Rainforest hut with al-fresco ensuite.

The beautiful Sanctuary Restaurant and Bar

Deluxe Canopy Cabins in the rainforest

Avg 25 degrees top daytime temp in winter!

Mission Beach in tropical north Queensland

Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodation

Are the rooms air-conditioned?

No, but you won´t really need it. Sanctuary is located about 100 metres above sea level which whilst not that high, is enough to provide a cooling airflow that passes beneath the forest canopy and travels up the hill. All the huts and cabins are designed to maximise cross-ventilation airflow and are fitted with ceiling fans to keep the breezes circulating.

Are there family rooms?

Not really. For families with children over the age of 11, there are several options for your stay. We have a Twin and Double Rainforest Hut that are linked by an elevated boardwalk, which is very popular. Alternatively, a Deluxe Canopy Cabin with 3 single beds might suit or simply making your own combination of multiple huts and cabins.

Are there lights and power points in the rooms?

There are lights in all the accommodation, but only the Canopy Cabins have power points. Guests housed in the Rainforest Huts are welcome use the power points in the Longhouse for recharging appliances.

Can I drive my car to my room?

No. The carpark is located 600 metres away from the accommodation and Reception. On check-in and check-out we´ll transport you and your luggage in our 4WD to Reception and vice-versa. At other times, the forest walk will take you to and from your car. It takes about 10 minutes.

If you require transport to or from the car park during your stay other than checking in or out, a nominal charge of $5.50 per trip is levied to cover costs. Available during reception hours, please ask in advance.

Do I get an ocean view from my room?

You get beautiful rainforest views! All the huts and cabins are in the heart of the rainforest and even though high up on a hill, the canopy is usually too dense for a view to the sea, though some of the Deluxe Cabins have ocean glimpses. A stunning view of the Coral Sea over the rainforest canopy is from the Longhouse deck where we recommend relaxing at a table with a coffee and muffin at any time of the day.

Do the cabins have baths or spas?

The cabins do not have baths or spas, but have lovely showers with big glass windows looking out onto the rainforest.

Is all linen and towels provided?

All linen is provided at Sanctuary.

Is there a fridge and mini bar in the room, what about tea making facilities?

DELUXE CANOPY CABINS – The fridge is stocked with a range of beer, wine and snacks. The mini bar can be re-stocked to your taste at anytime by a visit to the bar.
There are tea making facilities in the cabins, stocked with tea, coffee and herbal teas, fresh milk is available on request.

RAINFOREST HUTS – There are no fridges or tea and coffee making facilities in the Rainforest Huts at Sanctuary. There are communal fridges for guest food and all necessary equipment for cooking and hot drinks located in the self-catering kitchen on the lower floor of the Longhouse. We encourage guests to refrain from keeping any food in their rooms as the nocturnal forest dwellers love nothing more than a midnight feast and will eat through most things (including hut walls and rucksacks) to get one! Without food as a temptation of course, they have no intention of sharing your room.
The self-catering kitchen fridges may be used to store your alcoholic beverages, for consumption in your hut. The Sanctuary Longhouse is a licensed premises, so it is not permitted to consume your own alcoholic beverages anywhere in the Longhouse itself.

Is there a TV at Sanctuary? What about Hairdryers?

Hairdryers are not provided though there are plenty of power points in the bathrooms if you want to bring your own. There is no television at Sanctuary (apart from the odd occasion of a World Cup and under some pretty serious duress) and generally guests appreciate the chance to unwind and get away from the rest of the world for a bit. Come and rediscover the art of conversation! Luxuriate in the opportunity to curl up on the sofa and read a book in peace for once, or if you really do crave excitement, we have a solid collection of board games to tax the intellect and feed the competitive spirit (no Twister though – it´s banned).

Is there any camping?

There is no camping at Sanctuary.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Some things that would be good to keep in mind are:
Shoes or boots for walking
Sanctuary is in the middle of 50 acres of hilly rainforest and there are a couple of kilometres of walking trails through the forest to explore. The Sanctuary 4WD will pick up and return you and your luggage from the carpark or bus stop. At other times there is a beautiful 600m walk through the rainforest to the carpark and beach.

Towels
All linen is provided at Sanctuary.

A torch
The paths leading to the accommodation are lit at night but it is low-level lighting only so a small hand-held torch is required. Also handy for a bit of night wildlife spotting or a moonlit beach visit.

What’s the difference between the Rainforest Huts and the Canopy Cabins ?

The Rainforest Huts offer a close experience of nature. Built on stilts in the heart of the forest, with a boardwalk seating area, they are simple yet comfortable, with a bed(s), light, ceiling fan, screened walls and weather-proof curtains. These have shared showers and toilets in the Longhouse between 10 and 70 metres away.

The Canopy Cabins are a more deluxe experience. Again on stilts, but with solid walls and glass, they have queen beds in the studio style bedroom and lounge, polished wooden floors and hand-crafted furniture, with mini bar and tea making facilities for your comfort. The en-suite has a stunning view from the shower, with the exterior wall made from clear glass. A private veranadah has a table and chairs looking out to the forest.

Why don’t you accept small children?

