21 Wonderful Things to Do in Mission Beach, Queensland

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Mission Beach is a blissfully relaxed seashore city in Tropical North Queensland removed from the hustle and bustle of Cairns and Port Douglas.

It’s made up of 4 coastal villages linked by 14 kilometres of idyllic (largely empty) golden seashore fringed by palm timber—a quintessential tropical paradise.

While most individuals come right here for leisure, there are sufficient issues to do in Mission Beach to maintain you busy together with rainforest walks, wildlife recognizing (it’s top-of-the-line locations to see the distinctive cassowary hen), and snorkelling journeys to a quiet part of the outer Great Barrier Reef.

In this publish, I share our picks for what to do in Mission Beach after spending two weeks there. Plus the place to remain, get there, and a map with all our suggestions.

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Where is Mission Beach Queensland?

Mission Beach is positioned on the Cassowary Coast in North Queensland, Australia. It’s 140km or a two-hour drive south of Cairns and 235km or three hours north of Townsville.

Cairns (CNS) is the closest airport with home and worldwide flights.

Below you’ll discover a map and particulars on get there.

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Best Things to Do in Mission Beach Qld

1) Relax on the Beaches

Simon strolling along sandy Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Simon strolling on Mission Beach

The lengthy golden seashore is the spotlight of Mission Beach. Even within the winter excessive season, the seashore was normally empty, particularly away from the principle hub, Mission Beach Village (typically known as North Mission Beach).

The palm timber that line the sand are splendidly picturesque and the views of Dunk Island offshore and the mountains within the distance add to the scenic view.

Don’t look forward to finding any sunbed leases—carry your individual towel. In the afternoon there’s loads of shade from the timber.

The excessive tides imply that the ocean is commonly fairly far out leaving a large agency seashore that’s excellent for strolling, working, and even biking.

Mission Beach does have some downsides, although. In the summer time months (November to May), it’s stinger season with a excessive threat of jellyfish together with the venomous field jellyfish.

You can nonetheless swim however it’s good to put on protecting clothes and swim inside the stinger nets at North Mission and South Mission seashores.

From June to October, it’s protected to swim, though I did really feel a light tingle within the water typically.

The different potential hazard is crocodiles! There’s not a zero per cent probability of crocodiles within the water at Mission Beach (or wherever within the Far North), but it surely’s extraordinarily unlikely you’ll encounter one. Locals we met hadn’t seen one in a long time. I did keep away from swimming at evening, although, which is a better threat time.

View of Dunk Island from Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Dunk Island wanting tantalisingly shut

One last concern is that the ocean usually turns brown after rain or wind. This was the case once we arrived, but it surely cleared up a number of days later.

Swimming on the offshore islands is extra pleasing because the water is clearer and doesn’t have the danger of jellyfish or crocs.

Dunk Island (see under) is the best to go to or we stayed on the luxurious Bedarra Island Resort after Mission Beach (25 minutes away) and cherished it. See our Bedarra Island Resort evaluation for particulars.

2) Visit the Four Coastal Villages

View of palm trees framing Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Palm tree lined path welcoming you to Wongaling Beach

The 4 coastal villages that make up Mission Beach are (from north to south): Bingil Bay, North Mission (or Mission Beach Village), Wongaling Beach, and South Mission.

They are all low-rise with minimal growth between the rainforest and seashore.

Bingil Bay

Bingil Bay is a sleepy village with a fairly seashore. There’s not a lot right here besides a campsite and the favored Bingil Bay Cafe with its quirky, vibrant decor.

It’s near Garners Beach (see under) and the Bicton Hill Walk.

North Mission Beach

Mission Beach sign, North Queensland, Australia

Mission Beach Village or North Mission is the customer hub. It has probably the most eating places and cafes, and on weekend evenings is kind of vigorous with a number of bars internet hosting dwell music.

