With brochures advertising Mission Beach as ‘…where the rainforest meets the sea’ and ‘low-key’, we felt that this place may have something to offer us and so decided to spend 2 nights there on our way to Cairns. Again, we stayed in the YHA which is located outside of town with the nearest shop being 2km away. The hostel is set in the treetops of the rainforest itself and is very aptly named ‘Tree House’. After enjoying Magnetic Island so much, we expected it to be fairly similar. The hostel itself was almost deserted with only a handful of guests, including ourselves, which gave it a very peaceful vibe, but also an eerie one too. It had large communal areas which we made full use of for cooking, reading and working in the evening after our days out.
We spent a full day checking out Mission Beach area. It didn’t take long to check out the town – just a small selection of cafes and shops, with every other one displaying a ‘business for sale’ sign in the window. This had been an observation all the way up the East Coast from Sydney. I later asked our hostel owner why all the businesses were for sale, he answered simply ‘Cos they’re all worn out’. When I prompted him if it had been a bad season (I think I already knew the answer), he said ‘bad’ didn’t describe it – it had been the worst season in 20 years because ‘the English aren’t coming’. I started to try to explain that the pound was considerably poor against the Australian dollar currently and that we were also struggling to stay on budget during our travels in Oz, but it fell on deaf ears. He ended the conversation by saying that his place (i.e. the YHA) was also up for sale, and had been for the last 6 months.
Back to Mission Beach. We strolled some 6km or more around the area, walking along the beach and through the rainforest. Yes indeed, the rainforest does meet the ocean, and it’s very pretty, but it still felt that it was just another ‘nice’ beach like most of the others along the East Coast. I thought of the lovely beaches back home in Cornwall and Devon areas and how they too were on a par with most of the East Coast. Just a shame that we don’t have the sunshine all year round in the UK...
Cassowary in the grounds of the YHA Tree House, Mission Beach, Queensland, AustraliaSomething new that we did experience in Mission Beach was spotting a wild cassowary. Previously we had only seen one of these in the Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur, so it was lovely to see a wild one. You will just however have to trust me that we saw it though, because the camera decided to play up so we only got an out of focus picture of it unfortunately. Ho hum. I wish too I had caught the look on Mark’s face on camera when, having got as close to the emu-lookalike bird as we could without frightening it, it suddenly turned to face him as if it was about to go for him and peck him! So funny.
All in all, we did have the perfect time in Mission Beach during our short stay. It had everything from beaches and cafes to rainforest walks and cassowaries. The Tree House was a peaceful retreat, which I’d recommend to anyone looking to get away from it all.