Sanctuary regrets that we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 11 due to the steep naturally occurring terrain and an unfenced swimming pool. Intending guests will gain the most from Sanctuary if they have a reasonable level of physical fitness.

Activities at Sanctuary and the local area

Are Yoga classes available?

Yoga Classes will be scheduled if there are 4 or more interested guests, there is a board where you can sign your name, so please let us know if you are interested. Cost is $15.00 for a 1 1/2 hour class.Private Yoga classes are available at $75.00 per hour and a range of yoga classes are available in the town of Mission Beach.

Can I go diving or snorkelling on the Barrier Reef from Sanctuary? How do I get there?

Yes, Mission Beach is one of the closest mainland points to the Great Barrier Reef, just over an hours boat ride away. There are a number of operators in Mission Beach and we can advise you on the trip most appropriate for your requirements and help with booking and transport if required.

Can I make a day trip to the Atherton tablelands or Cairns from Mission Beach?

It takes approximately 1 hr 45 mins from Sanctuary to reach the stunning Millaa Millaa falls to begin a tour of the highlights of the Atherton tablelands. You could pass through the towns of Malanda and Atherton and continue on towards the historical, picturesque town of Yungaburra. Around this area you can visit the curtain fig tree and the crater lakes of Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham.

Many people enjoy a day spent driving around the tablelands and taking in the highlights and the amazing scenery – if you do not have a car, or do not enjoy driving, then this day is not for you. There are many BampBs on the tablelands and some limited public transport to the Tablelands from Cairns.

It takes about 2 hours to get to Cairns from Sanctuary, with the surrounding activities scattered over a wide area, we’d recommend staying at Sanctuary and enjoying the scenery. We recommend making time in your itinerary to stay in Cairns after you leave Sanctuary. We will be happy to help you book your Cairns accommodation during your stay. However, if you just have a couple of things you would like to do in Cairns and would prefer to stay at Sanctuary, then yes it is possible.

How far is the beach?

The beautiful Brook’s beach is located 100m from the carpark and 700m from the accommodation. Roughly a 10 minute walk down through the forest trail from your hut or cabin.

Is Sanctuary a National Park?

No, Sanctuary is privately owned. However, of the 50 acres of rainforest, over 95% has been dedicated in perpetuity to Cassowary habitat and rainforest conservation. By staying at Sanctuary, guests are able to make a positive contribution to habitat preservation as well as experience a rare insight into the ecology of tropical rainforests.

Is there a pool?

Sanctuary has a beautiful pool nestled in the rainforest which offers sun and shade options almost all day.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Some things that would be good to keep in mind are:
Shoes or boots for walking
Sanctuary is in the middle of 50 acres of hilly rainforest and there are a couple of kilometres of walking trails through the forest to explore. The Sanctuary 4WD will pick up and return you and your luggage from the carpark or bus stop. At other times there is a beautiful 600m walk through the rainforest to the carpark and beach.

Towels
All linen is provided at Sanctuary.

A torch
The paths leading to the accommodation are lit at night but it is low-level lighting only so a small hand-held torch is required. Also handy for a bit of night wildlife spotting or a moonlit beach visit.

What can I do there?

At Sanctuary you can do as much or as little as you please. There are excellent local bush and beach walks. There are beautiful beaches for swimming or you might prefer to just lounge by the pool or in a hammock and read that book you’ve been meaning to get round to for months. Yoga classes at least twice a week and a range of relaxing massages are available. The Sanctuary reception and tour desk can also organise and advise you on any of the local tours and activities.

Dare the Dark, the Sanctuary guided Night Walk is a unique way to experience the rainforest and those creatures that you hear but rarely see. Book on the day before 5.00 pm. Walks require a minimum number of participants to run, so to speak.

Yoga Classes will be scheduled if there are 4 or more interested guests, there is a board where you can sign your name, so please let us know if you are interested. Private Yoga classes are available.

The Sanctuary Massage Therapists provide a range of relaxing Massages from Swedish to Deep Tissue. See reception on arrival to make your appointment.

Or simply lounge by the pool, snooze in a hammock or enjoy the secluded Brookes Beach via the beautiful rainforest walk!

Walks – There are many beautiful walks and National Park trails in the area. Walking track maps of the whole Mission Beach area are available at reception for 40c, while the Getting Around in Mission Beach information displayed near the entrance explains all of the walks close to Sanctuary.

Snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef is just over an hours boat ride away. There are a number of operators in Mission Beach and we can advise you on the trip most appropriate for your requirements and help with booking and transport if required.

White Water Rafting on the grade 4 Tully River is a refreshing and exciting way to see the stunning Tully Gorge. There are two tour operators, though we definitely have a favourite!

Sea Kayaking is a great way to visit Dunk Island. Enjoy an hour and a half paddle, snorkel and picnic on the island’s quiet Coconut Beach, then allow one of the friendly guides to take you on an interpretive walk through the rainforest before you paddle back.

Visit Dunk Island, a National Park with island style coves and bays, fringing reef and walking trails, just 3 kms from Mission Beach. The Water Taxi makes regular crossings to Dunk Island. It leaves from Wongaling Beach at 9.30am, 11am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4.15pm. It is advisable to book as the boat seats about twenty people and takes only ten minutes to cross to Dunk Island. Returns leave at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 3.30pm and 4.45pm.

