Introducing Mission Beach
Less than 30km east of the Bruce Hwy’s rolling sugar-cane and banana plantations, the hamlets that make up greater Mission Beach are hidden amongst World Heritage rainforest. The rainforest extends right to the Coral Sea, giving this 14km-long palm-fringed stretch of secluded inlets and wide, empty beaches the castaway feel of a tropical island.
The frightfully powerful Cyclone Yasi made landfall at Mission Beach in 2011, stripping much of the rainforest and vegetation bare. However, the communities here recovered quickly – within two weeks, water and power was restored and most businesses and tourist operators were running normally.
Although collectively referred to as Mission Beach or just ‘Mission’, the area comprises a sequence of individual villages strung along the coast. Bingil Bay lies 4.8km north of Mission Beach proper (sometimes called North Mission). Wongaling Beach is 5km south; from here it’s a further 5.5 kilometres south to South Mission Beach. Most amenities are in Mission proper and Wongaling Beach; South Mission Beach and Bingil Bay are mainly residential.
Mission is one of the closest access points to the Great Barrier Reef, and the gateway to Dunk Island. There are plenty of opportunities for on-foot exploring here: walking tracks fan out around Mission Beach, with Australia’s highest density of cassowaries (around 40) roaming the rainforest. While Mission's coastline seems to scream 'toe dip!', don't just fling yourself into the water any old where: stick to the swimming enclosures, lest you have a nasty encounter with a marine stinger…or croc.