I had the pleasure of heading up to Mission Beach last month for a wedding. One of my beautiful school friends walked down the aisle atop a hill that overlooked this tropical paradise (it was quite a surreal experience). Having lived in Australia my whole life would you believe I'd never visited North Queensland; the furthest I had ever travelled north was Rockhampton. We flew into Cairns and then drove south to Mission Beach; it's about a two hour drive through sugar cane regions and you'll be astounded by the number of mountains surrounding the area. I felt like I was in a movie in the lush, hilly Asian rainforest.
Mission Beach itself is a small little place but is ideal for a quiet weekend. Don't get me wrong this is a sleepy little town (one evening at 8pm we felt like an ice-cream and asked where the nearest service station was, 30 minutes away we were told!) but for a relaxing few days soaking up the sunshine it's a great place to visit. There are several accommodation options, beautiful beaches and access to the Great Barrier Reef is easy from here. We took a day trip out on a boat to Eddy reef where we saw spectacular fish and coral plus the occasional reef shark! We stayed at Mackays Mission Beach motel, which if you're on a budget is a great choice. The rooms were basic but clean and provided everything you could need for your beach getaway. Castaways is another accomodation option that is slightly more expensive. In my opinion the rooms aren't great but the facilities are lovely with a nice beachfront pool, tropical garden and restaurant on the deck.
The vibe is very laid-back here; you can kick-around and spend your days as you please (we even had beach bonfires everynight!). I would definitely recommend Mission Beach if you're looking for a weekend getaway to somewhere less touristy.
Photos by Krissie