Sky Dive and land on the beach. Experience free-fall and parachuting with stunning ocean and beach views, spot turtles and jumping fish and rays. Again we definitely have a favourite operator.

Crocodile Spotting, a true Australian style trip. Take a boat up the Hull river from sunset, enjoy a light bbq meal on the boat while spotting crocodiles and other creatures of the night.

Fishing trips, a range of ocean and river trips are available in the surrounding areas of beauty. Full equipment and helpful hints are provided.

What walks are there around the area?

For walkers there are a number of beautiful National Park trails in the area, featuring different types of rainforest and beach trails.

One walk starting at South Mission is called the Kennedy Track, which features secluded beaches, coastal views and lowland rainforest. You can pick up a map of walking tracks from reception.

From the closest beach to Sanctuary (Brooks Beach), you can follow the beach to the far end and take a short rainforest track across to Bingil Bay, at the end of that beach it will take you to the entrance of Clump Mountain National Park. The lovely, very scenic rainforest walk up Bicton Hill, begins here and takes you to the lookout over the coast of Mission Beach and the surrounding islands. This trail climbs up a hill but the track meanders making it quite gentle. The rainforest trails within the Sanctuary nature reserve are relatively shorter and steeper.

Dunk Island (a short distance off shore) is a worthy day trip with great walking trails, views along the coastline and secluded beaches and coves.

Facilities

Are there many mosquitoes or flies?

Fortunately, Sanctuary’s location high on a ridge provides a relatively safe haven from mosquitoes who generally prefer low-lands close to water.

We usually experience most of the year completely mosquito free starting in winter around June.

The weather patterns determine the number of mosquitoes and they prefer a certain balance of rain and sunshine to breed, so prime mosquito times can be any periods between January and May. We find that most of our guests are not inconvenienced unduly and our small on site shop stocks plenty of insect repellent (the traditional and the DEET free) and other medical supplies if you do suffer from bites.

Later in the year, somewhere from September to November, again dependant on weather conditions, March Flies may be prevalent – but only for a few weeks. These are annoying but extremely easy to swot!

Are Yoga classes available?

Yoga Classes will be scheduled if there are 4 or more interested guests, there is a board where you can sign your name, so please let us know if you are interested. Cost is $15.00 for a 1 1/2 hour class.Private Yoga classes are available at $75.00 per hour and a range of yoga classes are available in the town of Mission Beach.

I need to keep in touch. Is there WiFi, payphone and mobile telephone reception?

There is WiFi Internet available (yes, finally we have got broadband in the rainforest) in the main building and in-room for the Canopy Cabins and the Rainforest Huts with alfresco ensuites and some of the rainforest huts with shared bathrooms. Complete mobile G3 (cellular) phone coverage for those on the Telstra and Optus networks,  others still have limited reception.

We do, however, politely ask that guests refrain from using mobile telephones in the Longhouse and by the pool to retain the tranquillity of Sanctuary. Telephones are not provided in either the huts or cabins.

I’ve heard it’s very steep. Will I have trouble getting around?

Sanctuary is located on top of a hill and yes, our four-wheel drive takes a very steep road to transport you and your luggage to the top of the ridge on check-in. The beautiful walking trails which link Sanctuary to the beach and the outside world are less steep, but still steadily climbing! Anyone with an average level of fitness should be able to handle all the paths and the forest walk, the key is not to hurry and you have all the time in the world here!

If you require transport to or from the car park during your stay other than checking in or out, a nominal charge of $5.50 per trip is levied to cover costs. Available during reception hours, please ask in advance.

Is there a beauty salon and spa? Can I get a massage?

No beauty salon or spa, but massage – yes.

At Sanctuary you can get a range of relaxing massage treatments in our dedicated massage room. Simply enquire at reception on check-in or send us an email with the preferred time for your treatment.

Massages are $90 for 1 hour and $125 for 90 minutes.

Is there a pool?

Sanctuary has a beautiful pool nestled in the rainforest which offers sun and shade options almost all day.

Food and Drink

Do I need to bring my own food?

There is no need to bring your own food as the Sanctuary in-house restaurant serves excellent food for all tastes, as well as fruit, muffins and snacks from the bar. Freshly made, delicious food is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6.30am to 8 pm with reasonable prices. A sample dinner menu can be seen here.

However, you are more than welcome to bring your own food if you wish and there is a well-equipped self-catering kitchen and dining area located on the lower floor of the Longhouse. Communal fridges are provided for guest food and storage boxes for each hut and cabin. There is a small supermarket in Mission Beach and a delightful health food shop.

Do you recommend self-catering? Where are the nearest shops?

We recommend that you experience dining in our in-house restaurant at a hand-crafted timber table, inside or under the stars outside on the deck. We offer reasonably priced delicious food. Available from 7.30am until 8pm daily. As with all food at Sanctuary our daily changing menu offers a selection to suit all and is cooked fresh to order (a sample menu can be found here). Of course, you are welcome to self-cater in our well-equipped communal kitchen. There is a small supermarket and a delightful healthfood shop in Mission Beach.

I’m a vegetarian but don’t want to cook. Do you have vegetarian meals in the restaurant?

