the bedroom by wooden sliding doors. Maximum occupancy is two people, no extras can be accommodated.

Please note these suites are at the rear of the resort and do not offer garden or pool views.

We can furnish rooms with a variety of items that support guests who have infant children. Please contact us for information on what is available and to obtain an idea of pricing.

Facilities FAQs

We are not able to accommodate guests who are travelling with domesticated pets of any kind.

We have free wifi available throughout the resort which provides good connectivity allowing guests to download and upload email and photographs, follow social media and surf the internet.

Normal check-out time is 10.00am, late check-outs are subject to availability on day of departure. Late check-outs where available are free of charge until midday. After midday a nominal hourly rate applies. Normal check-in time is 2.00pm, however if you arrive early and the apartment is available we are happy for you to check-in early.

If we have guests in the apartments the night before then we will endeavour to have the apartment ready for you as quickly as possible. We are be happy to look after your luggage until check-in is available and offer you a complimentary coffee at a local restaurant while you are waiting.

Palm Cove is a popular destination for couples intending to marry and we work closely with local marriage celebrants and wedding and catering operators.

We are able to host informal wedding receptions in our Common Area and provide discounted accommodation rates for wedding parties and guests

Yes, we offer a FREE booking service for all of the experiences that are available in the greater Cairns and Tropical North Queensland region. We have extensive knowledge of what is available and are happy to advise on what represents the best opportunities and value for money according to your budget.

The internet provides a wealth of information on tours that are available but there is nothing that beats local knowledge and experience to assist you to make decisions about tour options. We are happy to give advice by phone or email in advance of your stay about tours.

The temperature of the Coral Sea off Palm Cove has a small fluctuation rate year round of approximately 4-5 degrees. In December and January the temperature is around 28-29C and in July it can dip to around 24C but never-the-less swimming in the Ocean is available year around to visitors to Palm Cove.

Our salt water pool is heated to 28 degrees year round. This is the temperature of the Coral Sea in Palm Cove in January. Our outdoor spa pool or Jacuzzi is heated to 36 degrees year round. The temperature is maintained at this level for Public Health reasons.


We can assist with baggage during normal business hours.

Unfortunately no.

All rooms at The Reef Retreat are accessed via stairs and walkways. If you have restricted mobility or think the stairs might prove difficult and need a room on the ground or lower floors you need to make this clear at the time of booking. It is rarely possible for us to move guests to lower floors on arrival.

We operate a simple procedure for check-in after hours.  This process is communicated as part of the content of our confirmation email.

Our Reception hours operate

1 November – 30 June Mon – Friday 8am to 5.30pm –  Saturday & Sunday 8am to 2pm

1 July – 31 October Mon – Sunday 8am to 7pm

Location FAQs

Guests staying in Palm Cove can utilise the Queensland Government SunBus service to travel to Cairns.  The trip takes approximately an hour direct into the Cairns CBD.

The service operates every half an hour Monday to Friday and hourly on weekends and public holidays. There are private bus shuttle services which can be accessed to travel between Palm Cove and Port Douglas and Palm Cove and Kuranda and Cooktown.  These can be booked through the Reef Retreat Tour Desk


Tropical North Queensland is home to both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and occasionally they can be seen in the vicinity of ocean beaches.  Signposting warning of their presence can also be seen.

Attacks by crocodiles upon humans are extremely rare and even more rarely in the vicinity of ocean beaches.  It is important to remember that crocodiles are ‘ambush predators’ that like to lay in-wait for their prey.  They do not like to expend a lot of energy in movement.  Visitors to the region should feel safe from crocodiles on beaches but heed warnings from life guards where and when they are issued.

Most importantly to avoid the risk of encountering a crocodile visitors to the region should never personally or allow children or family members to wade in creeks and estuary’s that flow into the ocean or wade amongst mangroves.  Nor should anyone swim from a beach at night.  Visitors should also not use inflatable dinghies or other inflatable water toys on rivers that flow into the ocean. Enjoying the solitude of some of Queensland’s remote and pristine beaches is attractive but does bring with it the risk of encountering the regions more risky forms of fauna.

In such circumstances enjoy the beach, the scenery and the seascape from the beach and save having a swim until you are in a location that is patrolled or where the presence of more recreational swimmers promises an established environment which is safe for a refreshing dip in the water!


Palm Cove beach does not have a lot of big surf breaking on the beach and is therefore quite safe for swimming for people of all ages.  During the summer months between November and the end of April safety nets are installed on the beaches of North Queensland as we experience Box-Jellyfish in the waters along the coast.

These jellyfish generally inhabit the shallow waters along the beaches and river mouths and are not found out on the Reefs. Netted swimming enclosures are provided along most major beaches to allow swimming from the beaches during these months and they are patrolled and checked regularly by lifeguards. This type of jellyfish is not only found in the waters off our region they are throughout the tropical Indo Pacific, including Bali & Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines etc. Further information can be found on the following link:

Another type of stinging jellyfish that you may become aware of is the Irukandji. Again this type of jellyfish is not only found in the ocean waters around Cairns and the Whitsundays as most people think, they are found worldwide in such places as Hawaii, Florida, The Caribbean, South Africa, India, Japan, Fiji even the UK, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth please see map and information on this on this link:

Evidence is growing that Irukandji stings are just as common overseas and possibly more so than in tropical Australia however the issue is better researched, recognised and reported in Australia unlike other popular tropical destinations.

The incidence of stings in the Cairns region are few.  The difference in our region to some parts of the world is that we take a responsible approach and warn people of the existence of these creatures in our waters at certain times of the year and advocate taking precautions to minimise any risk of being stung. In the unlikely event of being stung we have highly trained staff on hand and excellent medical facilities available.

