Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Mission Beach was settled by pioneer farmers in the 1880’s, with the name deriving from an aboriginal mission established at South Mission Beach in 1912. The mission no longer operates and the farmers are being increasingly replaced by holiday and residential development, spreading 15 km from Bingal Bay in the north to South Mission Beach in the south. While the beaches are more than 16 km from the Bruce Highway and 20 km from Tully, the beautiful tropical beaches have long been popular for swimming and surfing. The original surf lifesaving club was founded at Bingal Bay in 1935 and, after some ups and downs, reformed at the present Mission Beach site in 1983.
Mission Beach (784) is 10 km long and faces essentially due east. Some coral reefs lie off the northern 3 km of beach, while Dunk Island, sighted and named by Captain Cook, lies 5 km offshore and dominates the horizon off the southern part of the beach. Three gentle undulations in the shoreline are produced by waves moving around both Duck Island and the reefs. The beach begins at Clump Point, where it is known as Mission Beach and backed by an extensive foreshore reserve and shopping centre. Two kilometres on it becomes Wongaling Beach, which is the site of the Mission Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The southern 3 km are known as South Mission Beach.
The long beach has three main access points - at Mission, Wongaling and South Mission Beaches. These are associated with shopping centres at Mission and Wongaling, and a wide range of tourist facilities at all three beaches. Most of the beach is backed by a foreshore reserve, that provides good access and shade under the trees.
The beach is somewhat sheltered by Dunk Island and reefs, which results in low waves usually less than 0.5 m. These interact with the generally fine to medium sand to produce a 50 m wide high tide beach, with a narrow surf and a 100 m wide, flatter low tide beach, and wider surf zone. Rips are usually weak or absent, however strong south-easterlies produce a northerly current along the beach. A strong northerly current also runs along the beach on outgoing spring tides.
This is a popular but rarely crowded beach, owing to its length. It is best to swim at the main access points at Mission Beach, near the stinger enclosure, at the surf lifesaving club at Wongaling Beach, and at the lifeguard controlled stinger enclosure at South Mission Beach.
Low, spilling waves dominate the entire beach, with larger waves during stronger south-easterlies.
Fishing is better at high tide because of the shallow beach and surf zone; otherwise by wading out onto the bar at low tide. The rocks at either end are also fronted by shallow water, so most fishers use the beach boat ramps at Mission and the southern end of South Mission Beaches to access the reefs.
A long beach providing a wide range of facilities, with generally good access, shady trees over the top of the beach, usually low waves and relatively safe swimming conditions.
- Formal parking area