Yes, vegetarians are very well-catered for at Sanctuary. The evening menu will always feature three vegetarian main dishes and throughout the day we serve salads, wraps and all manner of delectable meat-free items for vegetarians.

Is there a bar or should I bring my own drinks?

There is a bar and it is well stocked! The entire Sanctuary Longhouse, including the self-catering area is a licensed premises and therefore not BYO, though you may consume your own alcohol anywhere else on the premises including your room.

Should I bring bottled water?

All taps run delicious natural drinking water that has been sourced on-site here at Sanctuary. Rainwater when it is wet and spring water when it is dry. You can certainly bring bottled water if you prefer and it is also available from the bar.

What is the food like in the restaurant? How much is it?

The food at Sanctuary is an interesting blend of contemporary and world wide cuisines. It is made with the freshest possible ingredients and the care of our dedicated kitchen. Our daily changing menu caters for all different tastes with a range of Mediterranean and Asian flavors. Entrees range from $10.50 for soup of the day, while main courses range between $18.00 and $34.00.

Getting Around

Can I drive my car to my room?

No. The car park is located 600 metres away from the accommodation and Reception. On check-in and check-out we´ll transport you and your luggage in our 4WD to Reception and vice-versa. At other times, the forest walk will take you to and from your car. It takes about 10 minutes.

If you require transport to or from the car park during your stay other than checking in or out, a nominal charge of $5.50 per trip is levied to cover costs. Available during reception hours, please ask in advance.

Can I visit the Atherton tablelands and Cairns from there?

It takes approximately 1 hr 45 mins from Sanctuary to reach the stunning Millaa Millaa falls to begin a tour of the highlights of the Atherton tablelands. You could pass through the towns of Malanda and Atherton and continue on towards the historical, picturesque town of Yungaburra. Around this area you can visit the curtain fig tree and the crater lakes of Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham.

Many people enjoy a day spent driving around the tablelands and taking in the highlights and the amazing scenery – if you do not have a car, or do not enjoy driving, then this day is not for you. There are many B&B’s on the tablelands and some limited public transport to the Tablelands from Cairns.

It takes about 2 hours to get to Cairns from Sanctuary, with the surrounding activities scattered over a wide area, we’d recommend staying at Sanctuary and enjoying the scenery. We recommend making time in your itinerary to stay in Cairns after you leave Sanctuary. We will be happy to help you book your Cairns accommodation during your stay. However, if you just have a couple of things you would like to do in Cairns and would prefer to stay at Sanctuary, then yes, it is possible.

Do you recommend Car hire ? How far is the drive from Cairns to Sanctuary?

To explore the area without restrictions a car, although not essential, is a valuable tool to give you freedom to reach all of the stunning beaches, walking trails and creeks of Mission Beach.

Many car rental agencies operate in both Cairns and Townsville. Sugarland Car Rentals also has a depot in Mission Beach. Tel: 07 4068 8272.

The drive from Cairns to Sanctuary is 130 kilometers and takes about 2 hours by either bus or car. If travelling by car, you will find a map to direct you to Sanctuary here . When you arrive in the carpark, you will notice a shelter with a telephone in it, lift the handset and a 4WD vehicle will come down to transport you and your luggage to Reception.

If you just have light things, then the sign that says ‘Forest Walk’ will lead you via a beautiful rainforest walk to Reception. The distance is 600m and will take about 10 minutes but please don’t attempt in the dark or if you have heavy luggage.

Please let us know how you will be arriving in Mission Beach and your expected time of arrival.

Please arrive at Sanctuary in daylight where possible, to enable you to get your bearings in the rainforest before it comes alive by night. You may arrive anytime after 10 am. Your room will be available by 2 pm, though earlier if possible.

Last orders for the restaurant are taken at 8.00 pm (please telephone ahead if you plan to arrive after dark and wish to dine in the restaurant.)

Last Check in is at 9.00 pm.

If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

How do I get to Sanctuary?

BUS
If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

SELF-DRIVE
If travelling by car, you will find a map to direct you to Sanctuary here. When you arrive in the carpark, you will notice a shelter with a telephone in it, lift the handset and a 4WD vehicle will come down to transport you and your luggage to Reception. If you just have light things, then the sign that says ‘Forest Walk’ will lead you via a beautiful rainforest walk to Reception. The distance is 600m and will take about 10 minutes, but please don’t attempt it in the dark or if you have heavy luggage.

Many car rental agencies operate in both Cairns and Townsville. Sugarland Car Rentals also has a depot in Mission Beach. Tel: 07 4068 8272.

How far away is Mission Beach and how do I get there?

Mission Beach is made up of four beachside townships, over 16 kilometres. The township of Mission Beach is 12 km´s by car (about 15 minutes) or 7 km´s by foot (across the beaches, which takes about 1 ½ hours).

How far is the beach?

The beautiful Brooks beach is located 100m from the carpark and 700m from the accommodation. Roughly a 10 minute walk down through the forest trail from your hut or cabin.

I don’t have a car. I’m travelling by bus. Am I able to stay at Sanctuary?

Yes. If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

I’ve heard it’s very steep. Will I have trouble getting around?

