Cassowary Coast

At the heart of the Great Green Way lies beautiful Mission Beach, a natural mid way point between Townsville and Cairns. Mission Beach is made up of four beach villages linked by 14 kilometres of wide golden beach, a perfect base to relax and explore this unspoilt natural environment. A blend of sophisticated eateries, boutiques and art galleries nestle against lush tropical rainforest; Mission Beach reminds us of how beautiful little beachside towns can be, blending vibrant art and culture with unique tourism attractions.

South Mission Beach has glorious views across to Dunk Island, Bedarra, the Family Group and the largest national park island in Australia, Hinchinbrook Island.

Drive ten minutes north to Wongaling Beach for shopping facilities and the water taxi to Dunk Island, also a national park, is four kilometres offshore. The Dunk Island Resort was very badly damaged by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011, but day trippers are welcome, and bushwalkers can spend the day exploring the different trails around the island. For your own offshore adventure, Mission Beach Charters can arrange tropical island picnics, snorkelling tours and island transfers for small groups, families or couples.

North of Wongaling Beach is the laid back village of Mission Beach with a surprising range of gourmet restaurants and galleries. Here also, the serious adrenalin junkie can also get a fix with skydiving, white water rafting, kayaking and blo-karting to set hearts racing.

Taking the beach road toward Bingil Bay, the Wet Tropics Visitor Information Centre is situated next door to the Cassowary Conservation Centre. The Visitor Centre is open seven days, staffed by local volunteers, where all information needed to make the right choices for an outstanding holiday experience can be found: maps, rainforest walking trails, advice on where to find crystal clear swimming holes or shady picnic spots.  Bingil Bay, the last beach of Mission Beach is a haven for artists, writers and musicians.

However Mission Beach is much more than beaches, sea views and unique village atmosphere it also has some of the most beautiful rainforest walks in Tropical North Queensland. This rare lowland mesophyll rainforest is the habitat to 60 percent of Australia butterflies, over 200 bird species and 52 mammals. It is possible to encounter the endangered cassowary, Australia's largest bird on a rainforest pathway. The giant white lipped tree frog (one of the largest frogs in the world) is also a local inhabitant.  A map detailing the rainforest walks can be obtained at the Visitor Information Centre.

The Children's Walk at the Licuala Fan Palm State Forest takes twenty minutes. Children can walk in the 'footsteps' of the cassowary and discover a replica nest with cassowary eggs at the end of the trail. A longer walk is also available in the giant fan palm forest of Licuala State Forest.

Lacey's Creek has boardwalk access and a platform over the creek to view fish and turtles and butterfies, and takes less than an hour to complete.

The Bicton Hill National Park at Bingil Bay has glorious views to the Barnard Island to the north, across to the islands of Dunk, Bedarra, the Family Group and Hinchinbrook. Allow three hours for this moderately challenging climb.

One of the best aspects of the area is its relaxed lifestyle where farming and fishing are still the way of life; where a yarn with a local in an old Queensland pub is entertaining, and where the freshest tropical fruits and seafood are a normal everyday luxury.

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