Can you swim at Mission Beach?

With its palm-fringed beaches and lush tropical rainforests, Mission Beach is one of Queensland’s most gorgeous coastal towns. While it might be tempting to make a beeline for the sea or a tropical waterhole when you arrive, there are a few precautions to follow to stay swim-safe.

Is it safe to swim at Mission Beach?

The short answer is yes — as long as you swim in designated areas and obey safety signs. Always swim between the red and yellow flags at lifeguard-patrolled beaches, and never swim when beaches are unattended.

The safest spots to swim are near the surf lifesaving club at Wongaling Beach and the lifeguard-patrolled areas of North and South Mission Beach.

Between November and May, North Mission and South Mission Beach have special nets in the water to prevent jellyfish from entering. Where there are no nets, wear a full-length stinger suit to protect yourself.

Mission Beach is also part of croc country, so you must always obey crocodile safety signs.

When is stinger season at Mission Beach?

Stinger season is from November to May. There are five types of dangerous stingers to be aware of including the Irukandji and the lethal box jellyfish. Always swim in the stinger net enclosures during this period.

Where there are no nets, wear a stinger suit (a full-length Lycra wet suit) to protect yourself. It's also recommended to wear a stinger suit when swimming in netted areas, as Irukandji are sometimes small enough to slip through holes in the net. Stinger suits also double up as sun protection.

Are there crocodiles at Mission Beach?

Crocodiles live in the fresh and saltwater waterways of Far North Queensland, including the ocean, rivers, creeks, lagoons and waterholes.

They're less commonly spotted in Mission Beach than further north in places like Cairns, but it's very important to be croc-wise nonetheless. Sightings are more common during the breeding season from September to April.

As a general rule of thumb, avoid swimming between dusk and dawn as this is when crocs are most active. Take extra caution during and after high tides and heavy rains as crocs may use the higher water levels to explore new territory.

If you’re not sure whether a lagoon, creek or waterhole is croc-free, it’s best to assume it isn’t and head to a swimming pool instead.

Croc-safety tips

  • Always observe the yellow warning signs at the beach, rivers and waterholes
  • Stay out of the ocean or waterways from dusk until dawn

  • Stay at least 3ft from the water’s edge

  • Throw all food scraps in the bin or take them home

  • Swim in a swimming pool if you're unsure

Still want to learn about Mission Beach? Return to Mission Beach FAQs

Our Mission Beach tours