At Mission Beach, two World Heritage sites sit side by side, as the waters of the Great Barrier Reef meet the rainforest of the Wet Tropics. An uncomplicated yet vibrant beachfront town, together with the lure of a 14-kilometre-long palm-fringed beach bathed in tropical sunshine year-round, has made Mission Beach a top pick for holidaying families the world over. Located in the heart of the Great Green Way, the area is a perfect example of how tourism can flourish within a location that places great pride in the maintenance and preservation of its delicate environments.
About Mission Beach
Mission Beach facts
Paronella Park’s historical Spanish-style buildings were built in the 1930s and these beautiful structures resemble a modern-day garden of Babylon. Surrounded by and covered in the lush green of the surrounding rainforest, accompanied by the sounds of nearby waterfalls, these buildings have to be seen to be believed.
Family Group of islands
The beautiful Family Group of islands – including the famous Dunk and Bedarra Islands – sit just four kilometres offshore, and a little further south is the largest island national park in the world, Hinchinbrook Island. Mission Beach provides access to the islands by water taxi, charter or private boat.
The Great Barrier Reef
Mission Beach is part of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, which needs no introduction as one of the great natural wonders of the world, drawing tourists from all over the globe year after year. The reef is filled with great photo-ops, and a fascinating array of marine life and colourful corals.
The Reef Express
The Reef Express at Mission Beach sets itself apart from other reef-boating companies due to the small size of the groups and the quality of their luxurious, private vessels. Spend a day in the sun sighting dolphins and whales, while enjoying scenic views of the Great Barrier Reef.
Best time to go to Mission Beach
Mission Beach enjoys idyllic tropical weather year-round.
In summer you’ll enjoy beautifully warm days, perfect for working on your tan or lazing around on the beach. Don’t forget this is wet season: toward the afternoon the clouds will often collect and begin their rumblings for the tropical rain ahead. In summer the average maximum temperature is 31 degrees Celsius.
Days are gloriously soaked with sunshine and you can expect to enjoy blue skies everyday. Beaches are popular with families and couples, providing gentle sea breezes and calm water for swimming. However, expect to be sharing your stretch of sand with other holidaymakers as this is the region’s high season. In the winter, average maximum temperatures are 25 degrees Celsius.
Cairns International Airport operates regular flights from cities around the world, and Mission Beach is approximately a 90-minute drive south. Airport transfers are available.
In Mission Beach taxis, water taxis and car hire is available. Find more information about transport to and around Mission Beach here.
Food and drinks that kids will love
Mission Beach has a large number of farms nearby, and you’ll likely find some exotic fruit the kids have never tried before. Mangoes are plentiful, but also look for lychees, rambutan, and the famous mangosteen. Towards the end of summer there is a tropical fruit festival at nearby Innisfail, where an abundance of stalls gather to share their best harvests.
The majority of restaurants here are clustered along Porter Promenade and its surrounding walkways and arcades. Bingil Bay Cafe serves up a great breakfast and has a lovely porch perfect for watching the world go by – just look for the lavender building with rainbow signage. PepperVine offers great wood-fired pizzas, and Fish Bar boasts some of the best seafood in town and is funkily decorated in hanging fishing nets.
Charley’s Chocolate Factory, Australia’s only cocoa tree to chocolate bar experience, is perfect for a day out for the family – especially for those with a sweet tooth! Highlights of the tour include visiting the tree nursery, learning about the fascinating 3800-year-old history of cocoa, seeing first-hand fermentation techniques, opening a cocoa pod and tasting the nibs, and taking part in some of the steps involved in making actual chocolate.
Experience local culture and pay a visit to the North Mission Beach Markets, open on the first, third and last Sunday of every month for most of the year. This artisan market has stalls selling everything from local produce and clothing to handcrafted arts and crafts.
Mission Beach also features a great collection of eclectic boutiques and shops, and is home to many artists who often showcase their works locally, often at the standout Helen Wiltshire Gallery.
Tipping is appreciated, but not expected in Australia.
What to wear
Light, natural-fibre casual clothing is suitable for any time of the year in Mission Beach. A windcheater is useful for sailing and for the cooler evenings. Don’t forget swimming and snorkelling gear, towels, hats and plenty of sunscreen.
Australia is renowned for its laid-back, egalitarian culture. By and large, friendliness is equated with good manners.
Mains voltage in Australia is 230V AC, 50Hz. Use a three-pin adaptor (different to British three-pin adaptors).
No special immunisations or vaccinations are required to visit Australia unless you have come from, or have visited, a yellow fever infected country within six days of your arrival. However, regulations and medical advice can change at short notice, so check with your doctor and the Australian Department of Health before you leave home.
Tap water is generally safe to drink in Australian cities.
By and large, the Whitsundays is considered a safe destination, although still exercise regular safety precautions as you would at home.
Cutten Brothers Walking Track
This walk takes you through one of the most beautiful rainforests in the region, with spectacular views of Boat Bay. The flora in the area is incredible and you can spot king ferns, arenga palms and a variety of other trees along the way. Keep your eyes peeled too for cassowaries! The walk takes about 30-45 minutes and is around 1.6 kilometres in length, perfect for little feet, and little beach pockets are dotted along the way for pit stops of needed.
Charley's Chocolate Factory
Australia’s only cocoa tree to chocolate bar experience, this one is sure to be a hit with kids. Highlights of the tour include a look at the fascinating 3,800-year history of cocoa, visiting the tree nursery and a cocoa tree plantation, seeing the tiny orchid-like flowers and ripe cocoa pods, looking at the fermentation and drying techniques and taking part in the making of actual chocolate. There will be countless opportunities to snap a picture of your little one getting involved and enjoying yummy treats!