It’s dwelling to the Sunday Market and some retailers together with Leny’s for tropical fruit, The Bowerbird’s Pantry for espresso and native foodie merchandise, and Helen Wiltshire Gallery for artwork and presents.

At the seashore entry on David St (by Plenty Restaurant), there’s a cute cassowary signal the place you possibly can take your photograph. Next to it’s a very scenic swing hanging from a palm tree.

Erin on a swing attached to a palm tree on Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Discovering my internal little one on the Mission Beach swing

Wongaling Beach

Wongaling Beach is extra of a residential space with a number of seashore homes (together with one we stayed in) on a quiet stretch of sand. There are a number of eating places and the one grocery store (Woolworths).

South Mission Beach

South Mission is one other quiet seashore with a caravan park and beachfront eating at Tuskers Tuckerbox. Most folks come right here for the Kennedy Walking Track.

3) Sample Local Tropical Fruit

The Cassowary Coast is a serious rising space for bananas and different tropical fruit.

Leny’s Tropical Fruit and Veg in the principle village is an efficient spot to choose up recent produce and there’s a smoothie store subsequent door. They usually have seasonal fruit for $10 a bucket—we purchased scrumptious passionfruit and fortunately made our approach via all of them.

Next to Leny’s is an honesty field the place you possibly can decide up cheap bananas.

You may strive the Sunday Market, however there are just a few stalls with recent produce.

4) Spot a Cassowary

Cassowary, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Spotting an imposing cassowary is without doubt one of the greatest Mission Beach actions

Cassowaries are massive, flightless birds that descend from dinosaurs. They are splendidly unusual wanting with shaggy black our bodies, blue heads topped with a big knob (known as a casque), and big three-toed clawed toes.

These dagger-like claws are what give the cassowary its status as probably the most harmful hen as they will kill people with them. The threat is overstated and it’s unlikely to assault you, but it surely’s greatest to maintain your distance if you’re fortunate sufficient to see one.

Cassowary on a green lawn, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Keep your distance to be protected if one does come throughout your path!

So the place are you able to see a cassowary in Mission Beach? Any of the rainforest walks are an excellent place to begin. We noticed their droppings on the Lacey Creek Walk however didn’t see the hen itself.

We’d virtually given up hope after almost two weeks on the town earlier than we noticed a mom and chick in a discipline by the street simply previous Lacey Creek.

We additionally met individuals who’d seen them within the backyard whereas staying at Licuala Lodge and the caravan park at South Mission Beach apparently has a daily customer.

Close up of the distinctive blue markings on a Cassowary's head, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
The distinctive blue markings of a cassowary

Etty Bay (40 minutes north) is understood for them however we didn’t see any. We did see two whereas tenting at Murray Falls, although (50 minutes south).

If all hope is misplaced, there’s at all times the Big Cassowary statue within the purchasing centre in Wongaling Beach.

5) Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef

Simon on a boat at Beaver Cay, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
My coronary heart will…

A snorkelling journey is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Mission Beach because it’s one of many closest cities to the outer reef and is way quieter than Cairns.

We did a full-day snorkel journey with Mission Beach Dive, presently the one firm that provides group journeys. You can dive or snorkel at two spots on the reef.

On our journey, we went to Beaver Cay, which incorporates a picturesque sand bar, and there have been no different tour boats round.

We snorkelled over vibrant coral and dramatic drop-offs with hundreds of fish together with parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, trumpetfish, and lots of extra. Swimming via large faculties of fish was particularly magical.

It’s an extended time out, although, with a 90-minute journey to the outer reef. This is identical for journeys from Cairns and Port Douglas too. Seeing whales and dolphins on the best way did make the journey extra pleasing.

A snorkel journey with Mission Beach Dive contains lunch and snorkel gear. You can hire wetsuits for $5 (undoubtedly really useful) and purchase drinks onboard. Tours don’t run each day so make certain to ebook forward.

Check availability for a Mission Beach Dive snorkel journey right here.

