12 Great Things to do in Mission Beach, part 2

Look at that gin clear water! It’s time to hit the ocean in Mission Beach! Here is part 2 of my list of Great Things to Do in Mission Beach.

Great Barrier Reef

Even if you are not a keen swimmer, do yourself a favour and visit the Great Barrier Reef. It’s one of those experiences, that will stay with you. Next time you sit in a traffic jam, remember gliding through water that feels like velvet amongst fish in all colours of the rainbow. It’ll make you relax instantly. Try it!

1. Visiting the Great Barrier Reef from Mission Beach is very special because it’s so close and yet it’s a surprisingly intimate experience. None of the operators here take more than 12 people and you’ll probably have an entire lagoon and reef to yourself. When the weather is good, you’ll want to book your reef trip fast, as they fill up quickly.

Big Mama Sailing

Image courtesy of Big Mama Sailing

Beautiful Big Mama, a 18 m ketch sailboat will get you to the reef in a relaxed couple of hours. The trip itself will be an eye-opening adventure. You’ll be sailing aboard a floating home. 10 year old Fletcher, like his dad, skipper Stu, has never lived on land.  Home has always been aboard a ship. Mum, the fabulous Lisa, takes care of the home schooling, bakes scones for her guests, prepares a scrumptious Bbq lunch and, when asked, will happily share with you what it’s like to live and work aboard a ship. Be warned, you’ll be tempted to quit your job and sell the house.

If you don’t want to spend an entire day going out to the reef, because maybe you have a plane to catch or because your kiddies will be so much happier if they have their afternoon nap, then join Kerryn and Gary from Mission Beach Island Reef Adventures for a 45 minute speedboat trip. You’ll still get to spend plenty of time at the reef. I was their guest the other day and what a treat it was! The ocean was pancake flat and we got to Eddy Reef in under 40 minutes. You could virtually see the fish and coral without putting your head in the water, it was like a 3D postcard. Gary instructed me to slow down and swim like a fish in order to see more. And I saw plenty. Reefsharks, turtles, Nemo, a pod of dolphins, they all came to welcome me. Here are some of the things I saw, courtesy of Kerryn’s underwater camera.

Mission Beach Island Reef Adventures

Images courtesy of Mission Beach Island Reef Adventures

2. One of my other all time favourite things is to experience the Coral Sea at sea level from a kayak. Growing up in cold, dark Germany, I wasn’t born an earlier riser. Living in the Wet Tropics, where sweltering summer days can confine you to the indoors for most of the day, has made me into one. Nothing makes me happier than to get up at the crack of dawn and take my kayak out for a paddle and watch giant green turtles pop their little heads out of the water next to my kayak. It’s like meditation.

Early morning paddle Mission Beach

You don’t have to become a local to go kayaking. Just hire one at Mission Beach Boat Hire  or from Coral Sea Kayaking and paddle along the shores of South Mission Beach or get more adventurous and paddle across to Dunk Island. If that feels too daunting, go on a guided day trip with Coral Sea Kayaking and let Atti spoil you with home made muesli bars, paw paws and bananas from her own garden or join her on an overnight trip for the full menu of gourmet treats, including breakfast omelettes made with eggs laid in her very own garden by her very own chooks. Awesome!

Coral Sea Kayaking

3. Camp on an uninhabited island.  Falling asleep gazing at the stars from inside a mozzie dome on one of the many uninhabited islands just offshore is a treat I only discovered recently. Imagine what a weekend without electricity, cars and shops will do to you. Allow yourself to be gadget free for a day or two – you’ll still get reception on most of the islands, but just try leaving the phone switched off to conserve power in case you need it for an emergency. You’ll come back a different person. For my money, it beats any 5 star resort. You can read about my latest adventure here.

 Camping on Coombe Island

To experience an overnight island stay, let Atti and husband Dave from Coral Sea Kayaking take you on an overnight paddling trip to the Barnards or the Family Group of Islands or, better still, Hinchinbrook Island for an epic week-long paddling trip.