Sanctuary is located on top of a hill and yes, our four-wheel drive takes a very steep road to transport you and your luggage to the top of the ridge on check-in. The beautiful walking trails which link Sanctuary to the beach and the outside world are less steep, but still steadily climbing! Anyone with an average level of fitness should be able to handle all the paths and the forest walk, the key is not to hurry and you have all the time in the world here!

If you require transport to or from the car park during your stay other than checking in or out, a nominal charge of $5.50 per trip is levied to cover costs. Available during reception hours, please ask in advance.

Getting Here

Do you recommend car hire? How far is it from Cairns to Sanctuary?

To explore the area without restrictions a car, although not essential, is a valuable tool to give you freedom to reach all of the stunning beaches, walking trails and creeks of Mission Beach.

Many car rental agencies operate in both Cairns and Townsville. Sugarland Car Rentals also has a depot in Mission Beach. Tel: 07 4068 8272.

The drive from Cairns to Sanctuary is 130 kilometers and takes about 2 hours by either bus or car. If travelling by car, you will find a map to direct you to Sanctuary here . When you arrive in the carpark, you will notice a shelter with a telephone in it, lift the handset and a 4WD vehicle will come down to transport you and your luggage to Reception.

If you just have light things, then the sign that says ‘Forest Walk’ will lead you via a beautiful rainforest walk to Reception. The distance is 600m and will take about 10 minutes but please don’t attempt in the dark or if you have heavy luggage.

Please let us know how you will be arriving in Mission Beach and your expected time of arrival.

Please arrive at Sanctuary in daylight where possible, to enable you to get your bearings in the rainforest before it comes alive by night. You may arrive anytime after 10 am. Your room will be available by 2 pm, though earlier if possible.

Last orders for the restaurant are taken at 8.00 pm (please telephone ahead if you plan to arrive after dark and wish to dine in the restaurant).

Last Check in is at 9.00 pm.

If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

How do I get to Sanctuary?

BUS
If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

SELF-DRIVE
If travelling by car, you will find a map to direct you to Sanctuary here. When you arrive in the carpark, you will notice a shelter with a telephone in it, lift the handset and a 4WD vehicle will come down to transport you and your luggage to Reception. If you just have light things, then the sign that says ‘Forest Walk’ will lead you via a beautiful rainforest walk to Reception. The distance is 600m and will take about 10 minutes but please don’t attempt it in the dark or if you have heavy luggage. Many car rental agencies operate in both Cairns and Townsville. Sugarland Car Rentals also has a depot in Mission Beach (tel: 07 4068 8272).

I don’t have a car. I’m travelling by bus. Am I able to get to Sanctuary?

Yes. If traveling by bus, Greyhound coaches (tel: 13 1499) stop at the Mission Beach Central (also known as Wongaling Beach) terminal. Sanctuary is about 15km’s north of the coach terminal. The Mission Beach taxi (tel: 04 2968 9366) can transfer you to Sanctuary at a cost of approx. $50.00. It is generally advisable to call them beforehand so they can meet you when the bus arrives.

Mission Beach

Do you recommend self-catering – where are the nearest shops?

We recommend that you experience dining in our in-house restaurant at a hand-crafted timber table, inside or under the stars outside on the deck. We offer a reasonably priced delicious food available from 7.30am until 8pm daily. As with all food at Sanctuary our daily changing menu offers a selection to suit all and is cooked fresh to order. View our menu here. Of course, you are welcome to self-cater in our communal kitchen. There is a small supermarket and a delightful health food shop in Mission Beach. (But most people can’t resist trying Sanctuary food).

How far away is Mission Beach and how do I get there?

Mission Beach is made up of four beachside townships, over about 16 kilometres. The township of Mission Beach is 12 km´s by car (about 15 minutes) or 7 km´s by foot (along the beaches, taking about 1 ½ hours). The Sanctuary courtesy vehicle also makes at least one trip a day into Mission Beach and you’re welcome to hop on for a lift if there is room.

How far is the beach?

The beautiful Brook’s beach is located 100m from the carpark and 700m from the accommodation. Roughly a 10 minute walk down through the forest trail from your hut or cabin.

Is it rainforest like at the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area?

Yes and No – the rainforest here is slightly newer than that of the Daintree, by a few million years or thereabouts. Many of the same species of trees will be the same of course, as both places are home to the endangered southern Cassowary. There are a similar number of National Park rainforest trails, though the ones in Cape Tribulation tend to have a higher volume of tourists passing through on day trips. The beaches of Mission Beach are comparable to that of the Daintree, both having stunning stretches of sandy beaches fringed by tropical rainforest.

Whats the best time of year to visit? What is the weather/temperature/humidity/sun/rain in . . . ?

There is no best time to visit – you can seek Sanctuary at any time of the year! As you would expect, different seasons bring different experiences and highlights. Weather patterns have been varied in recent years with much less rainfall than usual, but the following may give you a guide of traditional climates for this area.

