Mission Beach, QLD

Imagine the longest stretch of golden sand in North Queensland, lapped by the sparkling Coral Sea, fringed by coconut palms and backed by lush tropical rainforest. This is Mission Beach on the Cassowary Coast, about 1,570km north of Brisbane. It’s not so much a single town as a series of delightful interconnected villages – South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach and Bingil Bay – known collectively as Mission Beach for an Aboriginal settlement (the Hull River Mission) established here in 1914. Sadly, the mission was destroyed by a cyclone four years later, but the name survives for the benefit of this thriving tourist hub.


Greater Mission Beach is wedged between two internationally significant world heritage areas, the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, that endow the region with great natural beauty and underpin the laid-back tropical lifestyle of its 3,500 residents. Accessing the town centre from Tully or El Arish on the Bruce Highway involves a 20km scenic drive through pristine rainforest that protects an array of exotic plants and animals. The star of the show is the majestic southern cassowary, one of the world’s largest ratites (flightless birds), that lends its name to the region and the main road that runs through it. Mission Beach reputedly has the greatest concentration of these endangered creatures and an imposing 5-metre replica can be found at the Wongaling Beach shopping complex.


Mission Beach basks in a tropical-monsoon climate. Summers are hot, with maximums generally above 30°C and very high humidity relieved only by intense downpours. This is one of the wettest parts of the Wet Tropics, with annual rainfall averaging just over 3,000mm (25km inland, Tully gets about 4,500mm). By contrast, the winter months are very pleasant, with less humidity, warm sunny days and steady south-east trade winds. May to September is the best time to visit.

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