Although we actually loved the journey (and you’ll’t spend an excessive amount of time on the reef), if you’re additionally visiting Port Douglas, we most popular our small-group snorkel journey with ABC. Tours are run by a marine biologist so we realized so much in regards to the fish, and so they take a most of 12 folks.

6) Enjoy Coastal Views on the Kennedy Walking Track

View of Lugger Bay along the Kennedy Walking Track, Mission Beach,  North Queensland, Australia
Lugger Bay alongside the Kennedy Walking Track, top-of-the-line hikes in Mission Beach

Kennedy Walking Track is without doubt one of the hottest hikes in Mission Beach however sometimes for the realm, we solely noticed a number of others round.

The complete path from South Mission to Kennedy Bay is 8km return and takes round two hours. You don’t must stroll the entire path to take pleasure in pretty views although (we didn’t).

Avoid cover tide for this coastal stroll.

The path begins on boardwalk previous the small rocky Lover’s Beach after which heads up into the rainforest previous a lookout throughout to Dunk Island.

Boadwalk at the start of the Kennedy Walking Track, North Queensland, Australia
Boardwalk in the beginning of the hike

You then take steps all the way down to the lengthy sandy seashore at Lugger Bay the place you stroll on the seashore earlier than reaching the headland and lookout.

Cassowaries have been seen on the path however we didn’t see any.

There’s a small automotive park with a rest room in the beginning of the path (Kennedy Walking Track on Google Maps) on the southern finish of South Mission Beach.

7) Walk at Lacey Creek in Djiru National Park

Rainforest along the Lacey Creek Walk, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Try to identify a cassowary alongside this quick rainforest stroll

Another pretty stroll in Mission Beach is the simple Lacey Creek Walk in Djiru National Park, which we did twice within the hope of recognizing a cassowary.

The 1.1km loop via the rainforest took us 20 minutes. We went anticlockwise and noticed some cassowary droppings (with massive partially digested fruit seeds) on the primary a part of the path however no signal of the birds.

Even with no cassowary sighting, it’s a nice, tranquil stroll (though insect repellent is advisable). You go the creek at a number of factors (we noticed fish and turtles) and on the finish, there’s a small swimming gap and picnic desk.

For an extended stroll, the steeper Dreaming and Musgravia Trails begin throughout the street.

8) Find Solitude on Garners Beach

If the principle seashores aren’t quiet sufficient for you, head north of Bingil Beach down a distant gravel street via the rainforest to the small bay at Garners Beach.

On our go to, there was nobody else on this pretty seashore besides a yacht. It was shady within the late afternoon—morning could be higher if you wish to benefit from the solar.

9) Shop on the Mission Beach Sunday Market

Stalls at Mission Beach Sunday Market, North Queensland, Australia
Pick up some snacks and souvenirs at Mission Beach’s Sunday Market

A few occasions a month the principle Mission Beach village hosts a market subsequent to the seashore.

The focus is extra on garments and crafts than meals, however there are a few locations to choose up breakfast and produce.

Our favorite stall was Mad Baker for sourdough loaves and scrumptious toasties.

There are two markets on the identical spot in Mission Beach, however they’re very comparable and each run from round 8am – 1pm:

Mission Beach Markets
Held on the first and third Sunday of the month all 12 months spherical.

Mission Beach Monster Markets
Held on the final Sunday of every month from Easter Sunday till the top of November.

10) Eat by the Beach at Plenty

Simon enjoying a meal at Plenty Restaurant, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Beachside eating at Plenty Restaurant, top-of-the-line locations to eat in Mission Beach

Our favorite meal in Mission Beach was at Plenty. Their menu is extra artistic than the pub grub at many of the different locations on the town, and so they have the perfect location proper subsequent to the seashore.

There are a number of vegetarian choices and we loved the tonkatsu eggplant and the vegetarian poke bowl (despite the fact that it wasn’t a typical poke bowl).

