We had one day to explore Mission Beach without a car. We decided to hire a bike in Mission Beach and spent a fantastic day on the roads and trails along the coast and nearby national parks.
Hiring a bike in Mission Beach for one day ended up being a lot better than hiring a car.
Here’s an overview of our 40-kilometre itinerary around Mission Beach with our rental bikes. You will find a map of our itinerary and more information about how to hire a bike in Mission Beach at the end of the article.
Responsible travel tip: Cycling is a great way to minimise your carbon footprint while travelling!
I divided our itinerary into to parts: our ride from Mission Beach to Bingil Bay and our ride to Djiru National Park. We did it all in one day. If you have time, this could also be a great itinerary over two days. You’ll need to hire mountain bikes if you want to follow this Mission Beach itinerary.
What we saw by hiring a bike in Mission Beach
- Stunning beaches,
- Stunning rainforest,
- Some wildlife: a cassowary, a wallaby and turtles.
First part: heading north to Bingil Bay
Along the beach
After a short ride on a shared path along Tully-Mission Beach Road and El Arish-Mission Beach Road, we followed the beach to get the best views. We had to get off the bikes sometimes in pedestrian zones, or pedal on the hard sand taking advantage of the low tide.
Ulysses Link Walking Track
As you’d have guessed with the name, we had to walk that part of the itinerary. But the Ulysses Link Walking Track is worth the extra time. Between the information centre and Clump Point, it can be hard for some people to carry the bikes in the stairs so you may want to follow the Porter Promenade instead.
The short detour takes you to a beautiful lookout with views of Mission Beach and Dunk Island.
You can park the bikes at the bottom of the hill and hike up to the lookout. Although the signs indicated the 4.5km would take between 2-2.5hrs, it took us a bit more than one hour return, without rushing it.
Bingil Bay is lovely, but I found the road from Mission Beach to Bingil Bay was the best part of visiting Bingil Bay. I was delighted to do it on a bike rather than in a car as it gave us more time to appreciate the stunning coast. We stopped at Bingil Bay Cafe for lunch.
Second part: heading to the rainforest and Djiru National Park
We could bike all the way to Lacey Creek in Djiru National Park, but not without great efforts! El Aris-Mission Beach Road isn’t flat and some may decide to push their bikes in the steepest hills.
Djiru National Park is a cassowary conservation area. Southern cassowaries are shy animals unfortunately listed as endangered in Australia. We were hoping to spot one during our visit in this region named Cassowary Coast, but we didn’t want to have high expectations (we had tried before with no luck in the Daintree Forest between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation).
And just as we reached the Djiru National Park sign, a cassowary welcomed us by crossing the road. It stayed for a short while on the side of the road. With our slow speed going up the hill, we felt a bit intimidated by the world’s third-biggest bird. It’s not just about its size. Cassowaries have a prehistorical look with their keratinous casque, and they have a bad reputation as an aggressive, territorial bird. We waited a few minutes as the bird decided if it wanted to cross the road and disappeared into the deep forest.
During our ride in Djiru National Park, we heard many times noises that indicated something big was moving in the bush as we were passing by. But we didn’t spot another cassowary.
Responsible travel tip: Cassowaries are endangered in Australia because of human activities. Many signs in Djiru National Park will explain how to be cass-o-wary and avoid behaviours that have negative impacts on this very special bird. As always with wild animals, they should not be fed and extra care is needed while driving.
Lacey Creek circuit
Lacey Creek circuit is a short and easy 1.2-kilometre loop in the rainforest. It crosses the creek a few times, offering a chance to spot a turtle. Cassowaries often frequent the area, especially around the picnic area. We didn’t see any when we stopped, but we were also in a hurry to go back on the bikes and escape the mosquito attack.
Mountain bike trail back to Mission Beach
The Musgravea Track is an 8-kilometre mountain bike track between Djiru National Park and Mission Beach. It is relatively flat compared to the road but of course not as comfortable if you are not used to cycling on rocks and rough terrain. It didn’t require any particular technical knowledge of mountain biking, but I really wished our rental bikes had better brakes! We were running out of time at the end of the day to reach Mission Beach before sunset. Still, we had a great time crossed a stunning licuala palms forest and exploring this cassowary territory. We didn’t spot another elusive bird, but we knew they were around. Not only could we sometimes hear movement, but we could also see their excrements all over the path.
How to hire a bike in Mission Beach
You can hire a bike from Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxi (also Mission Beach Dive). They are located in Wongaling Beach, not far from the Big Cassowary. I could book the bikes over the phone. We paid $20 for each bike rental and could keep them for 24 hrs. It was very convenient as they accepted that we dropped the bikes after business hours.
Itinerary of our day cycling around Mission Beach
Here is an overview of where we went with our rental bikes in Mission Beach, following the recommendations from the bike hire shop.
Did you hire a bike in Mission Beach? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where to stay in Mission Beach
If you don’t have a car and your plan is to hire a bike in Mission Beach, I highly recommend staying in Wongaling Beach. You will be at walking distance from the bike hire shop.
If they still have availabilities, Mission Reef Resort* is lovely and ideally located. We stayed at the YHA (Scotty’s)* next door (see photos below) and really liked it. It is a quiet and clean backpacker with lovely vegetation, and they can even give you a ride to the bike hire shop if you don’t want to walk for 10 minutes.
We initially wanted to stay at Jackaroo Treehouse* as we read they had bikes. Their location a bit out of town next to a national park caught our attention. Unfortunately, they actually did not have bikes and we would have relied on bus transfers to explore the region, so we decided to change accommodation and chose a place closer to town.
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