Mission beach is the most chilled out and relaxed town in Queensland. When you first enter the town it will be no surprise to see locals trotting through barefooted, grinning cheek to cheek.
There are no stresses of traffic as traffic lights just don’t exist there as well as any big shopping malls or areas with hordes of people. The only things that exist are good, happy, laid-back vibes with the aid of the tropical palm trees and beaches.
Just because Mission Beach is a relatively small town doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do there. We stayed for 2 days and we had an enjoyable time seeing most of what the town had to offer.
How to get to Mission Beach
Address: Mission Beach, Queensland 4852, Australia
Mission Beach is located in the beautiful Tropical North Queensland, 1 hour 45 min drive away south from Cairns.
It is a hotspot for backpackers and families travelling the East Coast of Australia, and it is more likely you are either visiting from Cairns or Townsville, depending on the direction you’re travelling.
We travelled from Cairns to Mission Beach via the Bruce Highway, which is pretty much the entire journey. The views are decent and it is a stress-free straightforward drive, just keep an eye out for those cane toads and kangaroos on the road especially if you decide to travel at night.
The best time to visit Mission Beach
Tropical North Queensland has nice hot days throughout the year but has 2 main seasons, the dry season and the wet season.
The dry season/winter runs from May – October with low humidity and a lovely breeze. We would highly recommend visiting between these months if you can.
The wet season/summer runs from November – April which has higher humidity and some tropical storms. We visited during December and at times it was very hot, sweat dripped from places we didn’t know it could drip from. There were the odd storms but they only lasted a few hours and tended to be later in the evening.
We wouldn’t recommend visiting during these months if you can, only because the weather can get ridiculously hot.
Another thing to consider is that the stinger season is from October – May, so you have to be extra careful in the water. Luckily, Mission Beach has some stinger nets set up during these times so everyone can swim without fearing a tentacle being wrapped around their leg.
You get a few people not caring and swimming without a suit or net, but hey, maybe they like to risk their life with a lethal sting…each to their own.
Mission Beach Accommodation
As a budget backpacking couple, we always look for the best deal regarding price and quality, preferably with a double bed.
Scotty’s Mission Beach YHA was a fairly pleasant stay for the 2 days we had in Mission Beach. We say fairly pleasant because the kitchen could have done with a revamp and it’s probably more suited for friends or solo backpackers.
They have a chill area where you can lay on a hammock, a big TV, a sofa and a swimming pool. The vibe of the hostel was quite chilled as other people staying there were friendly, and they have fellow backpackers working there, usually as part of their working holiday visa.
Check out their latest prices here.
The room was clean and the air con was sufficient (we needed it travelling in December!). They also have options for solo travellers too such as dorm rooms.
If this doesn’t sound like your kind of atmosphere, consider looking on Airbnb. They are often some good deals especially if you have a big family.
Use our referral link for $65 off your first trip.
Things to Do in Mission Beach
The optimum amount of time you will need is around 2 days. Don’t worry if you have less, you can easily pick and choose from the list below. 2 days is probably the max amount of time needed to explore the highlights Mission Beach has to offer.
The list below has something for everyone from hiking, relaxing and adrenalin rushing activities.
1. Mission beach
No trip to Mission Beach Town would be complete without actually visiting Mission Beach. So this straight away goes into the not to miss category.
Mission Beach stretches far and wide and is great for strolls taking in the swaying palm trees and the soft sea breeze. You would think you are somewhere in the Caribbean seeing coconuts that have fallen from the trees as you are walking on the golden sands.
You can actually swim in this sea too, as there is a patrolled part of the beach with a stinger net set up, keeping out those crocs and jellyfish.
This is much safer than going into the open ocean. Stick to the safety net. We wouldn’t recommend swimming in any other part as crocs may be present.
2. Coconut hunting on Mission Beach
Get yourself on a coconut cracking hunt.
There will be plenty of coconuts ready to be cracked open as they have fallen from the palm trees. We opened one up by throwing it onto a piece of rock, splitting it open and guzzling in those essential nutrients. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
3. Get that palm tree photo
Nothing says relaxation like that palm tree photo.
Mission Beach has a few unique curved palm trees that we didn’t see in other areas of Queensland. Some of the palm trees grow almost horizontally which makes an ideal sunbathing spot and a cheeky Instagram photo.
