We spent most of our time kayaking on the Cassowary Coast. It didn’t make sense for us to hire a car just to drive to Mission Beach and then park it for a week. Hence, for our first and last days in the region, we looked for things to do in Mission Beach without a car.
Driving from Cairns to Mission Beach, or from Townsville to Mission Beach, is the best way to explore the Cassowary Coast. However, it’s not always possible. Maybe you’re on a budget, you don’t have a driving license or you were unlucky with the car rental availabilities. We took a return bus from Cairns and had two days in Mission Beach without a car. We found many fun activities! Remember you can also find a taxi in Mission Beach, which can really help with one-way walks!
Also always ask your accommodation if they can arrange transfers. We stayed at Scotty’s Mission Beach YHA* and saved time thanks to their free transfers to the bus stop and the boat taxi.
The best thing to do in Mission Beach when you don’t have a car: hire a bike
I’ve got a full post about our hiring a bike to explore Mission Beach. Cycling is a great way to cover more ground when you don’t have a car. We biked from the rainforest to the beach, from the coast to Djiru National Park, and saw beautiful lookouts and even a cassowary.
Hike Bicton Hill
If you don’t have a car nor a bike, you can easily walk along the coast to reach the base of Bicton Hill. The walk starts about 4.5km north of Mission Beach. The main objective of this 4-kilometre circuit is to get views of the region and nearby islands. The walk in the rainforest is very pleasant and you can go for a swim right after finishing it as it starts and ends on the coast. You can even walk all the way to Bingil Bay from there, but it may be a bit long to then go back to Mission Beach – you may want to catch a cab to go back to Mission Beach.
Walk along the rainforest and the beach
If you don’t feel like hiking uphill, you can stick to the coast. Mission Beach beachfront is perfect for walking. Ulysses Link Walking Track (1.5 km) will take you to Clump Point. From Clump Point, you can continue on the Cutten Brothers Walking Track (
Explore Dunk Island: hiking or snorkelling
It’s easy to hop on a boat to reach Dunk Island; it’s only a 10-minute ride from Wongaling Beach. Mission Beach Water Taxi* will take you there for $50.
It takes about three hours to complete the 11-kilometre Island Circuit trail. From the summit of Mount Kootaloo, you will get fantastic views over the Family Islands.
If you don’t feel like walking, you can go snorkelling near the jetty or at Muggy Muggy Beach. You’ll see many fish and if you’re lucky you may even spot a turtle. We saw one there from our kayak when we came back from Hinchinbrook Island.
Skydiving in Mission Beach* is spectacular. It’s one of the highest skydiving opportunities you’ll find in Australia (up to 15,000 feet). The views from the scenic flight all the way to the beach landing are fantastic. They offer free pick up services from most Cairns and Mission Beach accommodation.
Kayaking was our main activity when we booked our holidays on the Cassowary Coast and the reason why we did not hire a car. You have different options and kinds of expeditions leaving from Mission Beach or Wongaling Beach. We chose to go on a multi-day kayak expedition from Hinchinbrook Island all the way back to Mission Beach. The multi-day trip around the Family Islands was tempting too.
But you can also stick to an easier trip and hire kayaks just for the day or even half a day.
Go snorkelling or scuba diving on the Outer Reef
If you wish to snorkel or dive on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, you can do it from Mission Beach! Cairns is the usual go-to destination to explore the Great Barrier Reef, but there are many other places in Australia that offer excellent trips to the Reef. We didn’t visit (yet!) the reefs near Mission Beach. If you went snorkelling or scuba diving on the Outer Reef from Mission Beach*, please leave a comment below to share your experience!
Have you been to Mission Beach? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Mission Beach?
Mission Beach is located about two hours south of Cairns and north of Townsville.