by Kim Coconuts

3 Generations Travelling Together 

We recently had a family holiday to Far North Queensland, wow what a great time! All seven of us, my husband and I, along with our three children (twin boys, teenage daughter), and the grandparents. We booked two villas at Villa Beach Palm Cove (both villas were on the same level and we had the whole floor to ourselves, so it worked really well & they had lift access too). 

Staying in the heart of Tropical North Queensland, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage rainforests was a perfect destination for a multi-generational family holiday.

I'm so excited to share our idyllic 11 day Far North Queensland Itinerary with you, packed with our top recommendations of things to do, where to eat and much more! With Palm Cove recently being awarded World’s Best Beach by Conde Nast Traveller magazine, I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on our holiday there – so good!

Itinerary Summary

Day 1 - Arrive - Edge Hill - Botanical Gardens & relax at Villa Beach

Day 2 - Palm Cove & Stoney Creek 

Day 3 - Great Barrier Reef - epic day! 

Day 4 - Kuranda Skyrail 

Day 5 - Daintree / Cape Tribulation 

Day 6 - Palm Cove (relaxing at Villa Beach Palm Cove)

Day 7 - Mossman Gorge & Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures 

Day 8 - Atherton Tablelands & waterfall chasing 

Day 9 - Port Douglas 

Day 10 - Cairns

Day 11 - one more idyllic walk 

Day 1 - Arrive - Edge Hill - Botanical Gardens & relax at Villa Beach 

After landing at the airport and picking up our hire car (8 seater van), we headed Noa café restaurant for brunch just near the botanical gardens approximately 7min from the airport- worth stopping for a coffee/drink/something to eat (their artisan sodas are really good). Then we enjoyed walking through the Cairns Botanical Gardens, the Watkins Munro Martin Conservatory where there were many butterflies and the Aboriginal Plant Use Garden. A great stop while filling in some time before checking into our accommodation. 

We stopped by Jonsson’s Fruit & Veg market for some local produce and snacks (when travelling with children/teens it’s always a good idea to have snacks!) Then headed to our accommodation at Villa Beach Palm Cove. Wow - what a location! Stunning views & our villa was spacious and had everything we needed and more. Wifi, Netflix, full kitchen, two bathrooms and own laundry (very handy when travelling as a family). 

Dinner for night one was at The Cairns Surf Club at Palm Cove, which offered great casual dining, nightly specials - a good selection of kids meals and delicious seafood too (I do recommend the king prawns- yum!). As an added bonus, we watched the bats fly in from Double Island at dusk. 

Day 2 - Palm Cove & Stoney Creek 

We started the day with an idyllic walk through the rainforest and along the beach into Palm Cove (about 20 min flat walk, the kids used the guest bikes and scooters from the villa) and had the most magnificent breakfast at NuNu’s picture-perfect postcard location under the palm trees and good coffee and green juice too. 

After we headed to Stoney Creek for a swim (about 20 min drive from Villa Beach midweek is good for Stoney creek, the weekends this spot can get quite busy as it’s a local favourite).
Tip: take goggles so you can see the fish swimming in the pools, and the mini esky from the villa with drinks and snacks as you’ll want to stay a while so many rock pools to explore. 

The afternoon was spent swimming in the pool at the villa and topped off with some tasty fish and chips from 'Pete's Place' which we gobbled down while fishing off the Palm Cove jetty (there is even some fishing gear at the villa for guests to use too).

Day 3 - Great Barrier Reef - epic day! 

The coffee machine at the villa thankfully made the early start easy as we drove into Cairns (about a 40 min drive), and joined a full-day tour to the Great Barrier Reef with Down Under Cruise and Dive. Definitely recommend them, great for beginner snorkelers through to advanced scuba divers. They provided all the gear, food drinks and very comfortable (they even helped you put on your flippers!). We opted for a guided swim with one of their marine biologists onboard - so good! 

Dinner tonight was pizza takeaway from Ilforno pizzeria on Williams Esplanade in Palm Cove.  

Day 4 - Kuranda Skyrail 

Today's adventure was a Gondola through the canopy of the rainforest & discover the village of Kuranda, markets, butterfly houses, bird sanctuary and more. It was such an experience gliding above the world’s oldest living rainforest, and an absolute must-do! There is also a rainforest train you can take to complete the loop or take the Skyrail in both directions. (there was a quad bike tour you can book that looked like fun too). 

Dinner tonight was at Vivo, Palm Cove. Delicious, is the only way to describe it. I loved the crab linguini and the tropical feel here is what holidays are all about.

Day 5 - Daintree / Cape Tribulation 

Another epic day! Driving along the coast north from Villa Beach was absolutely stunning! We stopped at the Daintree Ice Cream and Tropical Fruit Farm for a coffee and the most delicious ice cream made from fruit grown on the farm. The Daintree Discovery Centre was amazing, as was the incredible views overlooking the rainforest while sipping a local Daintree Devonshire Tea - so beautiful - could even see fish swimming in the waterhole below. Lunch was at Thornton’s on the Beach - a really great spot and delicious lunch (recommend the Rueben sandwich with homemade bread). 

We also managed to fit in a river cruise to spot crocodiles, another must-do. Our guide was like a character from Crocodile Dundee (I’m old enough to remember that movie).

