Monday, 30 April 2012

Palm Cove - Attractions

Not a bad way to spend the week-end I must admit....... 

We flew to Cairns on Friday Morning, a nice 3 hour flight from Sydney (only a little delayed, but I did get a chance to finish a very good book that I'd been reading) Then a 20 minute bus ride to Palm Cove. We were a group of 8 including a few impressive ladies who organise Incentive Programs, hearing some of the stuff that they arrange for groups was amazing.

Palm Cove is a favourite destination of mine and I've visited a few times but getting to meet some of the attraction operators and having a close look at the hotels and venues was fantastic. I will chat about the Hotel Venues in subsequent posts, but for now its all about the attractions and event venues.

Conference in a Tropical Paradise
The best time to visit Tropical North Queensland is between May and November when you will only need to pack T-Shirts, shorts and swimmers (sunglasses, hat and sunscreen too).  The worst time is February and March when it will be humid, wet, stingers in the water and the possibility of Cyclone action

There are a few things that make Palm Cove an attractive destination for me and a place that I love to recommend. Not only does it have some excellent hotels venues suitable for small to medium sized conferences, but it offers a great diversity of amazing experiences; Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Kuranda, Skyrail, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Cains Zoo to name just a few.

Its not me, but this really is what it looks like
Clearly a trip to the Great Barrier Reef to experience one of the worlds natural wonders is must, the amazing variety of fish and corals will give your delegates a day that they will live long in the memory. You do not have to be a great swimmer or super fit, the tours do provide flotation aids. If your group is conferencing at Palm Cove I suggest getting a bus north to Port Douglas for your reef trip, the further north you go the less people on the reef and the closer the reef is to the coast, so if you depart Cairns its around 2 hours out to the reef, but if you depart Port Douglas its only 1 hour. Your delegates can join the larger boats that can take several hundred people out to the reef, but private charters are also available. Half day trips can be arranged to fit in with your conference program and a scenic helicopter transfer back to the hotel will give smaller groups an unforgettable aerial perspective of the Reef.

Stephen and Koala
Stephen and Snake
Cairns Zoo, which is only 5 minutes drive from Palm Cove, gives you delegates the chance to get up close and personal with some of Australia's iconic wildlife. You can hold a Koala or a Python, you can hand feed kangaroos or watch them feed a 4.5m crocodile, the size of this beast made us gasp, its big enough to attack and kill a cow, and hearing the loud crack as its jaws snapped shut made us take a step back even though we were behind a solid fence. Cairns Zoo also does night tours which are fascinating. You can use this place as a unique venue for a dinner or cocktail function.

Dinner in The Rainforest
Your group will certainly need a dinner or 2 and maybe a cocktail function. With Beaches and Rainforest on your doorstep Palm Cove offers some great opportunities for dining events. I attended an event that was set up in a rainforest clearing next door to the conference centre at Novotel Palm Cove, it was fantastic how they had set it up, melaleuca and rainforest palm with up lights, chandeliers hanging from the canopy, a smoke machine to add some mystery, and some gentle acoustic music - combine this with amazing food and it was great night. Another night we visited the spectacular Kewarra Beach Resort and had dinner on the beach surrounded by swaying palm trees - again a memorable location and some great food. I loved the wood fired pizza oven on the beach. What am amazing destination!

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