If kayaking is not your thing, skipper Jason from Mission Beach Charters will give you a lift in his boat to Coombe or Wheeler Islands. Bec and Jason also hire out everything you’ll need for a memorable island camping experience.

4. If you don’t have time for an overnight visit to the islands, take the 3 hour Water Taxi tour. You’ll get to spend time on privately owned Bedarra Island where the rich and famous come on holidays. Ask Captain Fozzy to tell you about the celebrities that have stayed here and the history of the islands. There are some good stories to be found amongst those islands!

5. Go on a road trip and discover the different villages that make up Mission Beach. Following the winding road from Bingil Bay to North Mission Beach in a car or on a pushbike, you’ll want to go slowly, there is so much beautiful scenery to take in. I never tire of doing that stretch of road. From Mission Beach continue to Wongaling Beach – if you are on a bike, you’ll enjoy the new bike track, but make sure you cover up and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, it does get very hot during the day. You might even see a wallaby hopping out of the bush as you pedal along. Turn it into a food safari and grab a sushi lunch along the way at the new Sushi Plus, or a juice and a meal from Juice City.

Mission Beach

Make it a take-away and have lunch whilst watching the skydivers drop out of the sky at Wongaling Beach. It’s fascinating to watch the precision with which they land on the beach amongst hysterical laughter from first-time divers.

Continue on to South Mission Beach and be amazed at how close Dunk Island suddenly looks. It’ll make you want to jump in a kayak and paddle across. Leave that for another day and treat yourself to one of the best value-for-money meals in town at Tuskers right there at the Surf Life Saving Club. It’s got killer views, and is one of those local secrets I’ve only recently discovered. You’ll be surprised by the variety of quality meals they make in a small van, breakfast, lunch and dinner!

If it’s a proper restaurant you want, head back to Millers in Wongaling Beach, it’s on the beach and a bit of an institution with the locals and visitors. If it’s Thai food you love, you’ll want to book a table at Spicy Thai in Wongaling Beach or try the new Mission Thai in South Mission Beach. Reliable locals tell me it’s the new highlight on the menu.

DSC_42166. After all that activity, you’ll be ready for some pampering. Thank yourself for having come to the right place. There are plenty of very talented professionals to take care of you. Have the legendary Yoko surprise you with deep insights about your mind and body balance, as she massages you to the gentle sounds of the ocean at Drift Spa. It’s attached to Castaways Resort and arguably the most beautiful spot to indulge your stressed body. You’ll probably be tempted to try out some of their other pampering options.

Or visit Viv’s Beauty Room in Bingil Bay and let multi-skilled Viv give your body a tune-up with an ayurvedic massage, muscular-skeletal  treatment or facial reflexology. And don’t be in a rush, finish your tune-up with a quiet walk along Bingil Bay beach. You’ll feel like a new person.

Make sure you check out Healthy Harvest for a range of different massages, including craniosacral.

If getting into a car to get pampered sounds like hard work, why not have cheerful Carly from Portable Pampering come to your house and give you a total make-over; she’ll do the lot, nails, face, spray tan even your make-up. If it’s a deep tissue massage you need, Gemma Flynn will also come to your house. She’s got years of big city experience in stress relief and pain management. The only pain you should be feeling right now is from the tyranny of choice!

Fast Facts:

Make sure you always cover up when you are out in the sun. The Australian sun is harsh and skin cancer is a real threat to your health.

To make an appointment with massage therapist Gemma call  0425 307 685, for all other businesses mentioned in this post, please click on the relevant link.

Have fun!


Kerstin Pilz

Author at Travelpilz
I am Kerstin Pilz, PhD, recovering academic, travel blogger based in Mission Beach, Far North Queensland.

5 thoughts on “12 Great Things to do in Mission Beach, part 2

  1. Kerry Green

    Kerstin, I have read both of your blogs this morning and loved them! You write really well -Lonely Planet eat your heart out! What a fabulous project for our community and for tourists. Even I found some new things I could try!

  2. Marcelle McKenna

    Absolutely wonderful travel blog. You have done Mission Beach a great favour. Makes me want to leave Innisfail and move there!

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