aerial image mission beach

Blog Post

Guide to the natural attractions around Mission Beach

TNQ Writer

Snuggly tucked along the Cassowary Coast, Mission Beach and its 14 kms of golden beaches are one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Here are all the reasons why.

Lying at the heart of two World Heritage areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the lush rainforests of the Wet Tropics – Mission Beach, remarkably, lies off the well-worn tourist trail. It’s where lush rainforest ­– inhabited by the rare cassowary (slow down when driving and keep an eye out for these magnificent birds) and the magnificent Ulysses butterfly – tumbles down to meet the Coral Sea. Welcome to low-key tropical luxury at its very best.

Island hop

Visit Beach Dunk Island via a water taxi from Wongaling Beach

Bedarra Island

A luxurious villa at Bedarra Island Resort

Mission Beach is the jumping-off point for idyllic islands including Dunk and Bedarra, and lesser-known atolls in the Family Islands. Dunk Island’s most famous resident was the naturalist and journalist Edmund Banfield, author of Confessions of a Beachcomber. These secluded islands have a special way of helping travellers disconnect. You can access them on the Dunk Island Water Taxi, who also run an island-hopping tour, or you can charter a private boat and make your way over at your own speed. Alternatively, check into the luxurious Bedarra Island Resort and experience the pinnacle of barefoot luxury.

Tumble down rapids

White Water Rafting with Raging Thunder at Tully Gorge

See the magnificent Tully Gorge National Park

Beyond the palm-fringed cerulean sea, lush farmland and rolling hills lies the mighty Tully River – regarded as one of Australia’s best rafting spots. Paddle down some 45 rapids as the river tumbles and swirls its way through the magnificent Tully Gorge National Park, impenetrable rainforest either side. Tour operator Raging Thunder employs trained river guides who share the history and wonder of this magnificent landscape.

Swim in a natural spa

Cardwell Spa Pools

A series of irresistible Instagram images have travellers flocking to the stunning natural waterhole that is Cardwell Spa Pool. Known for its refreshing cool water the colour of turquoise, the pool is a natural depression in a creek bed that causes the water to bubble and swirl like a Jacuzzi at one end. If waterfall chasing is more your thing, head to neighbouring Attie Creek Falls for a show-stopping waterfall that drops into a shimmering azure-coloured pool. Pack a picnic and make the most of this magical natural oasis, an hour’s drive south of Mission Beach.

Find a secret beach

Bingil Bay

Just north of Mission Beach itself you’ll find the little-known Bingil Bay, a picturesque rainforest-fringed inlet with views to Dunk Island and Bingil Bay Café, arguably the best café on the Cassowary Coast. In the early 1960s, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and his wife Zara retreated from political life at the private Bingil Retreat. And at Lugger Bay in South Mission Beach you’ll find Lovers Beach, another out-of-the-way slice of paradise fringed by pandanas and paperbark trees. Mission Beach boasts 14 kilometres of golden beaches, so you’re sure to find one with your name on it.

Dive deep into the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkel over coral gardens with Mission Beach Dive

Spot clownfish on the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef with Mission Beach Dive

Mission Beach is the one of the closest departure points to the Great Barrier Reef, making for easy access to pristine snorkel and dive sites bursting with coral and marine life. Explore a variety of shallow and deep reef sites with Mission Beach Dive, where you’ll snorkel colourful coral gardens home to turtles, lionfish and reef sharks. On the surface, Coral Sea Kayaking offers an easy day trip to beautiful Dunk Island taking in the fringing reef, sandy and coral beaches, and (if you’re lucky) the chance to see dolphins, turtles and rays.

Charley’s Chocolate Factory

Cocoa at Charley's Chocolate Factory

The one thing the rainforest does better than almost anything else is growing tropical plants and fruits and that includes Mission Beach’s own cocoa plantation at Charley’s Chocolate Factory. Here you can see freshly harvested cocoa beans turned into gloriously creamy chocolate bars right before your eyes. Touch, smell, taste and see the process “from tree to chocolate bar”.

Discover more

Wondering what else you can do in the area?

Garners Beach Mission Beach
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Secret Beaches & Coves of Mission Beach

Mission Beach would be better referred to as Mission Beaches with its 14km stretch of sand interlinking three beaches and four villages. Lesser known are the smaller beaches and coves that make up a huge part of its charming appeal.

Read more
Tropical North Queensland
8 mini road trips in Tropical North Queensland

Discover local specialties and hidden gems on a mini road trip through Tropical North Queensland with these one day wonders. Here are eight itineraries to get you out and about.

Read more
Attie Creek Falls
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
12 other things to do when visiting the Cardwell Spa Pool

Whether you’re out to catch a barra, hike Australia’s largest island National Park or adventure your way through a scenic 4WD track, Cardwell is the perfect launch pad for an outdoorsy weekend with a friendly local twist.

Read more
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
48 hours mountain biking the Cassowary Coast

From making first tracks at sunrise along the coast to meeting friendly local wildlife in the ancient rainforest, uncover the secrets of the mountain biking trails of Mission Beach and surrounds.

Read more
Cardwell Spa Pool
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Everything you need to know about the Cardwell Spa Pool

Cardwell Spa Pool is a naturally-fed, seasonal creek that shot to stardom on social media in 2016. Ever since, people have been adding it to their holiday itinerary but there are a few things you might not know about this idyllic swimming spot.

Read more
discovering the rainforest at mamu tropical skywalk
Tropical North Queensland
10 Things you didn’t know about the Wet Tropics Rainforest

Get to know our famous forest, which spans 8940 square-kilometers and covers more ground than Samoa, Luxemburg and Puerto Rico, with this list of 10 things you didn’t know about the Wet Tropics.

Read more
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Riding the Misty Mountains Trails near Mission Beach

The Misty Mountain trails consist of a number of scenic rides from the coast to the rainforest. Ride the wilderness tracks and explore the Cassowary Coast with these hot hints.

Read more
Mountain Biking Mission Beach
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Mission Beach – The best kept secret in mountain biking

From the moment you turn off the highway, away from the never-ending cane fields and through the twists and turns of the Djiru National Park, you’ll be captured. Get set for your perfect mountain biking getaway in Mission Beach.

Read more