January to April
– a dramatic blend of heavy tropical rain and brilliant sunshine. This the time the rainforest really comes alive, the green is more lush, flowers bloom, the insects and butterflies are larger, migratory birds return and the wildlife is awake and active . Maximum temperatures average about 32°C during the days and around 27°C at night. Whilst marine stingers dictate no swimming off the beach without protective clothing (ie a light weight stinger suit, for sale at the Sanctuary shop), this is the best time year to experience the many stunning cool creeks and waterfalls in the area. It would be remiss of us not to mention that this is also the time of the year when you will encounter mosquitoes at their most active and annoying. Surprisingly for the tropics, Sanctuary is virtually mosquito free for the rest of the year.

May to August
– are the coolest months of the year, when we experience warm, dry, sunny days of around 25°C and cool nights of 16°C.

September to December
– a beautiful time of calm oceans before the stingers arrive, generally hot days with comfortable evening temperatures and possibly some afternoon thunderstorms. Flowers start to bloom and sleeping winter creatures start to awaken. Temperatures starting to rise to their hottest at around 35°C in late December

Rates and Reservations

Can I bring my pet dog/cat/gold fish/baboon?

To protect the local wildlife, Sanctuary abides by an eco-tourism agreement which prohibits non-native domestic pets within the protected nature reserve.

With the exception of guide dogs, no animals are permitted at Sanctuary, although if you do have a pet baboon, please let us know.

Can I drive my car to my room?

No. The car park is located 600 metres away from the accommodation and Reception. On check-in and check-out we´ll transport you and your luggage in our 4WD to Reception and vice-versa. At other times, the forest walk will take you to and from your car. It takes about 10 minutes.

If you require transport to or from the car park during your stay other than checking in or out, a nominal charge of $5.50 per trip is levied to cover costs. Available during reception hours, please ask in advance.

Do you do weddings?

Sorry, we do not cater for weddings.

Do you give discounts for group bookings/more than one hut/cabin at a time?

For any potentially large group bookings, it is best to call us or email to discuss your requirements.

How long should I stay?

As long as you like!

To have the time to appreciate the beauty of Sanctuary and its immediate surroundings takes more than a day, hence, Sanctuary has a minimum two night stay policy for advance bookings. The majority of guests stay with us anywhere from two days to one week, though some stay with us for two weeks or more.

With 25 kilometres of beaches, many National Park trails, a wide variety of tours there are many ways to fill days around Mission Beach. Not to mention the yoga, massage, tranquil pool and the many places to relax around Sanctuary.

Why leave paradise if you don’t have to?

I’m not sure of my dates? Do I need to book?

It is always worthwhile booking to guarantee your preferred dates and style of accommodation.

It is especially wise to book ahead during the high season months of June to October and public holidays, though it may be busy at any time of the year. You may also wish to check availability of range of available dates if you are not sure of your exact times.

As a rough guide, we can usually accommodate your booking with three weeks notice, while many lucky travelers find available accommodation the same day.

Is there any price differentiation between short (2 – 3 days) and longer stays ?

Possibly, dependent on the time of year, length of stay etc. Please call us or email to discuss your requirements.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Some things that would be good to keep in mind are:
Shoes or boots for walking
Sanctuary is in the middle of 50 acres of hilly rainforest and there are a couple of kilometres of walking trails through the forest to explore. The Sanctuary 4WD will pick up and return you and your luggage from the carpark or bus stop. At other times there is a beautiful 600m walk through the rainforest to the carpark and beach.

Towels
All linen is provided at Sanctuary with the exception of towels in the Rainforest Huts, though these can be hired for an additional charge. Sanctuary has it’s own fresh water supply and waste water treatment plant, so water conservation is important here.

A torch
The paths leading to the accommodation are lit at night but it is low-level lighting only so a small hand-held torch is required. Sanctuary has torches to rent for a nominal fee but if you have one then bring it along. Also handy for a bit of night wildlife spotting or a moonlit beach visit.

What is the best time of year to visit? What is the temperature/humidity/sun/rain in . . . ?

There is no best time to visit – you can seek Sanctuary at any time of the year” As you would expect, different seasons bring different experiences and highlights. Weather patterns have been varied in recent years with much less rainfall than usual, but the following may give you a guide of traditional climates for this area.

January to April
– a dramatic blend of heavy tropical rain and brilliant sunshine. This the time the rainforest really comes alive, the green is more lush, flowers bloom, the insects and butterflies are larger, migratory birds return and the wildlife is awake and active . Maximum temperatures average about 32°C during the days and around 27°C at night. Whilst marine stingers dictate no swimming off the beach without protective clothing (ie a light weight stinger suit, for sale at the Sanctuary shop), this is the best time year to experience the many stunning cool creeks and waterfalls in the area. It would be remiss of us not to mention that this is also the time of the year when you will encounter mosquitoes at their most active and annoying. Surprisingly for the tropics, Sanctuary is virtually mosquito free for the rest of the year.

May to August
– are the coolest months of the year, when we experience warm, dry, sunny days of around 25°C and cool nights of 16°C.

September to December
– a beautiful time of calm oceans before the stingers arrive, generally hot days with comfortable evening temperatures and possibly some afternoon thunderstorms. Flowers start to bloom and sleeping winter creatures start to awaken. Temperatures starting to rise to their hottest at around 35°C in late December.

Why don’t you accept small children?

Sanctuary regrets that we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 11 due to the steep naturally occurring terrain and an unfenced swimming pool. Intending guests will gain the most from Sanctuary if they have a reasonable level of physical fitness.

