Mission Beach, QLD - The perfect 40th
Updated: Dec 10, 2022
Located just 90 minutes south of Cairns, and set within the luscious Tropical North Queensland, is a little known seaside town of Mission Beach. With high mountains covered with vibrant green rainforest as a backdrop, one could think they had been transplanted to Hawaii - except replace surfing waves with crocodiles and killer box jellyfish!
Having lived in Cairns previously, I am biased when I say that the region north of the Cardwell Ranges is the most beautiful part of Australia. But it truely is. Highlands and outback to the west, the oldest rainforest to the north, Great Barrier Reef to the East and the Cassowary Coast in the South. The diversity is unbeatable and one could spend several lifetimes exploring the region and not get bored. For my 40th, I decided to spend a few days exploring Mission Beach, located on the Cassowary Coast.
After a quick 3hr journey from Darwin, Alicia and I rented a car from East Coast Rentals and cruised south out of the bustling tourist town of Cairns. Seeking a quiet retreat from corporate life, we decided to stay at Eco Village in Mission Beach. We stayed in one of 17 private bungalows and saw very few people during our entire stay. The property has a pool and private rocky beach and the whole area was well manicured with tropical flora which helped remind us that we were truly on holiday, away from the harsh climate of the Northern Territory's Top End.
The main activity that we wanted to do on this trip was exploring the number of nature walks in the region. This almost ended in disaster.
The first walk was up to the Bicton Hill lookout. The parking area is located 3.4km north of Eco Village and starts out with a steep set of stairs before the gradient levels out to a gradual incline to the lookout point. The walk is a 4.0km loop under the shade of the rainforest canopy, which made it a comfortable experience despite the cloud free day in late November. With big smiles on our face and high fives and fist pumps at the summit, we started the easy meander down when CRUNCH, a loss of balance and bolt of pain shot up from my ankle up through my leg.
Is this 40? Where day to day activities, such as walking, can be abruptly interrupted by a twig? Will I be typing an email one day and BAM! dislocated finger?
After some grimacing and encouraging words from Alicia, such as '...welcome to being 40, this is every day of your life now...' I managed to slowly limp back to the more supportive rental car offering driver assist and comforting music.
With a few more days left in our adventure holiday, I was worried that we would be stuck driving around looking at the passing trees and searching for the elusive cassowary. However, after consuming some local medicines made of hops, barley and grapes, coupled with bright blue sports tape, my ankle warmed up ready for our next trek - the Kennedy Trail to Turtle Bay.
Starting out at the boat ramp in South Mission Beach, we headed out on the 8km return hike. The track started out easy, with a well maintained boardwalk leading to Lovers Beach after just a short 300m. From there we passed over a combination of dirt tracks, stairs, beach, and a wooden bridge to Morgans Lookout before finally resting at Turtle Bay.
This was one of the most beautiful walks I've done in the Tropical North, characterised by the changing terrain and coastal views. Come to think of it, it reminded me much like a mini taste of the Hinchinbrook Trail (Thornsborne Trail) which we did back in 2014. This was one of my favourite overnight hikes I've ever done, if you have a chance to do it, make sure you take the opportunity!
Alicia and I spent the rest of the trip relaxing and enjoying the serenity. Once again, this quick action packed holiday reminded me why I love this region. It is a place I will always go back to.