Mission Beach- Reef & Rainforest
A fourteen kilometre stretch of fine golden sand merging into the azure blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, facing the greatest coral reef in the world and with the lush backdrop of a world heritage rainforest, Mission Beach lies halfway between Cairns and Townsville, the two major cities in North Queensland. It is in this unspoilt tropical paradise that two World Heritage areas, The Great Barrier Reef, and The Wet Tropics Rainforest meet.
Relaxation or Adventure- Something for Everyone
Wedged between an azure blue ocean of warm, sparkling waters, and a lush, verdant backdrop of tropical rainforest, and, as a portal to a wonderland of tropical islands, Mission Beach and its laid back and relaxed atmosphere, make it the perfect destination for any type of holiday.
Whether you are a holidaymaker looking for rest and relaxation in this peaceful and tranquil haven, an adrenalin junkie looking for the ultimate adventure, a family in search of safe and calm swimming waters for the kids, or a backpacker travelling the Queensland Coast, Mission Beach has something for everyone. The activities on offer include swimming, fishing, snorkelling and diving, boating and sailing, white water rafting, fishing, hiking, skydiving, crocodile spotting, as well as many other adventures.
As varied as its menu of adventures is its choice of accommodation, as this being backpacker paradise, there is no shortage of budget accommodation and holiday deals. Families will find a diversity of family accommodation and pet friendly accommodation to suit all styles and budgets, from affordable self-contained accommodation to luxury holiday villas.
Emerald Islands in the Sun
Mission Beach is the gateway to The Family Group of Islands, an archipelago of which Dunk Island is the largest and best known of the islands. This lush and beautiful tropical island is situated just 4 kilometres from Mission Beach. Most of the island is national park and its shoreline and surrounding waters is a designated marine park.
Bird watchers will be in their element, as this island paradise is home to almost 100 species of birds, as well as mammals and reptiles, and also to the emblem of the island, the stunning electric blue Ulysses butterfly. Explore Dunk Island and the neighbouring islands in a quiet and relaxing sea kayak, without the noise of motors spoiling the tranquillity of this pristine wonderland.
Just south of the Family Group, lies Hinchinbrook Island, Australia’s largest island national park, where you can enjoy swimming, snorkelling and diving, fishing or boating. It is a bushwalker’s paradise and is an environmental haven for turtles, dugongs and many more marine creatures. Hinchinbrook Island is an ideal and beautiful location for those in search of peace and tranquillity.
Both Dunk and Hinchinbrook Islands are uninhabited, and the only accommodation available on the islands is resort accommodation. Holidaymakers requiring other solutions for holiday accommodation, such as holiday houses or holiday apartments, would stay overnight at Mission Beach or neighbouring communities and visit the islands on day trips. Two connective ferry services operate daily from Mission Beach to Dunk Island, while ferry services to Hinchinbrook Island depart daily from Cardwell, less than an hour’s drive south of Mission Beach.
Great Barrier Reef- A Living Wonderland
One of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Great Barrier Reef is longer than The Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. Mission Beach is the closest mainland point to the Great Barrier Reef at 38 kilometres. If you choose your accommodation from holiday rentals available in Mission Beach, making it the base from which to explore this natural wonder, you can be snorkeling or scuba diving amongst the world’s greatest collection of corals less than an hour after leaving your holiday home. Tour operators on the reef offer a range of diving experiences ranging from learning dives for beginners to immersions for expert divers.
The Call of the Wild
A diverse ecosystem, the Mission Beach rainforest is home to thousands of species of fauna and flora, some of which do not exist anywhere else in the world, therefore, this is a delicate ecosystem. It is at Mission Beach that the nature lover will find one of the best ranges of walking tracks in The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Mission Beach also has one of the largest cassowary populations in Australia. Along some of these rainforest walks there are fish viewing platforms near the clear waterholes where the walking path crosses the creeks and the holidaymaker will be able to view many freshwater fish, turtles, crayfish and eels. You can either undertake your own walk on the rainforest trails or enjoy guided tours with expert tour guides.
Paronella Park- The Castle in the Rainforest
Named Queensland’s Premier Significant Attraction by Queensland Tourism, Paronella Park, situated within 5 hectares of tropical rainforest besides Mena Creek falls, is the testimony of one man’s dream to build a magical land.
Jose Paronella was a Spanish immigrant, who, in the 1930’s inspired by his childhood memories of Spanish castles, built a castle which housed a movie theatre which on weekends doubled as a ballroom with live bands for entertainment while a huge ball of mirrors spun from the ceiling, dazzling with pink and blue twinkles; the castle included a museum which housed collections of coins, dolls, pistols and interesting mementoes.
He built a picnic area by the falls, bridges and a tunnel, tennis courts, refreshment rooms and changing cubicles for swimmers and planted over seven thousand trees, including an avenue of giant kauris, in the surrounding gardens. In 1933, Joe Paronella harnessed the power of the water fall to build Queensland’s first hydro electric power plant and provide power for the park, and in 1935 the park opened to the public and for decades was a favourite wedding venue.
Today, visitors can explore the fascinating grounds through a network of paths and bridges which wind their way through the forest and Castle ruins. The holidaymaker is usually spellbound by the natural beauty of the surroundings. A 45 minute guided tour which explains the extraordinary story of the park and the achievements of one man takes the visitor through the highlights, and the Darkness Falls Tour is magical with picture postcard views of the flood-lit castle and waterfall.
Warm Weather All Year Round
Mission Beach enjoys a warm climate all year round with average daily temperatures rarely falling below 25 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit is probably between the months of April and October. July, August, September and October are the driest months; this is winter time in Australia, but in Mission Beach during this time of the year the weather is just perfect. Between the months of November to May the weather is hotter with high humidity. The highest rainfall falls between February and April, and it is during this period of the year that the waterfalls are in their full glory and splendour.
Getting to Paradise
Mission Beach is 140 kilometres, or almost two hours driving time from Cairns and 240 kilometres from Townsville, therefore getting to Mission Beach is easy and there are an abundance of choices for the holidaymaker. If travelling from the UK, Cairns is the closest international airport and there is an airport transfer service twice a day from Cairns airport to Mission Beach. Greyhound and Premier bus services also make regular stops at Mission Beach. The nearest train station is located Tully, which is approximately 22 kilometres inland from Mission Beach and there are taxis available at the station.