Tracks & Trails

Palm Cove to Clifton Beach
Tracks & Trails | beach | urbanwalking | Far North | Queensland

Palm Cove to Clifton Beach

Walking in paradise

by Susie Baber  |  20 February 2023

We were lucky enough to spend a weekend in Palm Cove recently, on the Cairns’ northern beaches. A beautiful FNQ tourist destination known for its palm lined beach and its relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere. Williams Esplanade runs along the waterfront and is filled with cafés, restaurants, shops and galleries. There is a walkway that also runs the length of the town, from Palm Cove Jetty at the northern end of the beach, down to the end of the esplanade. A flat smooth path meanders through lush lawns and tropical gardens with views out to Double Island. There are play areas and coffee shops dotted along the way to entertain both young and old. A beautiful walk at any time of day it is especially lovely at sunrise and sunset when you will see half of Palm Cove come out to either jog or stroll.

If you are after a bit more exercise you can extend your walk south to the next beach side suburb – Clifton Beach. A much quieter, mostly residential area with an equally as beautiful beach. The walk is part of the new Northern Beaches Leisure Trail.

The esplanade at Palm Cove is roughly 2km return, extending your walk to the south end of Clifton beach will stretch you out to 9.5km return.

At the south end of Williams Esplanade follow the road to the right (now Veivers Road) then take the first left into Triton Street. Just past the Pullman Resort there is a shared bike pedestrian path to your left that will take you into the mangroves. Once you are on this path it is pretty easy to follow, there is just one spot where you can go wrong. As you meander through the mangroves there are a couple of beach access paths where you can get down to the sand and check how the sunrise is progressing. You need to take the second one, which is confusingly only signed beach access, turn left along the boardwalk over the mangrove. The alternative path straight ahead, signed Smithfield and City Centre, will take you away from the beach and up to the highway.

Go this way…
Not this way

At Clifton Beach you come out at a playground, follow Upolu Esplanade down past Dead Man’s Gully Reserve to Arllington Esplanade. Clifton Beach seems to be suffering from more ocean erosion than Palm Cove and some areas along the beachfront have been reinforced with rock walls. If you tire of looking at the ocean views, there are some lovely houses to admire while you walk. At the south end of Arllington Esplanade you can walk down on to the sand, but this was as far as I went as there was a sizable estuary blocking my way.

The walk is supposed to link into Kewarra, the next suburb south. There were tracks leading into the reserve at the end of the esplanade, but I didn’t have the time or energy to explore them today, it was time to head back to Palm Cove for breakfast.

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