German-born author, illustrator and mother-of-four, Eva Welsh, moved to Mission Beach in North Queensland 16 years ago. Located between Townsville and Cairns, Mission Beach is surrounded by rainforest and made up of four villages linked by 14km of beaches. Daily wildlife sightings inspired Eva to write several children’s books, including Cassy’s Tale, Where is Croaky? and Nipper the Crocodile. She shares what she loves about the area with Out & About with Kids.
Why did you move to Mission Beach?
I love the tropics and the lifestyle. I was living in Western Australia after I emigrated in 1989. I like Mission Beach because it’s smaller than Cairns. I’m not a city person, I’m more of a nature person. It’s a nice place for kids to grow up.
What do you love about the area?
Warm weather, beautiful scenery and a slower pace of life.
How has Mission Beach inspired your children’s books?
The wildlife of Mission Beach, and the beauty of their habitats, inspired me to illustrate and write about them.
What kind of animals do you see in the area?
Cassowaries, crocodiles, goannas, kookaburras, flying foxes, sea eagles, bush stone curlews, parrots, cockatoos, wallabies, snakes … the list goes on.
How often do you see cassowaries?
I could see them daily if I wanted to. I used to live in South Mission Beach and they came from the rainforest down to my house every day. When I drive to Tully I see them quite a lot on the side of the road.
Where are the best places to try to spot them?
In, or near, the rainforest.
What are your favourite things to do as a family in Mission Beach?
Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, walking through the rainforest and picnics at the beach.
Where do you always take tourists when they visit?
I take them to our many local, tropical, walking tracks, such as the Licuala Fan Palm Walk, Lacey Creek Circuit or the Cutten Brothers Walk near the jetty. We would also do a boat trip on the Coral Sea to picnic on an island and go snorkelling, as Mission Beach is close to the reef. And, in winter, I take them to our local river, the Hull River, at low tide for crocodile spotting. When it’s sunny the crocs sit on the bank.
What are your favourite family-friendly restaurants in Mission Beach?
I feel all restaurants are great, depending on what you prefer. The diversity is great. Peppervine and The Garage are good for families. Mission Beach Resort has a play area for kids, while Castaways Resort has beautiful views of palm trees and the beach.
Where are the best places to go on day trips from Mission Beach?
I recommend Etty Bay, about 40 minutes’ drive north, where cassowaries walk down to the beach daily. Also, the Atherton Tablelands has many amazing little towns, walking tracks and waterfalls such as Murray Falls, where you can camp, go swimming and slide down rocks into the water.
Why should families come on a holiday to Mission Beach?
To experience what life is really about. For me, it’s the love for the wildlife and nature.