It was quiet on a weekday however reserving is a good suggestion on weekends so you will get a front-row seat to benefit from the ocean view via the palms.

Other extra informal spots the place we ate dinner in Mission Beach Village had been Mad Pizza (good sourdough bases however an excessive amount of cheese for us) and Lansis (a burger place with an excellent veggie burger). Both of those do takeout so you possibly can take pleasure in your meal on the seashore simply minutes away.

11) Have a Leisurely Brunch

There are a number of good cafes in Mission Beach to take pleasure in a relaxed brunch earlier than hitting the seashore.

We appreciated that Cafe Johalia on the principle road has a vegan huge breakfast with hash browns, toast, beans, veggie sausages, mushrooms, and roast tomatoes. It was big however you possibly can order a half portion.

Shanti Cafe simply down the street has a nice backyard setting and a cupboard filled with tempting truffles.

Bingil Bay Cafe is one other widespread choice.

12) Try a Feel Good Banana

A Feel Good Banana is a domestically made, natural, frozen banana dipped in chocolate.

They are tasty and filling and also you’ll discover them in retailers and eating places throughout city (such because the Mission Beach Mini Mart).

13) Play Pétanque

There’s a free pétanque court docket by the seashore in Mission Beach Village. Unfortunately, you want boules and there’s nowhere to hire them.

The Pétanque membership meets on Sunday from 3pm and Wednesday from 5pm and guests are welcome to play with them and borrow their boules.

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More Mission Beach Activities

Despite having two weeks on the town, we didn’t get round to every thing on our record, partly as a result of climate and partly resulting from not wanting to depart our pretty seashore home.

If you may have extra power than us, listed below are another Mission Beach actions to contemplate:

14) Visit Dunk Island

View of Dunk Island from Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
View of Dunk Island from the shores of Mission Beach

It’s a disgrace we didn’t go to Dunk Island as we spent our complete journey admiring it from the seashore.

The island is dwelling to a now-defunct resort and nationwide park. The greatest technique to discover is on the 10km Dunk Island Circuit Track, which takes you to the highest of Mount Kootaloo, down Palm Valley, and throughout to Coconut Beach.

You can attain Dunk Island on the FastCat ferry service by FastCoast. It departs from Clump Point Marina at 9am 4 days per week and returns at 3pm, so that you get about six hours on the island.

Check Dunk Island ferry occasions and ebook right here.

15) Go White Water Rafting

One of probably the most enjoyable issues to do from Mission Beach is to go white water rafting on the Tully Gorge which has grade 3 and 4 rapids.

The assembly level for the tour is about 20 minutes from Mission Beach, so that is a lot nearer than going from Cairns.

16) Walk Up Bicton Hill

Another lovely stroll that we didn’t get round to is the Bicton Hill stroll in Clump Mountain National Park.

The 3.2km circuit takes about 1 hour quarter-hour with 188 metres of elevation acquire. It takes you thru the rainforest as much as a lookout with ocean views.

17) See the Rainforest at Licuala Day Use Area

Licuala is one other space in Djiru National Park with simple walks via the forest. Do the 2km stroll on the Fan Palm and Family walks for an opportunity to see cassowaries.

18) Take a Bean to Bar Chocolate Tour

Charley’s Chocolate Factory is a 10-minute drive inland from Mission Beach Village. They develop their very own cocoa beans and make chocolate onsite.

They provide bean-to-bar excursions twice per week (bookings important) and the onsite store is open 10am – 2pm from Tuesday to Friday.

We purchased their chocolate from The Bowerbird’s Pantry within the village and it was the perfect darkish chocolate I’ve ever had—so fruity and clean. I want we’d accomplished their tour or no less than stocked up within the store.

19) Jump out of a Plane

Surprisingly, sleepy Mission Beach is without doubt one of the greatest locations in Queensland to skydive.

