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Brisbane to Mission Beach Coach Trip

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Cheap | Escape the City | Tours | Travel
by T. A. Rose (subscribe)
Enjoying challenging myself to add to the WeekendNotes vast library.
Published May 18th 2023
Travel to Mission Beach in a Greyhound coach
Greyhound to cairns
Greyhound GX404, coach from Brisbane to Cairns parked at Cardwell.

There were few businesses less affected by the recent global pandemic than Greyhound Australia. However, recently the number of services has increased and is operating near capacity.

New look greyhound coach GX402 Brisbane to Townsville.
The new-look Greyhound coach GX402 Brisbane to Townsville, parked near Bowen.

The company's turnaround in fortunes is well deserved. The company had to significantly reduce its bus services hence it's near obvious that the finances of the company were pushed to the limits yet Greyhound Australia is still operating. Another reason Greyhound deserves praise is they're helping bring tourists to resorts that also withstood the pandemic, and at least based on a recent trip from Airlie Beach to Mission Beach changing coach services at Townsville and then all the way back to Brisbane can see young people enjoying their youth again, feeling happy and seeing Australia.

My trip to Mission Beach at nearby Wongaling Beach is also interesting because Mission Beach by coach is a classic escape from the city. This longer trip up the coast included Airlie Beach, doing my first portion by rail from Brisbane to Proserpine, the coach stopping off at Cardwell, changing coaches in Townsville, and seeing the Dry Tropics region phase into the Wet Tropics region.

Near Bowen on Bruce Highway.
Near Bowen at roadhouse on the Bruce Highway.

My coach ticket had a change of coach at Townsville Sealink Terminal, which had comfy seats, bus passengers in transit could wait there and its cafe did a sound flat white and sold other cafe treats. The ferries looked safe, inspiring confidence and nearby Magnetic Island is a desirable destination. Ferry tickets were low cost but good value (around forty dollars full adult fare return without bringing a car). I don't recommend doing a ferry trip and waiting for the coach on the same day - seems a good way to pass time but one would be infuriated to miss their coach trip because of any unforeseen delays in the ferry. Travelling to Magnetic Island is definitely a hidden gem (still) for those staying overnight in Townsville or staying on the island itself. For those interested in further reading about Townsville and its tourism here is a link to the official tourism website Townsville North Queensland .

Sealink Terminal Townsville adjacent to Greyhound coach stop.
Sealink Terminal Townsville adjacent to Greyhound coach stop.

The Australian East Coast has been quoted by Lonely Planet as "road-tripping nirvana". With the Sunshine Coast, Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Agnes Water, Rockhampton, Mackay, Airlie Beach, Bowen, Townsville, Mission Beach, and Cairns on the itinerary, north of Brisbane, Queenslanders and visitors to Queensland are blessed with a seemingly endless list of main destinations yet with side trips that can often be of high interest and pleasantly surprising.

Greyhound has a fare that works for those travelling on a budget - the East Coast Whimit pass. It's priced at 265 dollars for one week of travel on a seven-day Whimit, I found when purchasing that I could start anytime within twelve months of purchase, it could be upgraded and it is one of many potential solutions to today's living costs problems for many Australians. I quickly realised the crowded coaches were still comfy plus the breaks are good value. Note that an East Coast Whimit pass is for Greyhound Australia's coastal destinations from Melbourne to Cairns.

While on the topic of coach breaks, at the small town Cardwell north of Townsville, you get to see on a coach break the finest landscapes and the glorious Hinchinbrook National Park while ordering a famous crab burger. The Bowen meal stop is just a roadhouse out of town, but there's space galore for a leg stretch. At Townsville and Airlie Beach, you could break up the exhausting travel with overnight stays or build fitness for the journeying by enduring it all the way to the Wet Tropics.

Collage of Cardwell town environment and signage.
Collage of Cardwell town environment and signage.

The scenery is dramatic at times and destinations are a welcome variation compared to going to nearer-to-Brisbane regions. Travelling past the Tropic of Capricorn is a budget travel dream made reality. It's good to see the Greyhound Australia company hopefully inspire even more customers to try a Whimit and see the tropical north in its refreshing winter months.

All photos in this review courtesy of its author, were taken in 2023 and please note for varying reasons long distance coach travel might not be ideal yet oppositely it could be just what one needs as well, depending on individual circumstances. Mission Reef Resort was chosen as accommodation at Wongaling Beach for good all-round value and good location. Note that Mission Beach has three sections of Mission, Wongaling and South Mission Beaches with the Greyhound coach transit centre at Wongaling Beach. At that transit centre is Mission Beach Taxis on phone of 131008. Despite a range of destinations possible, the focus on travelling to Mission Beach by coach was strongly linked to escaping the winter chill yet without overspending.

In the below gallery of sunrise destination photos Dunk Island especially at that time of day was as magic as it is an iconic view from Wongaling Beach - couldn't have realised how striking a view it was until I saw it. However it is croc country so I exercised reasonable caution, it's certainly a balance between safety and seeing the natural beauty of the area. The gallery merely hints at it, yet also keeps the breathtaking and pleasant surprise secretive enough for one to get that real satisfaction from seeing the beach and the islands - in reality, the roar of the ocean combined with the plush gold sand, and the backdrop presence of Dunk Island really hits the spot.

Mission Beach Autumn Sunrise Gallery

Mission Beach autumn sunrise.
Mission Beach autumn at sunrise.

Mission Reef Resort Pool
Mission Reef Resort Pool

Iconic View to Dunk Island
Iconic View to Dunk Island

Just before orange sunrise at Wongaling Beach
Just before an orange sunrise at Wongaling Beach.

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Why? Buy a travel pass and try a tropical winter to get away from cooler regions even if just for a holiday.
When: All year round and as long as Greyhound sell cheap travel passes.
Phone: Greyhound Australia are reachable on 1300 473940 or 1300 GREYHOUND.
Where: Brisbane to Mission Beach as far north as Cairns, Australia.
Cost: A seven day east coast Whimit pass is 265 Australian dollars at time of writing.
Your Comment
Regarding the consecutive trip from Mission Beach to Brisbane, around 28 hours. Customers recline their seats and I didn't want to start arguments so I put up with it, but had slightly sore knees that went away after a few days, the Townsville Sealink terminal has a local bus station and the way people dress or present is a bit sus (like kids smoking and riding without helmets, guys with Chave gear on) , the ferry terminal was much quieter on the way up, but no-one actually did anything, the terminal is much busier on Saturday. Got a cold as well, yet, it saves money, scenery is good, your luggage is secure, the driving is consistent, get to stop off at different places, overall even after the things I am mentioning, it's well worth it, an interesting experience, one remedy is to do smaller trips and overnight stop offs, such as Airlie Beach/Bowen, Agnes Water and Rainbow Beach. That's an advantage of the travel pass, and it can be upgraded.
by T. A. Rose (score: 2|587) 9 days ago
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