Mission Beach is located in the tropical north of Australia between the cities of Cairns and Townsville. Cairns International Airport is a beautiful two hour drive from Mission Beach passing through lovely tropical landscapes.
World Heritage tropical rainforest provides a magnificent backdrop to the small village of Mission Beach which is situated on a stunning natural beach on the edge of the Coral Sea.
Sejala is only a short walking distance from the local restaurants and shops.
Bikes can be hired on a daily or weekly basis and there is a daily water taxi service to the islands.
Mission Beach is one of the last remaining habitats for the endangered and highly protected Cassowary (Casuarius casarius) which are still a common site in the area. They are treasured by the local people and a strong conservation group helps to ensure their protection by nurturing injured animals, stocking remote feeding areas and alerting motorists of recent sightings. It is usual to see the cassowary males and their chicks crossing the roads and wandering through the neighbourhood.
The Cassowary is Australia’s largest land animal. It normally weighs about 60kg, but the heaviest recorded was 94.5kg found north of Mission Beach in 1992. Cassowary eggs are the third largest of all birds at an average 584g (after the Ostrich eggs at 1100g and Emu eggs at 637g). The Cassowary is a large and potentially dangerous animal and out of respect for the birds’ natural home and to prevent injury, humans are advised to stay a safe distance.
The Ulysses Butterfly (Papilio ulysses) is another famous and beautiful trademark of Mission Beach. It is sometimes referred to as the Mountain Blue and is easily recognised by their electric blue wings. It has become a symbol of tourism throughout Northern Queensland and lives in numerous Australian tropical rainforest areas where plantings of the larval food Euodia elleryana are found.
The area around Mission Beach provides the visitor with an opportunity to experience the remarkable World Heritage Rainforest.
A rainforest is a delicate and diverse eco system and home to thousands of plant types and animal species.
Further information can be obtained from:
- Queensland Heritage Trails Network
- Wet Tropics Management Authority
Day walks near Mission Beach include:
Licuala State Forest
The walk – A 1.25 km (30 min) Licuala Fan Palm Walk and 350m (20 min) Children’s Walk loops through rare Fan Palm forest. The Children’s Walk follows cassowary footprints to eggs in a nest. A “Cassowaries for Kids” brochure makes learning about these big birds a lot of fun.
How to get there – Take the Tully-Mission Beach Road and watch for signs for the turnoff. The carpark is about 1km down an unsealed road.
Licuala Rainforest Walk
The walk – Despite its length, this 4.6km (2 hour) walking track is a fairly easy walk along an overgrown forestry road. Gradient is minimal. The only difficulty may be in arranging a vehicle pick-up at the other end of the track.
How to get there – The track is accessible either from the carpark at Licuala State Forest or from the other end on the El Arish-Mission Beach Road about 2km southeast of the Lacey Creek Walk.
Edmund Kennedy Walking Track
The walk – In 1848, the Tropical North’s first European explorer Edmund Kennedy landed at Tam O’Shanter Point to begin his ill-fated expedition north to Cape York. Take a walk in his footsteps south of Mission Beach. The full track length is 7.8km (nearly 5 miles) round trip but walkers can turn around and retrace their steps whenever they’re tired. The track is narrow and rough in places and there are some sandy stretches and rock hopping along the beach. There is a picnic area at Kennedy Bay (distance 3.9km, 2 hrs).
How to get there – Park at the boat ramp on the southern end of South Mission Beach.
Bicton Hill Walk
The walk – This shady rainforest path leads to magnificent views of the coastline and is a great way to get your bearings when arriving in the region. A well maintained 4km (1.5 – 2 hrs) loop winds up to the top of Bicton Hill, with an easy downhill stretch for the walk back.
How to get there – The track begins 5km (3 miles) from North Mission Beach on the El Arish-Mission Beach Road.
The walk – This 1.2km circuit walk (30mins) is an easy stroll along a graded track with signs describing the local environment and its inhabitants – including the endangered cassowary.
How to get there – Lacey Creek is 5km from North Mission Beach on the El Arish-Mission Beach Road.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most complex and diverse eco systems on the planet. The reef is a dense maze of coral reefs and coral cays stretching the length of the Queensland coast from approximately just south of Mackay northwards. It is one of Australia’s greatest natural assets.
Great Barrier Reef trips from Mission Beach visit a number of magnificent reef destinations including Beaver Reef – a pristine ribbon reef off the Mission Beach coast full of colour and life.
Reef trips give a first hand view of the wonders below and the chance to snorkel above the magnificent coral.
There is a dive charter operating from Mission Beach and as certain areas of the Great Barrier Reef are approved for fishing, fishing tours are also available.