Mission Beach is a nature’s paradise. Wrapped in rainforest, bordered by beaches and overlooking tropical islands, the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, it is far away from the city and offers a relaxed, peaceful place to escape and restore.
A scenic two hour drive south from Cairns, Mission Beach has 14 kilometres of golden beaches and is the closest mainland point to the Great Barrier Reef. Its accommodation ranges from caravan parks, to bungalows, bed and breakfasts, resorts and luxury retreats. Its quaint village ambience is created by friendly locals, outdoor cafes, beachside bars, art galleries, restaurants and rainforest walking tracks.
You can do as much, or little as you like at this delightful beachside village. Take a stroll through ancient rainforest, wade in crystal streams, fish from the beach, kayak or sail to nearby Dunk Island or get the heart pumping with sky diving, white water rafting, jet skiing, scuba diving, croc spotting and snorkelling (not to be experienced together).
Mission Beach is actually four separate communities, linked by one golden coastline. The toughest decision to make is where to stay, so let’s take a quick look at what they offer.
South Mission Beach is the place for water sports. You can go kayaking, sailing, fishing and boating. From between the palm trees, enjoy an amazing panorama over the Coral Sea and views of Dunk, Bedarra and Hinchinbrook Islands.
Wongaling Beach is the closest point to Dunk Island. If you are staying on the Island, this is where you must come to catch the sea taxi. For those staying on the mainland, relax and unwind at casual beachfront bars and enjoy retail therapy at nearby shops.
If you are interested in markets, then North Mission Beach is the place for you. Its colourful, local markets are held on the first and third Sunday of each month, showcasing an eclectic array of art, craft and produce. Outdoor cafes serve steaming lattes and freshly squeezed juices. Explore the galleries, shops and restaurants as you stroll around the village.
Bingil Bay is the last, and some would say most beautiful, of the four beach communities. It has free barbecue facilities at the water’s edge and amazing views from the top of Bicton Hill. This stunning area is an artists retreat and home to many writers and musicians, inspired by the natural beauty.
Driving there is half the fun:
Mission Beach is the natural mid-way point between Cairns and Townsville. Heading south on the Bruce Highway, you will soon leave Cairns behind and enter acres of sugar cane fields, bordered by towering rainforest-clad mountains and scattered with small farming communities and townships.
Winding across the tropical hinterland, you will be amazed at the sheer scale, vitality and fertility of this lush, green land. When you reach El Arish, turn left (it is well sign-posted) and head towards the coast: Mission Beach is a 16km drive from here.
Note: This area is home to one of the biggest populations of the endangered Southern Cassowary. There are only believed to be around 1,500 of these birds left in the wild and they are often seen crossing the roads around Mission Beach. Please drive slowly and be careful. These wonderful birds are critically endangered and much loved, but they are not road wise.