Mission Beach sits along the beautiful North Queensland coastline in between two natural wonders – the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and the lush wet tropics, almost halfway between Townsville and Cairns.
Mission Beach is ridiculously beautiful and is celebrated for its retreat-like atmosphere, and it’s still a peaceful yet entertaining coastal town.
The township consists of four main villages around Mission Beach (from south to north) are South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach, Bingil Bay – which stretch along 14 kilometres of coastline. Tourists will find this to be the best place to explore the many natural landmarks that dot the Cassowary Coast.
When is the best time to visit?
Autumn (September to November) is the best time to visit Mission Beach based on factors like the weather, the cost of flights and hotels, the busiest travel times, and more.
The average highest temperature in the summer is around 30°C, but on the hottest days of the year, it can get even hotter. In winter, the average low temperature is around 16°C, and the coldest it gets is around 15°C.
If you go to Mission Beach in October, when the sun stays up the longest, you’ll get the most out of your daytime activities. You may want to avoid the wet season in January. That’s when it rains the most in Mission Beach. Most of the time, February is the hottest month in Mission Beach. During the middle of the day or early afternoon, temperatures tend to reach above 30°C.
Top things to do in Mission Beach
Surrounded by the tropical forest on one side, and the Great Barrier Reef on the other, Mission beach is a great jumping-off point to all kinds of outdoor activities.
1. Start by hitting the beach!
The first thing you’ll want to do when you get there is to actually take a dip. The weather make this an easy first choice. Grab your towel and a good book and enjoy some time relaxing beneath the shade of a palm tree.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding from the beach. Stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to explore the coastline and get some exercise at the same time. You can find several paddle boarding operators in Mission Beach who offer lessons and rentals.
2. Meet the Giant Cassowary Birds
The Cassowary Coast is famous for these giant, blue-feathered creatures, that are easily found in the rainforest. The coast is home to some of the most lush and beautiful rainforests in Australia. You can identify the endangered bird by its long legs and vivid blue face. There are several walks and trails that wind through the forest, so you can explore at your own pace.
Giant Cassowaries are native to the area and are the third largest bird species in the world. These almost prehistoric looking birds can grow up to two metres tall and weigh up to 60 kg.
They usually roam around without restriction and you’re most likely to see them early in the morning, usually close to the beach. Just remember that cassowaries are strong and protective of their territory. Stay far away, be careful, and never try to feed them. But as you look for these beautiful birds, you can enjoy one of the strangest things you can do on Mission Beach.
3. Go Hiking
The Mission Beach rainforest is located just north of the town and is home to a range of native flora and fauna. The rainforest is also a great place to cool off on a hot day. There are a number of walking tracks located throughout the rainforest, so you can explore at your own pace.
The Kennedy Walking Track is a popular choice at the end of the beach in South Mission Beach. It is a well signposted, beautiful boardwalk that wraps all around the coastline with some spectacular scenery.
4. Take a skydive
Perhaps you prefer experiencing a rush of adrenaline? If so, skydiving onto the beaches here is a popular pastime worth trying. And it’s no wonder, with the stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest below. If you’re brave enough to take the plunge, you won’t be disappointed.
There are skydiving companies that offer skydiving tours at Mission Beach every day, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. Just make sure to do your research and book in advance, as tours fill up quickly. The afterwards, head for a swim!
5. Snorkelling in Mission Beach
Coral Bay is a beautiful snorkelling spot in the area that’s perfect for beginners. The reef is just offshore, so you can snorkel right from the beach
If you’re looking for a more challenging snorkelling experience, head to Dunk Island. There are several reefs around the island, and you can even find turtles swimming around in the clear waters.
Even better, go on a guided snorkel cruise from Mission Beach and head to a pristine spot in the Outer Great Barrier Reef, away from the crowds. Spend a day out on the water and enjoy the flexibility of tailoring the experience to your abilities and preferences. Choose from one or two introductory or certified dives, or simply spend your time snorkeling.
6. Day Trip to Dunk Island
This thriving tourist town is the gateway to Dunk Island and nearby Bedarra Island, which are part of the Family Islands National Park perfect for a day trip. It’s only four kilometres off the coast from Mission Beach, and provides visitors with a picturesque island escape, where relaxation is all part of the tourist scene.
There are resorts on the island, but visitors can also choose to stay in one of Mission Beach’s hotels, and travel to the island for a daytrip.
There are plenty of activities on the island, including swimming, snorkelling, diving and kayaking. There’s also a rainforest walk that takes you to the top of the island, where you can get sweeping views of the coast.
To get to the island from Mission Beach, you can take a water taxi, or go on a guided tour. Or if you’re brave, you could rent a kayas and head out into the open water on your own adventure from Mission Beach to Dunk Island!
7. Visit the Mission Beach markets
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity, head to the Mission Beach markets. The markets are held on the first and third Sunday of the month and feature local arts, crafts, and produce.
There’s also live music, so you can enjoy a leisurely day browsing the stalls and soaking up the atmosphere. There’s no better place to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle than at the markets. So, if you’re looking for things to do on your next visit, be sure to add them to your list.
