The relaxed tropical seaside vibe of Mission Beach makes it very appealing as a holiday destination. It’s small enough to be a quiet, chilled out town with just enough going on to keep it interesting.
There are many spectacular beaches along the Great Green Way between Cairns and Townsville but Mission Beach offers more than a beach – the chance to see a rare cassowary, to walk through beautiful rainforest and the opportunity to experience some nature-based tours.
Miles of golden sands lined with coconut palms and beautiful turquoise waves lapping on the shore.
Thanks to a dedicated band of local conservationists, Mission Beach has avoided becoming too developed so visitors can enjoy unimpeded views of the areas natural assets.
The cafes and restaurants in Mission Beach are also good.
You’re far more likely to find gourmet, organic and gluten-free options on the menus here than anywhere else between Cairns and Townsville.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]the area[/headline]
Mission Beach itself is a small coastal village but when most people say ‘Mission Beach’ they are usually referring the broader area, which includes South Mission, Wongaling and Bingil Bay.
These four ‘villages’ are strung together by 14 miles of beach – here’s a quick rundown of each one:
- Mission Beach – this is main central village area where most of the restaurants and shops are located along one little street. Don’t expect too much though, there are just over a handful of places to eat.
- South Mission is a bit more residential with no obvious centre
- Wongaling Beach is also a long strip of residential properties strewn along the beachfront, some of which are holiday rentals. At the northern is Dunk Island View Caravan Park and a couple of places to eat and drink
- Bingil Bay is tucked away around the coast north from Mission Beach (Brookes Beach and Garners Beach are further along and very secluded). There’s not much in Bingil Bay except the funky little Bingil Bay Café, which serves huge breakfasts.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]things to do in mission beach[/headline]
- Go beachcombing – Walking along the beach should be top of your priority list
- Beach activities – Grab a boogie board and enjoy the beach (but remember not to swim in the sea between November-April)
- Visit Dunk Island – Water taxis to Dunk Island go from Wongaling and cost $40 for the return journey. The island used to have a resort on it that was closed after a cyclone but you can still go over on day trips to enjoy the walking trails and beach. There is a kiosk open at weekends but if you go in the week you’ll need to take food and drinks with you.
- Sea kayaking – you can go all the way over to Dunk Island or just along the coast
- River kayaking – Full day trips with an indigenous guide leave from nearby Tully
- Tropical Fruit Tour – Australia’s largest tropical fruit farm is located in the area and farmer Peter Salleras is a great talker!
- Chocolate tour – Find out how chocolate is made at Charley’s Chocolate Farm
- Bike riding – The beachfront is mostly flat so it’s perfect for 2-wheels. You can rent bikes locally.
- Reef trip – Get on the water – there are sailing, snorkelling, diving and fishing trips available.
- Scenic drives – there are a couple of nice drives to take from Mission Beach 1) take the coastal route round to Bingil Bay and 2) the Canecutter Way to Innisfail drives through banana and cane country.
- Mamu Rainforest Walkway – this rainforest walkway is on the Palmerston Highway on the way to the Tablelands
- Paronella Park – the unusual Spanish castle in the middle of the rainforest is nearby along the Canecutter and worth a visit
- Blo-Karting – the big wide open Mission Beach is the perfect setting to try this sport
- Bushwalking – there are a few rainforest walking trails in the area and if you keep your eyes peeled you could see a cassowary
- Croc spotting – There’s a small group tour that goes from South Mission
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]
- Mission Beach is halfway between Cairns and Townsville, about 2 hours drive from each
- The biggest range of accommodation is within Mission Beach itself but there are also places to stay in the other areas
- There are a handful of good restaurants and cafes in Mission Beach and a small minimart (the main supermarket is about 10 minutes drive away at the Wongaling Beach shopping centre, which is on the main road near Wongaling)
- Be croc-wise – don’t swim near estuary areas