Palm Cove is a beach-resort suburb 25 km north of central Cairns. It has a headland, Buchan Point, and two km of beach between the headland and Clifton Beach. In the late nineteenth century there was a Buchans Estate orchard plantation with numerous palm trees. Buchans Beach became known as Palm Beach but, to avoid confusion with the Palm Beaches on the Gold Coast and in New South Wales, it was renamed Palm Cove. Formal renaming occurred in 1980, about 30 years after the name had been adopted locally.

During the period between 1920s and 1950s the Vievers family had a house at the corner of Vievers Road and Williams Esplanade, and for a few years conducted annual sports and rodeo days at Palm Beach. In 1958 the first of numerous accommodation facilities was opened, Reef House, on Williams Esplanade. It was followed by caravan parks near the jetty and in Vievers Road.

The opening of Cairns international airport in 1984 was followed by the construction of the Ramada Reef Resort on the site of the Vievers family house together with numerous other resort and apartment developments. The Novotel Resort with the adjoining Palm Cove Country Club occupies a large area to the north of Palm Cove's built-up area. An equally large area to the south is designated as the Argentea residential project. By 2005 there were numerous resort and apartment developments completed or under way. Palm Cove had been dubbed 'Noosa of the North', with forested landscape down to the beach and a shopping village with tree-shaded walkways.

Palm Cove's beach has a jetty, the Cairns Surf Life Saving Club, a stinger-resistant swimming enclosure and a foreshore reserve. Palm Cove's census populations have been:

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