8. Hike up to Bicton Hill
If you love nature, Bicton Hill is the perfect place for you. The hill is located just outside of Mission Beach and offers stunning views of the surrounding rainforest.
The 3.9km hike to the top is relatively easy and takes about an hour. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush tropical vegetation and may even spot some wildlife. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the coast and the rainforest as well as views of Dunk Island.
9. Visit Charley’s Chocolate Factory
For something a little different, head to Charley’s Chocolate Factory. The factory is located off the road into Mission Beach in Mission Beach Village and offers tours of the chocolate-making process as well as tastings of the finished product.
If you have a sweet tooth, this is definitely the place for you. And if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, the factory also sells a range of chocolate products.
10. Relax At Wongaling Beach
Wongaling Beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The beach is located just north of Mission Beach and offers beautiful views of Dunk Island
There’s also a range of accommodation options if you’re looking to stay in the area, from camping and caravan parks to holiday apartments and resorts.
11. Take A Day Trip To The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia and is located just off the coast of Mission Beach. There are a range of tour operators in the area that offer day trips to the reef, so you can enjoy snorkelling and diving in the world’s largest coral reef system.
12. Dining in Mission Beach
There are plenty of great places to eat in in the area, whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a fine dining experience. For a casual meal, try The Strand Café, which has an outdoor seating area with views of the ocean. If you’re looking for something more upscale, try The Beach Club, which offers a range of seafood and steak dishes.
13. Get married in on the beach!
Ok, this might not be for everyone, but imagine getting married under Mission Beach’s iconic palm trees, looking out across the water. Hire a marriage celebrant with experience in the area who can organise as little or as much of your big day as you’d like.
14. Enjoy the coffee at Bingil Bay
Bingil Bay is a beautiful bay located just north of Mission Beach. The bay is home to a number of cafes and restaurants, as well as a range of accommodation options. The coffee at Bingil Bay is some of the best in the area and is definitely worth a try.
Around Mission Beach
There’s so much to do in Mission Beach, whether you’re looking for a fun adventure or a more relaxed holiday. And if you’re planning a visit, make sure to check out all the great things to do and exciting places to see around Mission Beach. You won’t be disappointed!
1. White Water Rafting at Tully River
For the adrenaline junkies out there, white water rafting at Tully River is a must. The river is located just south of Mission Beach and offers a range of grades to suit all levels of experience.
There are also a number of tour operators in the area that offer half-day and full-day tours.
2. Paronella Park
Paronella Park in Queensland is a must-see for anyone visiting Mission Beach. The park is located just south of Cairns and offers a range of activities and attractions, including a self-guided tour of the park’s history, gardens and rainforest walks.
The park is also home to a number of events throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.
3. Mamu Canopy Skywalk
The Mamu Canopy Skywalk is located within the World Heritage-listed rainforest of Wooroonooran National Park, about an hour from Mission Beach. The skywalk is 350 metres long, 15 metres above the ground and gives you the opportunity to see the rainforest from a different perspective – high up in the trees!
There’s also a café at the skywalk, so you can enjoy a coffee or bite to eat while enjoying the views.
4. Cardwell Spa Pools
About an hour south of Mission Beach is Cardwell Spa Pools, where you can relax in the natural hot springs and enjoy the stunning views of the rainforest. During the winter months, you’ll more than likely be greeted with a bright blue swimming hole.
The pools are located in a secluded spot, so you can really unwind and relax. Down the road from Cardwell Spa Pools is another hidden treat, Attie Creek Falls.
5. Murray Falls
About 50 minutes South are the gorgeous Murray Falls, located within the Wooroonooran National Park. The Falls are about 40 metres high and you can take a scenic walk to the base of the falls, where you can swim in the refreshing water.
There’s no doubt that Mission Beach and surrounding areas of the Cassowary Coast region is a beautiful place to visit. With its stunning natural scenery, and its palm lined sandy beaches, it’s no wonder that this little town is such a popular tourist destination. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, you’ll find it all in Mission Beach.
Mission Beach Accommodation
There are several cozy accommodation options located within the town. From most hotels, it is possible to explore many of the town’s landmarks and attractions by foot.
Caravan and holiday parks
Caravan parks offer a range of affordable accommodation options, and are popular with families. Some parks also offer on-site facilities such as swimming pools, barbeques and playgrounds.
1. Big4 Tasman Holiday Parks – South Mission Beach
BIG4 Holiday Parks at South Mission Beach is a popular accommodation choice for those travelling with young children, as it offers a great range of family-friendly facilities and activities.
2. Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village
Just a short 2 minute walk from the stunning beach, Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village is surrounded by the natural beauty of the area’s rainforest and is a popular choice with guests booking family stays. The property also has a heated freshwater pool, perfect in winter.
3. Dunk Island View Caravan Park
Tucked away on the beach Dunk Island View Caravan Park is within 50 metres of a magnificent white tropical sandy beach with views across to Dunk Island. A pet friendly caravan park nestled among tall palms on six acres of lush green rainforest grounds.