Mission Beach and Dunk Island – beautiful victims of cyclone Yasi

Mission Beach and Dunk Island

We heard about Mission Beach and Dunk Island as popular tourist destinations. Also, it was a town where the Sea Patrol series (2007-2011) was shot, so we decided to pay a visit and stay there a few days. 

There are three main parts of Mission Beach: Mission Beach itself, Wongaling Beach, and South Mission Beach. 

BIG4 Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park

We stayed in South Mission Beach at BIG4 Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park. They have a big swimming pool with a water slide as well as a coconut cafe, shady playground, games room, and tennis court. The caravan park is located ashore in front of Duck Island.

Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park
Beachcomber Coconut Holiday Park – we splashed and swam all the time – it was to hot and humid

All three days we stayed, it was very quiet as it was an off-peak season. 

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The weather in Mission Beach was very humid and we were sweating badly. I even compared it to Karumba at the Arafura Sea. So, we splashed at least 5 times per day in the pool.

In terms of walking, there are three walks to hike: Lacey’s Creek Walk, Bicton Hill Walk, Ulysses Link, and the Cutten Brothers Walks and Musgravea Track.

Lacey’s Creek Rainforest Walk

It was very hot and humid so we only decided to go for a small Lacey’s Creek Rainforest Walk. During the walk, we learn a lot about the tropical rainforest.

For example, this area receives about 2000 mm of rain during the year. Because it is a very flat place, the water can pool on the rainforest floor for many months.

Our favourite, fan palms are great absorbers of sunlight. Their circular, splayed, 2 meters fronds, reach 20 meters into the canopy to capture the sunlight that is essential for their successful growth.

Fan Palms
Fan Palm

On the contrary, pandanus plants are root climbers. They grow anchoring roots from their stems whenever they touch another plant.

Pandanus Plants
Pandanus Plants

And finally, baskets and birds nest ferns can grow high up in the trunk collecting the water by trapping the falling water.

Basket and Birds Nest Ferns are common in Mission Beach
Basket and Birds Nest Ferns are common in Mission Beach

This and other things we were reading about while walking from label to label. We were happy that Nell was also involved and she was asking many questions.

Cyclone Yasi – category 5 destroyer

Sadly, in the past, in February 2011, Mission Beach was hit badly by Cyclone Yasi, a category 5 tropical cyclone, that destroyed immensely this beautiful holiday town. The wind gusts were 285 km/h with the range between Cairns and Ingham.

Interestingly, Cyclone Yasi was so strong that it went inland very deep, and it only dissipated into a tropical low near Mount Isa.

It was years until Mission Beach recovered to its present look.

Dunk Island and Family Islands National Park

Dunk Island is located in front of South Mission Beach and it covers an area of 1000 ha. 75 % of the island is covered by Family Islands National Park.

Dunk Islands is hilly with a jagged and lofty profile similar to Hinchinbrook Island. Most of the island is covered with dense rainforest and, in the lower, drier parts, eucalypt forest and palms.

Dunk Island from distance

It is possible to visit Dunk Island by Mission Beach Water Taxi that costs $50 for a return ticket. The island has a campground that has 8 sites and the permit can be arranged through Mission Beach Water Taxi.

The best way to explore the island is by hiking the Island Circuit that gives you panoramic views over the Family Islands.

There are a few important things to know before visiting Dunk Island:

  • pets are not allowed
  • fires are prohibited
  • stay of walking tracks for your safety
  • beware of stingers
  • beware of cyclones between November and April

Much of the vegetation of Dunk Island was destroyed by cyclone Yasi in 2011, and until these days Dunk Island still did not fully recover.

Dunk Island has a blue Ulysses as the iconic symbol of the island. We didn’t see it but instead, we came across this beauty – Blue Triangle.

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