Palm Cove in North Queensland Has Been Named the Best Beach in the World by Condé Nast 'Traveller'

Five other Australian beaches and one coastal New Zealand spot also made the cut on the full list of 34 spots, with half of the top ten hailing from Down Under.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 06, 2024

Fancy spending your next coastal getaway in Queensland's far north, splashing in the tree-lined waters of Palm Cove? If so, you'll be swimming in the best beach in the world. That's the verdict of Condé Nast Traveller, which has picked the Sunshine State locale near Cairns as the top patch of sand globally.

While plenty of folks Down Under happily trade our own beaches for Hawaii's when it comes to enjoying a tropical holiday, Palm Cove pipped Honopu Beach in Kauai, which came in second. In fact, half of the top ten on the list of 34 beaches hails from Australia and New Zealand. Wategos Beach in Byron Bay took out fourth, Mona Vale Beach in Sydney sits at sixth, Noosa Beach in Queensland ranked eighth and Awaroa in Abel Tasman National Park in Aotearoa came in at ninth.

Elsewhere in the top ten, Brekon in Shetland, Scotland placed third; Ora Beach, Maluku, Indonesia sits in fifth spot; Dune du Pilat, France ranked seventh; and Die Plaat, Walker Bay Nature Reserve, South Africa notched up tenth.

Palm Cove

Palm Cove was chosen for being a quieter spot that's "usually free of crowds", although that might change after topping this ranking. "The combination of leaning palm trees on powdery sand makes Palm Cove Beach the epitome of a tropical paradise," said Condé Nast Traveller, also pointing out its proximity to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as being able to see dolphins and whales from the Palm Cove jetty.

Queensland's tourism bodies are already hoping for an influx of visitors thanks to the attention. "The Condé Nast Traveller selection of Palm Cove as the first in this curated list will bring international travellers to its coconut palm-fringed shore to dine in beachfront restaurants and cafes and relax at stunning resorts," said Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen.

Palm Cove

In total, seven Down Under beaches made the cut, with Western Australian beaches getting some love, too. Turquoise Bay in Exmouth placed 22nd and Gantheaume Point in Broome came in at 25. All Australian and NZ destinations included on the list were in the top 25.

Palm Cove being named the world's best beach comes shortly after Sydney's Manly Beach was picked as the seventh best beach in the world for 2024 by Tripadvisor, and Victoria's Squeaky Beach was chosen as Australia's best beach for this year by beach expert Brad Farmer AM.

Queensland keeps scoring attention as well, with Brisbane named one of the best places to go in 2024 by The New York Times, travel guide Frommer's also selecting the city as one of 2024's best spots to visit, TIME putting it on its world's greatest places list for 2023 and the World's Best 50 Hotels picking The Calile as its only Australian and Oceanic entry in its inaugural countdown in 2023.

Palm Cove, Emma Shaw

Condé Nast Traveller's Top 34 Beaches:

Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia
Honopu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Brekon, Shetland, Scotland
Wategos Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Ora Beach, Maluku, Indonesia
Mona Vale Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Dune du Pilat, France
Noosa Beach, Queensland, Australia
Awaroa, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
Die Plaat, Walker Bay Nature Reserve, South Africa
Grand Anse, Grenada
Keem Bay, Achill Island, Ireland
Fakarava, French Polynesia
Marathonisi, Zakynthos, Greece
Praia do Sancho, Brazil
Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada
Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles
Seagrass Bay, Laucala Island, Fiji
Hidden Beach, Palawan, Philippines
Ile aux Cerfs, Mauritius
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos
Turquoise Bay, Western Australia, Australia
Pink Sand Beach, Barbuda
Playa Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Gantheaume Point, Western Australia, Australia
Dolfynstrand, Namibia
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, North Carolina
Rauðasandur Beach, Iceland
Jibei Island beach, Taiwan
Uig Sands, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Benguerra Island, Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Al Mughsail, Salalah, Oman
Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo del Sur, Cuba
Luskentyre, Outer Hebrides

Mona Vale Beach

Palm Cove


Awaroa, Kiwi Canary

Turquoise Bay, Tourism Western Australia

Gantheaume Point, Tourism Western Australia

For more information about Condé Nast Traveller's best beaches, head to the publication's website.

Published on March 06, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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