Mission Beach

Gonna drown my troubles in blue
Gonna drown my troubles in blue water
Pick out a sunny day
Drown my troubles in blue water

Blue Water – By George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon

They say George Strait (the King of Country) never sang a bad song. I’m inclined to agree. He has more Country Music Awards than any other musician and more No. 1 hits than any other artist in any music type. If you haven’t listened to his music give it a go. He is easy listenin’.

We arrived in Mission Beach on a rainy day but the water was still so clear and blue. The drive down from the Tablelands back through Millaa Millaa is steep and winds down through farmland ending some 95 kms later near Innisfail in sugarcane territory. The Tablelands is all dairying, fruit and vegetables. The coastal flatlands from Cairns south is sugarcane and bananas. Heavy blue and yellow plastic bags now adorn the banana palms to assist ripening. The ripened bananas are on display in many roadside stalls and very tasty. Also cheap, large and inviting. The local marketing effort on roadside signs extols the virtues of a banana a day. We have tried to heed the message and at around thirty cents each it is not too taxing. Queensland produces 365,000 tonnes of bananas. This pales a little compared to the world’s 113 million tonnes and India’s 29 million but it is a big deal in the Far North. Sugar cane is a similar story with around 1.9 billion tonnes produced worldwide of which Australia contributes about 4.5 million tonnes. Both bananas and sugar from Queensland are considered amongst the top quality worldwide. Not sure about the sugar (gave that up long ago when the waist started to expand) but Scout and I definitely vouch for the bananas.

Queensland sugar cane near Innisfail with new planting in the foreground

We stay at Mission Beach Hideaway Campground which is a fifty metre walk across the road to the park and a beautiful, long and flat beach. We have travelled a bit and an early morning stroll for a couple of kms along the beach at sunrise or sunset for that matter would be hard to beat anywhere. This really is where the rainforest meets the sea and coconut palms fringe the beach along with beach properties that hide in amongst the palms and exotic plants. The beach itself runs for 14kms but splits into Wongaling Beach in the middle and South Mission at the southern end. Mission Beach town where we stay is really the cafe, restaurant and touristy shopping precinct but there are campgrounds at both Wongaling and South Mission. Or there were. The Wongaling Beach campground is closed, fenced off and with a great big “In Receivership” sign plastered on the office wall. Covid? Unlikely as the tourist industry is booming. So the story is that a local developer bought the campground and the Dunk Island Resort, stuffed it up and owes plenty around the area. What seems to nark everyone though is that he hasn’t moved away and (according to them) walks brazenly around the town without a blush.

Walking Mission Beach

Interestingly Mission Beach is still recovering from a couple of cyclones which hit not too many years ago. Cyclone Yasi in 2011 destroyed a lot of infrastructure and houses and locals tell us that the area is only just recovering. It helps now that the tourist industry has taken off with internal travel only under Covid 19 and one shopkeeper did tell us this year is shaping up to be his best ever.

Mission Beach is one of Scouts favourite places in Australia. She can cycle, walk and generally get lost amongst the rainforest walks. She cycled the six kms to the stunning Bingil Bay and its cafe for coffee each morning. The water is warm and clear even if there is a frisson of excitement as you jump in to what maybe, possibly, could be croc territory. I don’t go in deeper or stay in longer than necessary. The fact that a crocodile has never attacked nor really been seen along the beach is not such a comfort. I reckon sharks are more likely to do you in. Confirmed by a local fisherman who said “You wouldn’t be in there if you saw what we see when out in the boat”. Anyway its hot enough to swim and 25C in the water so a little well calculated risk is worth it.

Celebrating a big birthday at the Noori Bar with a Pina Colada

We spent a day looking at real estate thinking that this could be it for the beach house. Prices are low with three bedroom two bath houses one street off the beach and with a view through the trees not much above $400K. Sanity prevailed when we thought about the history – cyclone prone, the cost at upward of $5,000 a year to insure and the fact for around 5-6 months of the year including summer you wouldn’t go there. Soaring summer temperatures, one hundred percent humidity and the possibility of your roof coming off every five years is a bit of a dampener. Oh. And you can’t swim in summer because of the Irakanji jellyfish (stingers). Lovely place to visit in winter though. Just having a cool beer and a glass a chilled wine at Noori Bar and Restaurant on the beach ($12 for both during happy hour) to confirm this. We will come back.

3 thoughts on “Mission Beach

  1. As Wilbur Smith said when describing Sascha Courtney swimming off the coast of South Africa “the chance of a shark attack was slim, but that mere chance spiced his enjoyment”.


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