Mission Beach, North Qld.

On the way from Abergowrie State Forest  to Mission Beach the highway has ‘possum crossings’ set up, and signs to ‘cyclone shelters’ at each town (not necessarily for the possums). We stopped in Cardwell for one of their ‘famous Crab Sandwiches’ and they were seriously good, filled with fresh crab. From Cardwell the view across to beautiful Hinchinbrook Island was amazing. Lots of signs along the beach saying this area is crocodile habitat, so no swimming here.

We stayed at the ‘Top Tourist’ caravan park in Mission Beach, right alongside the rainforest and across the road from the beach. (Being a member gives quite good discounts.) Once the rain set in we put up our annex for extra indoor space. One of the local towns, El Arish, has a fabulous butcher who uses local angus organic beef, lamb and pork. He makes all his own sausages too. The butcher shop has been there since the early 1950s, if you visit this area, go get some of his meat, its seriously good. We had slow cooked lamb shanks for dinner with lots of locally grown veg, super yum (cooked in our Baby Q)

The town of Mission Beach has a friendly small village atmosphere, very relaxed. The beach has a netted swimming area against stingers, no sign of crocodiles around here.  Apparently the fishing is good too.

This is Australia’s largest banana growing region. We drove for kilometres with banana plantations on both sides of the road. Lots of signs warning against going onto Banana farms due to a deadly soil disease affecting the area. Workers  had to leave their cars outside the farms, and some farms had been ‘shut down in quarantine’.

Away from the banana plantations are plenty of  road side stalls selling local produce; paw paws, citrus, custard apples, passionfruit, avocados etc etc, and bananas of course. We stopped at each one and bought lots of fruit and veg.

This is also Cassowary country. We didnt see one, but there are multiple signs on every road.

We visited Tully Gorge. If you’re into  white water rafting then this is the place to go.  It is one of Australia’s premier white water rivers due to being a hydro release river. When the hydro power station releases water into the Tully River, the water level increases from knee deep to shoulder deep in 5 minutes. Plenty of signs around to warn about that. The commercial rafting companies use the release schedule to their benefit. There are ‘put in’ points all along the river, where the rafts can be ‘put into the water’ on pully systems from the road above, they are also used for rescues. We didn’t see any rafters, but the rescue teams were out and about. (more info here)

Murray Falls is another place to visit. There is a beautiful big swimming hole and it has a fabulous  camping area.

Djiru National Park and Luciana State Forest are very close to Mission Beach and have short to medium length rainforest walks (take a good supply of Aeroguard).

And now we head north, making a stop at some castle ruins on our way to Cairns.

cheers Helen and Tim