Because getting out of town shouldn't break the bank
Mission Beach has it all: heritage listed rainforest, the closest access to the Great Barrier Reef, almost extinct wildlife, miles upon miles of quiet, golden beaches where sea turtles slash about in the clear turquoise water. Adrenaline junkie flock up here to skydive and white water raft, but there are so many activities that you can do for free also. Perfect for a cheap family getaway or Sunday drive down the coast.
Walk the Ulysses Trail and Cullen Brothers Walking Track Snaking its way between the shops/resorts/houses and the beach, the Ulysses Trail is a 1.5km long walking track that leads you from the southern end of the Mission Beach township and links at the north with the Cullen Brothers Walking Track. Both walking trails are well worth taking. I especially love the Cullen Brothers Track as you really feel like you have the place all to yourself. You are covered by the rainforest canopy, shading you from the sun, and ocean views are incredible.
The Cullen Brothers Trail will lead you to the local jetty, from which you have a view out to the island on one side and a view back towards the end of Bicton Hill. It's a very beautiful place to just sit and contemplate the world.
Sea Turtle Spotting at the Clump Point Jetty Pack a picnic breakfast and head to the Clump Point Jetty early to see the sea turtles enjoying their morning grazing around the jetty. There is something magnificent about these creatures, they are so dignified, slow and old. I adore them!
Climb Bicton Hill for magnificent views
Bicton Hill is part of the Clump Mountain National Park and hosts a 4km circuit walking trail with spectacular views from the summit. It is an easy walk but you should be alert when taking it. This is a National Park in the tropics and wild animals do call this place home. If you come across a monitor lizard, snake, wallaby, cassowary or any other animal, just be respectful and let them go on about with their business. The whole walk up and down Bicton Hill is covered by rainforest so while it may be hot under the North Queensland sun on the beach, you're well protected on this walk. Also take a water bottle with you as there are no taps along the way.
Go swimming! Mission Beach is one of the only beaches in Tropical North Queensland that I personally feel safe swimming in during winter months, (in summer all ocean swimming up here is off limits). The water is crystal clear and tourists splash about in the calm sea all throughout the winter months. There is very little chances of crocodiles and the stinger season does not start until November. It's one of the rare places in North Queensland where you can take a dip into the salty water.
Meander through the Licuala Fan Palm Walking track This is where you will likely see a cassowary also! The walking track is only 1.2kms long, however if you're like us and exciting to see a cassowary, the track can take you more than an hour to walk if you freeze every-time you head a noise in the thick greenery surrounding you! Even if you don't see one of the pre-historic looking birds on this walk, the scenery itself is spectacular. Mission Beach has approximately 50% of the remaining Fan Palm Forest in Australia and the Licuala Fan Palm Walking track gives a great example of these spectacular trees and how they assist in the rainforest eco-system.
Enjoy a romantic sunrise Set your alarm early for a sunrise walk on the beach. Most mornings the water is flat; it looks like you could walk out along it. It's just magical watching the sunrise next to Dunk Island, and if you're in season you might get to do a spot of whale watching also.