4. Embrace your inner hippy at Bingil Bay Cafe
We have been to many cafes all around the world and Bingil Bay Cafe will always stand out. The feeling you get when you walk into the cafe is just peaceful yet excitement at the same time. This should be on everyone’s list in things to do in Mission Beach.
There is a lovely family atmosphere at the Bingil Bay Cafe with the whole family running the place, from a teenage daughter at the tills to the dad who is a chef in the kitchen.
The design of the place is all hippified with bright colours, stained glass windows and floral design.
The food is decent too and you get a healthy portion of it. You won’t go away hungry.
TOP TIP: Friday nights always have funky live music
We went out on Friday night to get some entertainment and we weren’t disappointed. The local artist sang cover songs from the likes of Ed Sheeran and out of nowhere other locals started joining in, banging on pots and pans. It was a bit of a ‘Kumbaya’ moment.
Bingil Bay Cafe is not to be missed.
5. Walk on the Perry Harvey Jetty at sunset
There are some amazing sunsets in Queensland and Mission Beach doesn’t disappoint. If you walk and chill on the Perry Harvey Jetty you can witness one of these sunsets.
However, the main reason we recommend this is because you can spot turtles here. We weren’t so lucky to spot any but hopefully, you will be.
6. Visit Wongaling Beach
South from the centre of Mission Beach is Wongaling Beach. It is a similar coastal town that has a beach worth visiting.
The beach is also similar to Mission beach with palm trees and golden sand. It has different photo opportunities as trees have been washed up on shore as well as being another great place for a stroll.
7. Hike up to Bicton Hill Lookout
Within the Clump Mountain National Park, you can hike up to Bicton Hill Lookout.
The walking track is a 4 km circuit and will take you around 40 min one way, it’s easily done for all age groups.
There’s also plenty of pretty places to stop and rest along the way.
You will be taken through shaded greenery rewarded at the end with cool views of Mission Beach and in the distance, you can even spot Dunk Island.
8. Dunk Island
Dunk Island is only a 10 min boat ride away from Wongaling Beach.
Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxi takes you to a secluded Island which you can visit and even have your own private beach area. As part of a tour, there is also the opportunity to explore the nearby Islands.
9. Explore the outer Great Barrier Reef
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is a must if you are in Queensland.
The outer Great Barrier Reef is more untouched and difficult to get to so it is a lot better to visit. You will see much more colourful coral and brighter fish so if you intend to swim in the reef, you can do it here as part of a tour.
10. Spot the wallabies at sunset
Cute little wallabies can be spotted at sunset grazing on the grass.
The best place to view them is at the roundabout on Tully Mission Beach Road near Woolworths. Just safely pull up on the side of the road and get your zoom lens out for some cool shots.
11. Keep an eye out for cassowaries
There are only a handful of areas in the world you can see these beautiful endangered birds and Tropical North Queensland is one of them.
We managed to capture a few shots of some Cassowaries just casually walking across roads whilst we were driving. It is truly amazing to see these creatures in real life with your own eyeballs, it’s like they belong amongst dinosaurs and mammoths.
If you do see any, keep your distance and just respect their space. If they feel threatened they can charge and attack with their massive legs and claws.
Mission Beach is infamous for sky diving.
It is one of the most popular destinations to skydive because you actually land on the beach.
Get the adrenaline pumping and plunge yourself out of the plane. The views will be breathtaking looking down on Tropical North Queensland, as you eventually land with the sand aiding you to your fall.
Hopefully, you will have an amazing time ticking off each activity.
Cairns is another great stop on a road trip heading up towards Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. If you can, definitely add these spots to your road trip.
Let us know in the comments what you are looking forward to doing the most and about your experience at Mission beach.
TOP TIPS for things to do in Mission Beach
- 1-2 days is enough time here, use more time in other areas along the East Coast of Australia such as Cairns or Townsville
- Visit Bingil Bay Cafe at 7 pm on Fridays for live music
- Swim within the patrolled area on Mission Beach, stingers and crocodiles could be present in other areas
- Visit the helpful Visitors information centre – The lady there was really helpful and has some other great local tips
Mission Beach is known for its laid back atmosphere and its epic sky diving experiences.
Mission Beach is safe to swim in the patrolled stinger net. However, it is not safe to swim outside the patrolled area.
2 days is the maximum amount of time to see most of the highlights in Mission Beach.
Mission Beach is definitely worth visiting especially if you intend to skydive.