Sanctuary Atmosphere and Style

I’m not interested in yoga. Can I still stay?

Of course, Yoga classes are only scheduled if enough people book and are by no means compulsory.

I’m travelling on my own. Is Sanctuary a good place for a single traveller?

Sanctuary is a great place for any traveller who wishes to appreciate a natural environment and so attracts many like-minded people. Therefore, many solo guests are easily able to find companions with whom to share their time at Sanctuary, while others enjoy being in an environment where they are able to enjoy their own personal space.

Both styles of accommodation can be booked as sole occupancy, while there is an option to share a twin hut with another solo traveller if you so desire.

Is there anything special I need to bring?

Some things that would be good to keep in mind are:
Shoes or boots for walking
Sanctuary is in the middle of 50 acres of hilly rainforest and there are a couple of kilometres of walking trails through the forest to explore. The Sanctuary 4WD will pick up and return you and your luggage from the carpark or bus stop. At other times there is a beautiful 600m walk through the rainforest to the carpark and beach.

Towels
All linen is provided at Sanctuary.

A torch
The paths leading to the accommodation are lit at night but it is low-level lighting only. A small hand-held torch is required. Also handy for a bit of night wildlife spotting or a moonlit beach visit.

What sort of people enjoy Sanctuary?

The type of people who find the idea of staying in comfort in the middle of lush tropical rainforest appealing. Those looking to escape the mainstream of tourism and everyday life, who wish to stay in a unique retreat in a natural environment.

Well, chances are, if you have heard about us and are intrigued – you are probably the sort of person who will enjoy Sanctuary! It is a chance to get away from the strains and stresses of everyday life and get back to nature but with all the comforts of home, namely a well-stocked bar and excellent food! You can be as relaxed or as energetic as you want – with plenty of bush walks and yoga classes to investigate. Or perhaps you would prefer to chill out on the beautiful semi-private beach or indulge in a massage?

Anyone who wants some time-out in beautiful surroundings enjoys Sanctuary. Anyone who can’t be parted from their television, will be desperately disappointed as TV is not available at Sanctuary.

What’s the atmosphere like at Sanctuary?

Restful, relaxed and peaceful. The inclusive environment makes Sanctuary an ideal place for solo travellers as well as couples and groups. There is also plenty of space for those looking to spend some introspective quiet time too. Our retreat is fairly small and informal, its casual atmosphere encourages guests and staff to be on a friendly first name basis. Sanctuary offers luxurious environment though is not comparable to a traditional resort e.g. porters are not provided to transport luggage. It is a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere where we mean to look after you and ensure you have a memorable stay.

Why don’t you accept small children?

Sanctuary regrets that we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 11 due to the steep naturally occurring terrain and an unfenced swimming pool.

Wildlife and Rainforest

Am I likely to see a Cassowary and what do I do if I do?

Quite probably. Sanctuary is home to an adult male and female couple, plus variously aged offspring that are tolerated by the adult birds and come and go over time. Usually we see a Cassowary wander past the main building each day and its from here that’s the best vantage point. They won’t come inside so you can observe them from a distance of a few metres away, which you couldn’t do in any other setting other than a zoo. If you happen to encounter a Cassowary in the forest, then you should endeavour to keep a distance of at least 20 metres between you and the bird.

Cassowaries have an unwarranted reputation for being aggressive, but this is mainly because that being such big, territorial creatures, people are scared of them. Having said that, Cassowaries have the physical means to protect themselves if they feel threatened, so the best course of action is not to make them feel threatened. A full grown female Cassowary can be 2 metres high and 80 kg in weight (the males are a tad smaller) so it’s a considerable presence that might be walking towards you. In this case, the best option is to give way to the Cassowary, get off the trail that they might be walking on and stand behind a large tree. Cassowaries have notoriously bad eyesight, so it’s not hard to evade their attention. Keep in mind that you are in Cassowary territory and that they have been here for a lot longer than we have, so even if it takes a while, give the Cassowary all the respect it deserves. They truly are remarkable creatures. And this is probably the best place in the world to observe them in their natural environment.

Are there many mosquitoes or flies?

Fortunately, Sanctuary’s location high on a ridge provides a relatively safe haven from mosquitoes who generally prefer low-lands close to water.

We usually experience most of the year completely mosquito free starting in winter around June.

The weather patterns determine the number of mosquitoes and they prefer a certain balance of rain and sunshine to breed, so prime mosquito times can be any periods between January and May. We find that most of our guests are not inconvenienced unduly and our small on site shop stocks plenty of insect repellent (the traditional and the DEET free) and other medical supplies if you do suffer from bites.

Later in the year, somewhere from September to November, again dependent on weather conditions, March flies may be prevalent – but only for a few weeks. These are annoying but extremely easy to swot!

Can I bring my pet dog/cat/gold fish/baboon?

To protect the local wildlife, Sanctuary abides by an eco-tourism agreement which prohibits non-native domestic pets within the protected nature reserve.

With the exception of guide dogs, no animals are permitted at Sanctuary, although if you do have a pet baboon, please let us know.

Do I need to worry about the animals? I’m scared of spiders and snakes.

