If you're travelling interstate or from overseas, the easiest option is to fly to Cairns — there are daily flights to Cairns from most major Australian cities, as well as a handful of international destinations. You could also fly to Townsville, although you might find there are more flight options into Cairns.
If you're not pushed for time or prefer slower travel, you could also take a coach or train.
Cairns Airport is the biggest in Far North Queensland. There are daily flights into Cairns from Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and several other cities in Australia. You can also fly to Cairns from Tokyo, Bali, Auckland, Osaka, Singapore and Port Moresby.
Townsville Airport is smaller and services domestic destinations only, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and Gold Coast.
From Cairns or Townsville airports, you can rent a car or hop on a bus to Mission Beach (more on that shortly).
Mission Beach is a 2-hour drive south of Cairns and a 3-hour drive north of Townsville via the Bruce Highway. The drive takes you past sugarcane plantations and lush rainforests and is one of the best ways to see Far North Queensland's tropical scenery. It gets particularly beautiful when you reach the Cassowary Coast. Plus, there are loads of places to stop and break up the journey, like Behana Gorge, Josephine Falls, Eubenangee Swamp and Bingil Bay.
Take extra caution when driving between dusk and dawn as this is when animals are most active.
Below are the average driving times to Mission Beach:
- From Cairns - 2 hours
- From Townsville - 3 hours
- From Airlie Beach - 6 hours
- From Brisbane - 18 hours
- From Byron Bay - 19 hours
- From Sydney - 25 hours
If you don’t have a car or don't fancy driving, you can take a coach to Mission Beach with Greyhound or Premier. Pick-ups and drop-offs are at the coach terminal near Mission Beach Resort at Wongaling Beach.
There are two daily northbound and southbound services. You can buy a single, return or hop-on-hop-off ticket — the latter option may be better if you’re doing an extended trip along the East Coast.
A one-way ticket from Cairns to Mission Beach costs AUD $21-41, while a one-way from Townsville costs around $60.
If you’re coming from Cairns, you could use the Mission Link shuttle which operates from Monday to Friday. A one-way fare costs $30-60 and must be booked in advance either online or over the phone.
There are no direct trains to Mission Beach, but you can take the Spirit of Queensland's Cairns to Brisbane train via Tully (22km west of Mission Beach). The service runs five times per week, stopping at most towns and cities along the East Coast.
From Tully, you can get a Greyhound bus to Mission Beach, jump in a taxi or rideshare, or organise a private transfer.
Getting around Mission Beach
The four main villages of Mission Beach — Bingil Bay, Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach and South Mission Beach — are spread over 14km of coastline. As there's no public transport, the best way to get around is with a car. If you don't have a car, you may struggle to get from A to B.
Join a Mission Beach tour
Don't fancy driving? Or would you rather sit back and take it all in? Join us on a small group adventure along Queensland's sun-kissed East Coast to explore Mission Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and so much more.