aerial image mission beach

Where to go

Mission Beach & The Cassowary Coast

The Charms of the Cassowary Coast

This quiet stretch of the Tropical North Queensland coast is the closest point to the Great Barrier Reef on the mainland. Flanked by lush rainforest, the dreamy beachside enclave of Mission Beach is at its heart.

Mission Beach is uncommercialised and full of genuine locals who will let you in on their secret swimming holes or have a chat in the bar

Nancy Lowe – Mission Beach Dive

A PATCH OF PARADISE

Running from Cairns to Cardwell, the Cassowary Coast is one of the undiscovered gems of Queensland, a quiet stretch of coastline bordered by the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Mission Beach (actually four separate towns spread along a 14km stretch of palm-fringed beach) is at its heart. Despite its popularity, the town has retained a dreamy, laid-back vibe and the welcoming locals are never outnumbered by tourists.

snorkelling with mission beach dive

WHAT LIES BENEATH

Mission Beach was the birthplace of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and is the closest access point for the reef, less than 40km offshore. It’s a quiet, uncrowded area of the reef and you’re unlikely to have to share your snorkelling or diving spot with any other boats.

bedarra island family group of islands

TO THE ISLANDS

The Family Group of Islands are just a few kilometres off the coast from Mission Beach. Camp overnight on uninhabited Coombe and Wheeler islands, hike through the rainforest on Dunk Island, or indulge in a luxurious resort stay on Bedarra Island. The islands are easily accessible via a water taxi or charter boat from Mission Beach.

Cassowaries on beach

RARE BIRDS

The area around Mission Beach is home to one of the highest concentrations of the endangered cassowary in Australia. These large flightless birds can be spotted walking through fields and gardens, and even occasionally swimming across rivers.

canefields with mountains in background

LIFE IS SWEET

About 90km south of Cairns, Innisfail is a colourful town at the confluence of the North and South Johnstone rivers. The picturesque spot is surrounded by green sugar plantations, fruit fields and wild rainforest. Innisfail is the art deco capital of Australia and there are free weekly walking tours that take in the significant buildings of the city centre.

Food trail

Skydiving over mission beach

THE AIR UP THERE

There’s plenty for the more adventurous at heart, too: Mission Beach is the access point to white-water rafting down the Tully River (about 50km inland), and offers skydiving over the reef and rainforest.

Tips

  • You’ll see lots of roadside fruit stalls around the region. Take what you like and leave your money in the honesty box. This region is the banana capital of Australia, so delicious bananas are usually plentiful.

  • Soak in a natural spa pool. The 26km Cardwell Forest Drive loops through the Girringun National Park, known for its spectacular waterfalls and secluded swimming holes. Be sure to have a soak in the Spa Pool, a rock pool with a natural depression that causes the water to bubble like a Jacuzzi.

  • The Mission Beach Markets are held on the first and third Sunday of the month right beside the beach, which has fantastic views of the offshore islands. You’ll find everything from local produce and plants to second-hand clothes, crafts, books and jewellery.

  • Be aware of the environment around you. From October to June, dangerous marine stingers (including box jellyfish) are found in the ocean off Mission Beach. During this time, swim only within netted areas.

Discover More

There are plenty of hidden treasures tucked away along the Cassowary Coast, from secret beaches and snorkelling spots to secluded waterfalls and laid-back villages.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast Waterfalls & Swimming Spots To Cool Off In

Mother Nature sees your backyard swimming pool and raised you her take on it with these waterfalls and swimming spots– each perfectly moulded and best explored with a sense of adventure.

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Great Green Way – The start of your East Coast Adventure

Spanning 457km down Australia’s East Coast, the drive from Cairns to Townsville encompasses waterfalls, wetlands, mountains, and plenty of friendly country towns.

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Food & Wine
Taste your way along the Cassowary Coast

Tasting your way along the Cassowary Coast’s bountiful tropical food trail will satisfy any food lovers appetite. From orchards laden with exotic fruits to seafood buffets on tropical islands, you’ll be making all sorts of stops along the way. So pack your hampers and make room in your car boot, we’re taking you foraging!

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Accessible travel in Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast

With lush, ancient rainforest on one side, and the world’s largest coral reef on the other, Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast boast a spectacular hidden world. Donning some of the region’s best accessible adventures, there’s more than one way to explore this off-the-beaten-track slice of paradise.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Family friendly adventures in Mission Beach & the Cassowary Coast

Drive one hour south of Cairns and you’ll enter the region known as the Cassowary Coast. It’s an area that embodies all that people love about Tropical North Queensland…no crowds, no rush and definitely no stress!! Here’s adventures in Mission Beach & the Cassowary Coast that the whole family will enjoy.

