Just 10 minutes drive up the road, or 20 minutes by bike on the sealed bike track, is the main village of Mission Beach, known locally as North Mission, with its many shops, restaurants and cafes, and a small supermarket.
There is a wide selection of accommodation from caravan parks to resorts. Take your time to stroll around the shops and along the beach, maybe stop at the Beach Hut where there is a stinger net which is patrolled at various times during the season.
The Mission Beach Visitor Information Centre is further up Porter Promenade where you can book tours and accommodation. The Ulysses Walk tracks the beach from North Mission to meet up with The Cutten Brothers walk.
The Clump Point boat ramp, is a sharp right turn (near the Eco Village Resort), from where local boaties and charter operators head to the reef, coral cays or nearby tropical islands. The Family Islands National Park is a group of Isands between Tully Heads and Mission Beach.
Wheeler (Toolgbar), Coombe, Bedarra, Smith (Kurrumbah), Bowden (Budg-Joo), Hudson (Coolah), Mung-um-gnackum, Kumboola and Mound (Purtaboi) islands are also part of the Family Islands National Park. Commercial operators provide cruises around these scenic islands which can also be accessed by sea kayak or private boat. Kayaking is a popular way of exploring the islands as they are close to the mainland.
Bush camping is available in the National Park grounds at Coombe and Wheeler islands, and Dunk Island’s campground has recently been rebuilt to offer sunrise and sunset camp sites right on the beach.
Dunk Island, 4.5km east of Mission Beach, is the largest and most northerly of the group and can be accessed in just 10 minutes on a water taxi.
The islands gentle slopes are good for bush walking and offer great views of the Great Barrier Reef and its islands. Muggy Muggy Beach is a 3km return walk through rainforest, coastal woodland and mangroves. Stop for a snorkel straight off the beach.
Dunk Island’s Mount Kootaloo is more strenuous with a steep track to the 271m summit, but the 7km return walk only takes three hours and has spectacular views. Near the lookout are the remains of a World War 2 radar station which is slowly being reclaimed by the rainforest. Continue onto the Island Circuit Track which is about 9km long.
More than 100 species of birds have been recorded on Dunk Island, including the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardt). It is the smallest of the megapodes in Australia and builds the largest incubation mound, up to 3m high and 7m wide.
Back on land and heading north you’ll also pass the new Clump Point Jetty where you can stop and fish off this structure. The short 10 minute drive to Bingil Bay is an iconic coastal drive where the Wet Tropics rainforest of the Djiru National Park literally meets the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Along the way is the Clump Mountain National Park. The circuit walk to the top of Bicton Hill at Bingil Bay (3.9km, 1.5-2 hours return) offers views of the Barnard Islands and across to Dunk and Hinchinbrook islands. The area is home to lace monitors and nocturnal striped possums.