The laid-back townships that are dotted along Mission Beach provide an idyllic access point to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. Explore miles of sandy beach fringed by swaying palms and evergreen forest or relax into the local lifestyle of the peaceful seaside villages, which are spread out along the thin strip hemmed in by the hills and the ocean.
Stroll along Mission Beach’s 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) of soft sands and take in views of exposed reef at low tide and the distant Family Islands. Swim, snorkel or scuba dive around the beach and its offshore coral reefs or go kayaking along the shoreline. Catch a ferry or join a charter cruise to Dunk, Bedarra and Hinchinbrook islands, which are dotted with resorts, wilderness retreats and scenic picnic spots. Further out into the cobalt-coloured waters, you can reach the mesmerising and vivid seascape of the Great Barrier Reef.
Inland of Mission Beach, explore the pristine rainforests of the Wet Tropics. Hike through the ancient tropical greenery and try to spot a cassowary darting along the forest floor. The treetops are alive with diverse bird species and you can listen for the call of the riflebird, shrike-thrush, fruit dove and stone curlew. Those who seek more extreme adventures can skydive onto nearby beaches or go on a white-water rafting trip at Tully Gorge.
Visit the different Mission Beach villages to enjoy each town’s charms. Bingil Bay and South Mission Beach have stunning views across the Family Islands, while Wongaling Beach and Mission Beach Village are known for having an exciting culinary scene and oceanfront bars. Local roads and the golden sands of Mission Beach connect the villages. The area is bordered to the north by Garners Beach and to the south by Hull Heads.
Reach Mission Beach in under 2-hours’ drive from Cairns and under 3-hours’ drive from Townsville. Both of these cities have major airports. Swim in safe and enclosed swimming areas patrolled by lifeguards nearby the beach’s main access points, especially during the stinger season between November and May. The Atherton Tablelands and diverse national parks are just a daytrip away.