Like all things at Sanctuary, the native wildlife should be treated with common sense and respect. Unlike other eco-systems where man has been round long enough to become part of the food chain, there are no creatures around here that have evolved to consider humans as part of their well balanced diet. So whilst most creatures have some sort of defensive capability, none are able to cause you serious harm.

Snakes and especially spiders, are a big issue for many people and their natural home is in the rainforest. There is a huge range of fascinating spiders, some small and beautiful, some are large and hairy, though none dangerous. However if the mere thought of being close to a spider is enough to make you shiver, then it’s likely that Sanctuary is not for you.

You are very unlikely to encounter a snake at Sanctuary as they are, for the most part, shy and retiring creatures. The only potentially dangerous snake is the red-bellied black snake, which is very rarely seen and extremely shy. Other snakes are the brown and green tree snakes, the carpet or scrub python or if you are really lucky, Australia’s largest snake, the amethystine python which can measure up to 5 metres and is truly a sight to behold due to it’s spectacularly beautiful markings. Unless you are a small marsupial, you really don’t have anything to fear. Nobody has ever been bitten by a snake at Sanctuary and apart from mosquitoes or amorous partners, by anything else.

Do you have a Bird List?

Yes, courtesy of Chris Tzaros of Birds Australia, we have a bird list of observations during a 4 day period as well as a list of birds to be found in the local area. We’re happy to give you a copy of list, as well as receive bird observations (and other creatures) not already on them.

How far is the beach? And what about the jellyfish, crocodiles and sharks I’ve heard about?

The beautiful Brook’s beach is located 100m from the carpark and 700m from the accommodation. Roughly a 10 minute walk down through the forest trail from your hut or cabin.

Stinging jellyfish are a concern during the months between December and May each year and you shouldn’t enter the coastal waters without protective clothing during this period. Sanctuary offers Stinger Suits at wholesale prices to encourage guests to enjoy the warm marine waters during this period. Seek local advice for the exact times.

Crocodiles are a native to the area but tend to be restricted to estuaries. Sharks are native of the sea and so will be out there somewhere, though dangerous sharks are incredibly unlikely in this relatively shallow reef fringed area. There have never been any crocodile or shark attacks in this area. In fact- to put it in perspective – you are more likely to be run over by a London bus, than be attacked by either creature during your stay!

I heard there was a lot of damage after the cyclone. Is there still a rainforest?

Cyclone Larry swept across the coast on 20th March 2006 with Category 5,300 km/h winds leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Immediately after the storm the rainforest was stripped of a lot of its foliage, though thankfully the fast growing nature of tropical plants means that the rainforest has returned to its lush green state.

However cyclones are nature’s way of renewal and regeneration and although it will take many years of growth for the forest to resemble its pre-cyclone state, it is well on the way. The trail from the car park gives a good indication of rainforest pre and post cyclone. As you leave the car park and proceed down the stairs to the bridge, you can see the 30m high canopy and the relatively clear understorey of mature undisturbed forest protected from the cyclone. Higher up the hill, the wonderful panoramic views of the coastline and interior are closing to give way to the new foliage.

The built environment has been completely repaired and refurbished with lots of new features and is better than ever.

Is it rainforest like at the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area?

Yes and No – the rainforest here is slightly newer than that of the Daintree, by a few million years or thereabouts. Many of the same species of trees will be the same of course, as both places are home to the endangered southern Cassowary. There are a similar number of National Park rainforest trails, though the ones in Cape Tribulation tend to have a higher volume of tourists passing through on day trips. The beaches of Mission Beach are comparable to that of the Daintree, both having stunning stretches of sandy beaches fringed by tropical rainforest.

Is Sanctuary a National Park?

No, Sanctuary is privately owned. However, of the 50 acres of rainforest, over 95% has been dedicated in perpetuity to Cassowary habitat and rainforest conservation. By staying at Sanctuary, guests are able to make a positive contribution to habitat preservation as well as experience a rare insight into the ecology of tropical rainforests.

Yoga Retreats

Are Yoga classes available at times other than on yoga retreats?

Yoga Classes will be scheduled if there are 4 or more interested guests, there is a board where you can sign your name, so please let us know if you are interested. Cost is $15.00 for a 1 1/2 hour class.Private Yoga classes are available at $75.00 per hour and a range of yoga classes are available in the town of Mission Beach.

Can I bring my partner if he/she doesn’t want to participate in yoga classes?

Yes, please contact us to enquire about the rate.

How can I find out more about the Yoga Retreats?

We have a full web site on yoga retreats at www.sanctuaryogaretreats.com.au. If you have any other queries, please feel free to contact us.

I’m not interested in yoga. Can I still stay?

Of course, Yoga classes are only scheduled if enough people book and are by no means compulsory.

I’ve never done yoga before, is it a good idea to begin on a retreat?

A Yoga retreat is a great way to begin Yoga. Most Yoga retreats cater for a range of Yoga experience and the teachers are well experienced in teaching a mixed level class, sometimes retreats are designed specifically for beginners so keep checking Sanctuary Yoga Retreats

What should I bring to a yoga retreat, how do I get there?

For a handy information sheet on Sanctuary accommodation, facilities, what to bring, what to expect, location and how to get here, click here.