The web site has Australia’s highest bounce (as much as 15,000 toes) with as much as 60 seconds of freefall. Plus you’ll take pleasure in beautiful views of the city from above and land on the seashore.

Book your tandem skydive expertise with Skydive Australia right here.

20) Swim at Alligators Nest Swimming Hole

25 minutes from Mission Beach close to Tully is without doubt one of the greatest swimming holes within the space.

Alligators Nest Swimming Hole seems to be lovely, has no crocs, and is straightforward to entry. Perfect for a picnic and refreshing dip.

21) See the Castle at Paronella Park

Moss covered castle at Paronella Park, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Atmospheric moss-covered fortress at Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a singular vacationer vacation spot a 45-minute drive north of Mission Beach (we stopped right here on our approach down from Cairns).

In the early twentieth century, Spanish immigrant José Paronella dreamt of constructing a fortress. He began out as a farm employee and ended up making his fortune by clearing land, planting sugar cane, after which promoting the farm.

Eventually, he was in a position to realise his dream and created his household dwelling at Paronella Park. It was additionally open to locals who attended balls and movie screenings and got here to swim and eat on the cafe.

Most of the buildings are in ruins now because it was hit by many cyclones, but it surely’s an atmospheric place to wander and see the crumbling fortress lined in moss, being taken again by the jungle.

There are additionally some pretty quick walks via the rainforest together with down the scenic Kauri avenue and to a pond filled with turtles.

Entrance to Paronella Park is A$55 but it surely features a free tour and is legitimate for 2 years. You even get a free keep within the caravan park subsequent door.

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Where to Stay in Mission Beach

Porch of Airbnb beachfront house at Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach, North Queensland, Australia
Our superb porch going through the seashore

We stayed at this Airbnb beachfront home in Wongaling Beach and cherished the views and placement on a quiet stretch of sand. You do should drive in every single place, although (10 minutes to the eating places in Mission Beach).

If you’d relatively be capable to stroll to eating places and cafes, select a resort in Mission Beach Village such because the beachfront Castaways Resort.

If seeing a cassowary is a precedence for you, contemplate Licuala Lodge, a B&B within the rainforest between Mission Beach and Wongaling Beach.

You’ll should drive in every single place, however we met a pair staying there who had seen cassowaries a number of occasions within the backyard whereas consuming breakfast on the deck. There’s a stunning pool too.

Search for extra lodging in Mission Beach right here.

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How to Get to Mission Beach

As Mission Beach is unfold out throughout a number of villages, it’s greatest visited with your individual car. We rented a automotive from Apex at Cairns Airport or you possibly can test Rental Cars to check the choices.

The two-hour drive from Cairns to Mission Beach is scenic with a number of fascinating stops on the best way together with Babinda Boulders and Josephine Falls for swims, Etty Bay for a fairly seashore and probability to see cassowaries, and Paronella Park.

To attain Mission Beach by public transport, there may be one Mission Link bus a day from Cairns Airport and metropolis centre to Mission Beach or a number of Greyhound buses.

If you might be heading south, Mission Beach to Townsville is a three-hour journey by automotive. There is a Greyhound bus service that runs 3 times a day and takes about 4 hours.

The greatest stops on the best way to Townsville are a detour off the freeway and embrace Murray Falls, Cardwell Spa Pool, and the gorgeous Wallaman Falls (the tallest single-drop waterfall in Australia).

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Map of Mission Beach Queensland

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Is Mission Beach Qld Worth Visiting?

If you want sleepy coastal villages and lengthy empty seashores, Mission Beach is nicely value visiting.

It’s not as action-packed as Cairns and even Port Douglas, however there are a number of worthwhile actions together with visiting Dunk Island and the outer reef. Mostly it’s the place to return for lengthy seashore walks, rainforest exploration, and the possibility to see cassowaries.

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More Queensland Posts

We spent six months travelling round Queensland. Read extra of our journey suggestions:

North Queensland

Sunshine Coast

Southeast Queensland

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