This is a big day, so you’ll need to leave early and allow enough time to catch the car ferry across the river into the national park. Once again, I recommend you take the mini esky from your Villa with some cool drinks and snacks - there’s often quite a distance between places to stop on the other side of the Daintree River. There is also horse riding on the beach at Cape Tribulation (you'll need to pre-book horse tours, I might do that next time). 

Dinner was at the pub in the Daintree Village - a great spot!

Day 6 - Palm Cove

A much-needed day to relax. We took our coffee across from Villa Beach to enjoy a sunrise on the beach, followed by breakfast on the balcony. This leisure was delightfully filled with swimming in the pool and even a game of Jenga (there are several games, puzzles and books in the guest library here too). We wandered along the esplanade in Palm Cove populated by several nice boutiques and shops. The boys picked up some great board shorts at the Shak, such a great shop just by Numi ice cream - yum! 

Dinner tonight - El Greko Greek Taverna in Palm Cove… another delicious dinner finished off with Greek coffee and loukamades. There are so many options up here to choose from! 

Day 7 - Mossman Gorge & Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures 

Mossman offered a lovely swim in the crystal clear waters of the gorge & beautiful rainforest walk . We also did a guided tour with an Indigenous elder at Mossman Gorge. Definitely recommend it, as we learnt so much. 

Then onto Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures for an afternoon of croc fun!! So good, and the best Croc show I’ve ever seen! Held a baby croc and pat a Koala too. 

Dinner tonight - Japanese at Kushi Yakitori Bar & Japanese Restaurant.

Day 8 - Atherton Tablelands & waterfall chasing

We now have a waterfall and rainforest obsession and decided to try another spot recommended to us, Crystal Cascades (take a pool noodle from the villa with you), and float in the rock pools while gazing up into the canopy of the rainforest and enjoy ‘shinrin-yoku’ the art of Japanese rainforest bathing and taking in the lush forest atmosphere.

We continued our exploration as we drove into the Atherton Tablelands, where the landscape changes into the more bushlands and farming areas to discover coffee plantations, and biodynamic cheese in between visiting some gorgeous waterfalls! 

Dinner tonight was Lunico at Trinity Beach, a great range of pizzas, pasta and salads.

Day 9 - Port Douglas

Today we drove north along the stunning coastal road to Port Douglas. We made sure to plan today as a Sunday when the great Port Douglas Markets are open and in full swing, full of locally made arts and crafts. If you find the Italian Bread man, be sure to try his homemade focaccia (so good). 

We then wandered the streets in Port Douglas, full of nice boutiques and an amazing art gallery. There are two bookshops that are a must! The Book Lounge Port Douglas - the most incredible collection of books (mostly second-hand), the lovely owner will most likely offer you a cup of tea or coffee for free to enjoy while you’re there. The other is Whileaway Books, a bookshop & cafe by day, and Mexican restaurant by night. They have great coffee there and a great range of new books, including a wide range of local and indigenous authors.

After we stopped off at the Marina in Port Douglas. Hemingway Brewery does a great beer-tasting paddle and Barbados have an amazing range of cocktails - both great spots to overlook the marina. 

Dinner tonight was Yada Thai at Trinity Beach, I recommend the Flambé Seafood, but seriously everything we had here was so delicious. 

Day 10 - Cairns

Today we ventured into Cairns for a swim in the lagoon, it’s free, accessible and suitable for all ages. Not your typical public pool - this one is so much more. With lots of space, paddling areas and deeper sections, even a sandy beach. We then hired a BBQ pontoon boat to explore Cairns Trinity Inlet, do some fishing and look for crocs. We did see one, but I’m sure there were many more that saw us.  Although we didn’t get time, Cairns Aquarium and Rusty’s Markets were both highly recommended by people we chatted to. So some more things to do next time! 

Dinner for our final evening was NuNu’s such a stunning setting and the degustation dinner is tropical fine dining at its best. Truly unique, with a focus on locally sourced produce. (PS They also do a delicious passionfruit chilli margarita, just saying ;)

Day 11 - One more idyllic walk 

One more walk into Palm Cove along the boardwalk for coffee, tropical fruits and breakfast… this really is one of our highlights the walk from the tranquil location at Villa Beach into Palm Cove is gorgeous. 

We have packed so much into our 11 days, could easily do another 10 days and at least a few more days relaxing on the balcony overlooking the coral sea reading a book… 


Thank you Holidays of Australia and the World for booking our trip to Far North Queensland and for exceeding our expectations for a truly amazing holiday for the whole family. I’ll be holiday dreaming until next time…

PS… Palm Cove is the day spa capital of Far North Queensland if you’re in need of some pampering, the Sea Temple Day Spa looked amazing will definitely try this next time too. 

Some suggestions for things we didn’t get time to do, but have put them on the wish list for another visit … 

  • SUP or tube float through the rainforest
  • Kayak tour to Double Island (which you can see from Villa Beach)
  • Go carts 
  • Horse riding at Cape Tribulation
  • Amazing golf courses 
  • AJ Hackett flying fox & bungee
  • Scuba diving
  • Quad bike tour 
  • Helicopter flight over the reef 
  • Drive down to the Cassowary Coast and visit Mission Beach 
  • Milla Milla Falls
  • Day trip to Green Island or Fitzroy Island 
  • Cairns Aquarium 
  • Rusty’s markets
  • Day spa