During the months of our High Season between May and the end of October the nets are taken down and guests and holiday makers can swim recreationally on any portion of open beaches.  Surf Life Saving Australia maintains a presence on beaches year round and in High Season whilst there are no nets the beaches are patrolled and recreational swimming is encouraged to take place between specially marked areas denoted by red and yellow flags.

From our Reception it is no more than 50 meters to get your feet wet in the Coral Sea and beautiful Palm Cove Beach.

Our cooler months are between May and September where daytime temperatures are around 25C dipping overnight to around 16-18C. During the summer months from October –April we enjoy tropical weather that is generally hot and humid with temperatures around 32C during the day and 25C at night.

We can expect tropical downpours of rain at this time of year and the usual pattern is heavy rain overnight followed by sunny days and occasional showers. With sea temperatures rising it is a wonderful time to snorkel and dive on the Great Barrier Reef as the ocean is generally calmer, it is also a great time to visit the Rainforest and waterfalls which are spectacular at this time.


Palm Cove is ideally situated midway between Cairns and Port Douglas, just 20 minutes from Cairns Airport and 30 mins from Cairns CBD providing a perfect haven with the best of both worlds on our doorstep.  The location is ideal for all travellers from singles & couples, families, small to medium groups, Wedding Couples and their guests and Honeymooners. Palm Cove is the perfect base to explore the Great Barrier Reef with easy access to both Cairns and Port Douglas Marinas and the variety of Reef experiences that are available.

The Tablelands are also easily accessible for day trips from Palm Cove allowing guests to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the unique Cairns Tableland/Hinterland with its beautiful waterfalls, lakes and scenic densely forested hills.  Heading north from Palm Cove guests can explore the Mossman Gorge, Daintree River National Park and Cape Tribulation on either a self-drive excursion or with one of the many structured tours which pick-up and drop off at the front door of your hotel.

Importantly, the Palm Cove Esplanade is approximately 1 kilometre long which makes dining at one of the numerous eateries and cafes at any time of day a pleasure as almost all are enjoying beautiful views over the Coral Sea and are within easy walking distance from The Reef Retreat.

Palm Cove Village has a pharmacy, several convenience stores, Post Office and several small gift shops and boutiques.  There is a modest shopping centre just 2.5km south of Palm Cove on the Highway.  The Clifton Village shopping centre has a Coles Supermarket and small Target Variety Store along with a range of small specialist business such as a butcher, baker, pharmacy and optometrist, a Bank and fruit and vegetable vendor.

For those in need of a wider variety of goods, there is a large suburban shopping centre at Smithfield just 10-15 minutes south of Palm Cove or there is everything that anyone could possibly need whilst on holiday available from a range of businesses at the Cairns Central Shopping centre and other Cairns based locations.  Just a 30 minute drive or 1 hour bus ride.

We are 43 km south of Port Douglas as the Captain Cook Highway winds north from Palm Cove toward Port Douglas visitors to the region whether they are in a car or a bus get the opportunity to enjoy 28km of world heritage coast line with plenty of lookouts and photo opportunities dotted along the way.

Palm Cove is the northern most Village of Cairns Northern Beaches.  We are approximately 25km north of Cairns Airport, both domestic and international terminals and about 30km from Cairns CBD.

The drive from Cairns is an easy one on the Captain Cook Highway heading north during which you will experience a very pleasant transition from urban to rural as you approach Palm Cove

Experiences FAQs

There are a host of experiences and activities that can be accessed and enjoyed from Palm Cove as a base.  These can be reached by those who have their own transportation or by bus transfer which pick-up and drop off at your Hotel reception.

Guests are attracted to Tropical North Queensland to enjoy the climate, to see the Great Barrier Reef and to experience our World Heritage rainforest but there are so many things to choose from which embrace and enhance these attractions that you may be paralysed by choice!!  The options available cater to the budget conscious as well as those seeking to enjoy the experience and who are happy to pay a little extra!.

Naturally many of the tour experiences are Eco focused and provide opportunities for travellers to also enjoy some adrenalin packed activity through bungy, jumping ballooning, skydiving, scenic flights, ocean kayaking and jungle surfing through the rainforest canopy.

There is always something to do which can of course include doing very little beyond relaxing!  Palm Cove is ideally suited for those who like to enjoy breakfast out with ocean views and a tree lined foreshore.

It is ideal for a relaxing morning or afternoon on the beach or a lounger by the pool with a book.  In Palm Cove you can hire kayaks, paddle boards or jet skis and enjoy a little more water sport experience than just swimming.  There are also guided kayak tours around Double Island and Scout Hat Island available which can be done at sunrise or a little later if early rising on holiday does not appeal! Bicycle and scooter hire is easily arranged.

Rates FAQs

When it is cold and wet in the southern states and in New Zealand in the middle of the year is when our domestic guests trek north for some sunshine.  So our busy season is June through to the end of October.

International guests travel to Palm Cove and Tropical North Queensland year round.

We guarantee best rates for all direct bookings

Transport FAQs

Guests staying in Palm Cove can utilise the Queensland Government SunBus service to travel to Cairns.  The trip takes approximately an hour direct into the Cairns CBD.  The service operates every half an hour Monday to Friday and hourly on weekends and public holidays.

There are private bus shuttle services which can be accessed to travel between Palm Cove and Port Douglas and Palm Cove and Kuranda and Cooktown.  These can be booked through the Reef Retreat Tour Desk

Car hire is available from the major companies at Cairns Airport.  However if you are only thinking of wanting or needing a hire car for one or a couple of days during your stay we are an agent for a local hire car company and can pre-book a car for you or have one delivered to the hotel for your convenience.

We can arrange a shuttle service from Cairns domestic or international terminals to and from The Reef Retreat and at competitive rates and cheaper than a taxi.