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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.

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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.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
8 islands south of Cairns to explore

The Sunshine State might have 900 tropical islands off its coastline, but there’s one stretch of coast that’s overrepresented when it comes to idyllic island-oasis. Enter Southern Cairns and the Cassowary Coast, whose offshore attractions are as much of a drawcard as its mainland namesake.

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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.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
5 Detours while cycling the Cassowary Coast

Take a break from pedalling to stop and smell the roses… or in this case, the heliconias, at these incredible detours from Cairns to the Cassowary Coast.

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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.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Guide to the natural attractions around Mission Beach

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.

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Cardwell Spa Pool

Getting here

  • car driving in mission beach

    By car

    Self-drive or hire a car to uncover the secrets of the Cassowary Coast. The road is completely sealed and is two-wheel drive accessible.

  • Greyhound bus

    By coach

    Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service operate daily departures from Brisbane to Cairns, via Cardwell, Tully, Mission Beach and Innisfail. Additional fare options are available into Brisbane from major and regional centres around the country with forward travel to Tropical North Queensland a popular option.

  • mission beach water taxi

    By ferry

    Take the Dunk Island Water Taxi to Dunk and Bedarra Islands. Transfer services operate between Cardwell and Hinchinbrook Island.

  • train in countryside

    By rail

    Queensland Railway’s Spirit of Queensland and Tilt Train operate to Tully; then take a coach to Mission Beach.

Stay

Relax and unwind surrounded by nature.

What’s on

While you’re in the area, see what’s on nearby.

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR

Did you know that Tropical North Queensland has the highest concentration of eco-certified experiences in Australia? Now you can be a tree hugger while you holiday! 🤯🍃

In honour of Earth Day, we’re counting down some of the top ways you can get involved in conservation of culture & country 💫 Remember - you can enjoy most of these experiences not just today, but all year round! ⛵️🌴

1. Explore the rainforest at @daintreediscovery
2. Snorkel the @gbrmarinepark with @sailawayportdouglas
3. Learn about culture with @mandingalbay
4. Meet Aussie animals at @wildlifehabitat
5. Tour the tropics with @billyteasafaris_
6. Walk the lava tubes with @undaraexperience
7. Glide above the canopy with @skyrailcairns
8. Join a Dreamtime walk at @mossmangorge
9. Enter the rainforest with @waitawhiletours
10. Restore the reef with @passionsofparadise
11. Cruise through @cobboldgorge
12. Search for wildlife at the @daintreerivercruisecentre 
13. Immerse yourself in nature with @backcountryblissadventures
14. Step back in time at @paronellapark
15. Dive into blue waters with @divers_den
+ more!

Click the bio link to read more ☝️

📸 @wejustdostuff_official #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #missionbeach
What do you get in #MissionBeach? You get views so good that pictures almost can’t live up to the real life hype 💫🏝 Say hello to 14km of stunning sandy shores linking 3 beaches & 4 seaside villages, including a few you may never have seen before ⛱ Whether you’re looking for a relaxed hideout or an adventurous getaway, Mission Beach has something for you! ⛵️🌺
​
​📸 @sometimesnorth  #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ
Enjoy this picturesque coastal walking trail in @tropicalcoastqueensland 🏝🏃 The Kennedy Walking Track will take you from South #MissionBeach to #KennedyBay & if you have a little extra time, take a stroll along the beach at Kennedy Bay ✨

How’s that for a way to get your steps up? 😉

📸 @tropicalcoastqueensland via @cassowarycoastregionalcouncil #thisisqueensland #explorecairnsGBR  #seeaustralia #exploreTNQ
What do you get in #MissionBeach? You get views so good they’re even better in person 💫🏝 Say hello to 14km of stunning sandy shores linking 3 beaches & 4 seaside villages, including a few you may never have seen before ⛱ Whether you’re looking for a relaxed hideout or an adventurous getaway, Mission Beach has something for you!

While you’re on your way down, don’t forget to stop in at @paronellapark to discover the remains of a magical castle🌴 Or opt for island time on a tour with @mission_beach_dive ⛵️🌺
​
​📸 @denya.dean #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #explorecairnsGBR #seeaustralia
Out of the reef & onto the beach, in #MissionBeach no less! 🌴

Though the reef is still pretty close! Did you know that Mission Beach was the birthplace of the @gbrmarinepark & is the closest access point to the reef, making it the ultimate spot for snorkelling, diving & boating ⛵️🌊 Our tip: Ask the locals for some epic places to explore!

If underwater wonderlands aren’t quite your scene, there’s plenty to see above ground as well, from beautiful beaches to raging rapids & cool waterholes 🍃🏝
​
​📸@pineappletraders #seeaustralia  #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland

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