When we booked our recent trip to Palm Cove, it was a now-or-never situation. Now being that we actually had money in the account on the day that Jetstar was having a Fare Frenzy, and never being that we probably wouldn’t tomorrow (because life), so just do it already! I’m going to tell you a little about where we stayed, what we did and ultimately, how much it all cost because we did it on a budget without really compromising on anything.
We flew Jetstar from Tullarmarine. I signed up to Jetstars newsletters a long time ago and every Friday between 4pm-8pm they have a ‘Fare Frenzy’. We got these flights for $49 each way pp, with the kids as infants they we were free. We got 1 x 20kg bag between the four of us so the total cost for flights return to Cairns was $238.50. Not bad for a family of four to FNQ! We paid $7 per adult each way to choose our seats so I chose the back row of the plane, and made sure we had aisle and middle so we could move around. Little fact – there are only 4 air bags per row, so if you choose your seats and have 4 of your already there, they can’t seat anyone on the window seat (I didn’t know this before coming back, the check in lady told us). If you check in at the airport, they would most likely put you across the row from one another (if you have an infant on each lap).
Chris thinks I am the WORST when it comes to accomm because I just can’t decide. I find us 10 different places, he chooses one (way too easily might I add), and then the next day I have another 10 for us to look through. I just don’t wanna get FOMO you GUYZ!
EVERYBODY told us to stay in Port Douglas which was the intention but after I remembered Jetsetmama (the super funny, incredibly capable jet-setting mum Claire – FOLLOW HER if you’re not already) and her hubby owned Trip A Deal I jumped on there and they only had ONE place in FQN being Mango Lagoon Resort in Palm Cove.
My ‘needs’ for this trip were fairly simple – we just wanted to go and relax. We wanted pools. We wanted an apartment or family sized room where we could all relax and be comfortable without being squished. And we wanted to be fairly near the beach and the main hub. Mango Lagoon Resort was all of that, and had some great deals on. We purchased 3 nights for $349, and paid an extra $145 on arrival for our final night.
The apartment was MASSIVE. Like seriously, I was beyond impressed at how much room we had and the grounds were so reminiscent of being in Asia somewhere (but without the odd B.O smell). The only thing was that they were ‘self catering’ and ‘self contained’ which I didn’t think was labelled well. This actually wasn’t a problem for us because I wanted to do a majority of eating at ‘home’ since we didn’t have a huge amount of cash, but once you ran out of the first bin bag and loo roll they gave you, nothing was replaced.
They did have a main reception area where they can book tours, and enquiries etc from you and wifi is free throughout the resort. All of the 4 pools have gates around them, and our room basically opened up right onto 2 of the pools. The apartments have air con, and full kitchens, living and dining areas and a sizeable bathroom.
If I went again and more money, I’d like to try out Peppers – it was beachfront and looked amazing!
An absolute must. We booked our SUV through Vroom Vroom Vroom for $106, plus about $50 per chair for Evie + Hunt. When we got there we realised the boot space was way too small, and paid an extra $54 to upgrade.
Although the apartment was close to the beach and main strip, it was an uphill walk back and it was HOT you guys – the air con in the car was perfect, plus we also took a few drives to Port Douglas, Daintree etc.
While our main activities was swimming in one of the 4 pools and napping, Chris did a scuba day for his birthday with Down Under Cruise and Dive. It was a 2 x certified scuba dives for $229, plus $22 for transfers. It included his lunch and drinks and he had a great time, although he said it was sad and disappointing that the reef was basically dead and wasn’t too impressive to look at.
We did a bulk of our eating and drinking in the apartment after a trip to Coles on the first day, but we also had some drinks on the waterfront, Thai takeaway one night and beers at a pub in Mossman. The apartment having the huge kitchen space that it did made it so affordable for us, and also easy to feed the kids things they normally eat.
Chill Cafe is a really cool place to go (a tip from a friend, and glad I took it!) – it has an entirely separate menu for smoothies and juices, and they’ll add booze into any of them for you. I had a watermelon margarita while Evie made friends, coloured in and ate chips, and Hunter ate my shoe on the floor.
So while everyone told us to stay in Port D we were so glad we chose Palm Cove – it was the perfect amount of quiet that we needed, while still having so much! It wasn’t too busy, but we didn’t miss out on anything, and we could walk (or a very short drive) anywhere.
Some pictures from our trip.