Suburb Profiles

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Mission Beach

A unique and unspoilt haven, Mission Beach is a picturesque 1.5 hours drive south from Cairns and 2.5 hours drive north from Townsville through rich cane fields, banana plantations and historic towns.

Mission Beach is an unspoilt tropical paradise of World Heritage rainforest fronting 14 kilometres of golden, sandy beach. The relaxed nature of Mission Beach makes it a great place for all sorts of travellers to visit. Whether you are a family seeking calm, safe waters for your kids to swim in or a backpacker on your way up or down the coast, Mission Beach has something for you. 

Set amidst tropical rainforest, Mission Beach located right on the coast with 14 kms of magnificent sandy gold beaches.

Mission Beach is comprised of four villages: Bingil Bay to the north, Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach and South Mission Beach at the southern end.

A tranquil, tropical and friendly community, Mission Beach boasts many restaurants and bars offering international cuisine. There are several excellent cafes, art galleries and home ware shops complimented by a medical centre and two shopping villages servicing the area including supermarkets, butchers, newsagents, post office, school, hotel/resort, clothing shops, hairdressers, a hardware shop and service station.

Just offshore are the Family Group of some 20 islands including Dunk, Bedarra Islands and the mighty Hinchinbrook Islands. The Great Barrier Reef is only 50 minutes away by boat making Mission Beach the closest mainland access point in Tropical North Queensland.

Mission Beach is now a thriving tourist town that has been able to maintain its small town feel. One reason for this is that the town is spread out along a thin strip of land between the ocean and the hills and farmland behind. This has spread out a large tourism market, and the village doesn't feel as busy as one might expect.
The beach is flanked by green mountains rising just a short distance inland, and provides views out to the Family Islands. Close to shore at Mission Beach lies a shallow reef; during very low tides portions of this reef are exposed. The reef runs from the mouth of Porter's Creek at the south end of North Mission Beach almost to Clump Point, a popular fishing spot which is also the main departure and arrival point for the Dunk Island Ferry.

Surrounded by World Heritage rainforest on one side and the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef on the other, Mission Beach is home to many wildlife species, most notable is the Cassowary. This large flightless bird can be found in the rainforest surrounding the area but appears to be thriving in spite of land clearing, traffic and predators such as wild dogs and feral pigs. Much of the area is part of theCoastal Wet Tropics Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds.[2]

Mission Beach is also the mainland gateway to Dunk Island, with water taxis and ferries shuttling guests and day-trippers out to the island and its resort.

Like many other small Australian towns, Mission Beach has built a monument to its most famous characteristic. The big cassowary, standing 5 metres high, can be found at the Wongaling Beach shopping complex.

The Mission Beach area also supports a sizeable agricultural industry, particularly the cultivation of sugar and bananas. Boutique wineries specialising in tropical fruit wines can also be found in Mission Beach and nearby Kurrimine Beach.

History of Mission Beach
In the early 20th century Chinese banana farmers employed Aboriginies as labourers in the Tully River region. Opium addiction and conflict with European settlers was resolved by the Queensland government creating an Aboriginal settlement at the present Mission Beach. Superintendent John Martin Kenny started the necessary work on 1 September 1914. There was no mission in the religious sense. The settlement had characteristics of a penal settlement.

The Mission Beach structures were destroyed in the cyclone of 10 March 1918 and were not rebuilt. Superintendent Kenny and his daughter were killed by the storm. The Aborigines were subsequently moved to Palm Island, Queensland.

The first white settlers, the Cutten brothers, came to Mission Beach area in 1882 and settled at Bingil Bay, where they farmed  mangoes, bananas, pineapples, coffee, citrus fruit and coconuts. They also manufactured their own coffee. Produce was shipped south on cargo-boats. Before this the only white people to enter this area were the timber-getters who sometimes camped on the beach and retrieved timber from the adjacent rain forests. They employed local Aborigines for their assistance in their timber hauling, paying the Aboriginal labourers with tobacco and tools. The natives were generally friendly, although in 1872 the captain and some of the crew of the Maria which was wrecked at Tam O'Shanter were killed by the natives.

After the Cutten brothers, the Unsworths settled at Narragon Beach, the Garners came and settled at Garners Beach, and the Porter brothers settled at what the locals refer to as Porter's Creek (also called Wongaling Creek) at the south end of North Mission Beach.

Kurrimine Beach, a sleepy fishing hamlet which lies just north of Mission Beach. In the hinterland area of Mission Beach sit several villages including Carmoo, Feluga, El Arish, Japoonvale and Silkwood. Old world sugar towns, they share a myriad of treasures – virgin rainforest, canefields, canecutter barracks, original Queenslander pubs and waterfalls.

The closest town to the south is Tully, a farming community and the nearest town to the north is Innisfail which is about a 45 minute drive through picturesque canefields which are framed by a mountain range to the west where you’ll catch a glimpse of the highest mountain in Queensland – Mount Bartle Frere – a spectacular sight.

Mix with the locals, enjoy a latte or fresh juice at one of the many outdoor cafes, watch the world go by Mission Beach style... slowly! Mission Beach has a surprising range of gourmet restaurants, bistros and bars to suit all tastes and budgets. Beachside resort and restaurant, galleries, internet cafes, interior design and beauty salon make up the eclectic ambience of the village.

 What to do in Mission Beach
Mission Beach offers as much to the adrenaline junkie and extreme sports enthusiast as to the holiday-maker after some peace and quiet. Some activities you may or may not decide to participate in are:
  • Skydiving
  • White water rafting
  • Sea kayaking
  • Jet skiing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Sailing
  • Picnic Spots
Mission Beach Weather
Mission Beach enjoys an enviable climate. Average daily temperatures rarely drop below 25 degrees celsius and we never suffer from the water restrictions so often in force further south owing to our natural rainfall characteristics.

 National Parks
Surrounded by hectares of National Parks and the Family Island Group featuring Dunk Island just off the coast, Mission Beach is an ideal location for camping. This form of accommodation is a fantastic way to truly experience Mission Beach’s natural surroundings.

 Mission Beach Markets
Local markets are held at several locations in Mission Beach, throughout the year. There are Beach Markets and the Monster Markets. The Mission Beach Markets are held on the beachfront under the shade of the tropical canopy. The Monster Markets are held at MARCS Park, a great location on a grassed sports field with a large uncover area and on the same site as Mission Arts. Locals and visitors from all over the world enjoy the tropical beachfront location and atmosphere of these very popular markets.

 How to get to Mission Beach
 Getting to Mission Beach is easy and there are an abundance of choices for the traveller.
  • BY ROAD - If you are heading from the south, turn right off the Bruce Highway just north of Tully and it is approximately 26km to Mission Beach. If you are heading from the north then turn left off the Bruce Highway in El Arish and it is approximately 16km to Mission Beach. To see a map of our location click here.
  • BY BUS - The Greyhound and Premier bus services make regular stops in Mission Beach. The buses arrive at the Bus Terminal at the Cassowary Shopping Village at Wongaling Beach by the Big Cassowary. Exemplar Coaches and Limousines run private charters from Cairns Airport to and from Innisfail - book 48 hours in advance.
  • BY TRAIN - QRail passenger train services stop at the Tully Railway station. Your accommodation venue will be happy to organise transport to meet you or you can catch a taxi from the station.
  • BY PLANE - Qantas, JetStar or Virgin Australia fly direct into Cairns, or Townsville.