To the locals it was probably classed as winter to but to us we had stepped into summer in July. We arrive in Cairns and the weather is perfect. Cairns is really easy to get to from any capital city in Australia. We pick up our hire car and start the easy drive through scenic sugar cane country to Mission Beach. What I instantly loved about Mission Beach is how untouched it was, no high rises just beautiful empty beaches with palm trees hanging over the sand. The area has a relaxed bohemian vibe; Organic shops, great cafe’s but with loads to do especially water activities and hiking.
We check into our hotel, . Right on the beach with a relaxed indoor/outdoor feel. Its has an effortless luxury about it, beachy but polished. With great cocktails and dining we may not need end up leaving the hotel after long days of shooting but if we do the local Mission Beach restaurants are only a short walk from the hotel.
We meet Amy our guide who gives a tour of all the secret beaches in the area to we can decide on locations for the shoot and then head over to see Nancy from Mission Beach Dive who we soon learn it is the lady to know in town! Between Nancy and Amy we have this area covered with local knowledge in about 3 hours.
Nancy and her crew have arranged for us to go out to the a magic spot called Beaver Cay a sand bar on the outer great barrier reef for our first swimwear shoot focused on sporty shapes, neoprene and graphic cuts outs which will be in our January Issue.
The theme of the shoot is diving and Jess and photographer Steven get their own diving instructor so we can get some amazing underwater diving shots. The water is aqua and scenery unreal. There is no land as far as the eye can see apart from our sandbar. A BBQ lunch on board the board and we are hooked. Our only regret is that we did not get more of a chance to explore the reef as we were too busy working. However those that did not want to dive, throw on a snorkel and flipper and there was so much you could see right underneath us.
After a really early morning (hair and make-up starts at 4:30am) and a day at sea, (we are all still swaying) we meet for a early cocktail (we think we deserve it) and dinner at Castaways Restaurant Bibesia. The food is so good and fresh we suggest the Wild Caught local fish.
Another early start we are off to Bingil Bay an amazing untouched beach just north of Mission Beach (there is even a beach swint). We meet Attie form Coral Sea Kayaks for the start of our adventure shoot in our December issue. Jess our model who had a diving instructor the day before now is getting the low down on the techniques of sea kayaking. Chatting to Attie about some of their adventure packages I think we may need to come back and give it a go. We stop off for a coffee at the Bingil cafe which became a favourite stop of the trip. Good coffee, healthy food with a eclectic bohemian interior.
From there we say bye to Attie and head to one of the many waterfalls in the area Josephine Falls, easy to get to we walk through the rain forest to amazing freshwater falls and swimming holes that are free to access. Clear water and super refreshing there is something about the water that makes you feel amazing. The shots we needed here where hiking and of course swimming. However by the end of the shoot we stuck around so the crew could swim and try the natural slides.
Back to the Hotel. We are feeling so good from the falls we decide to walk down the road Garage Bar, its Mexican night which everyone is into especially after all the hiking and swimming we had done that day. Relaxed with a good atmosphere we would definitely recommend it. We see some cool bars start to liven up as we are finishing dinner but with early starts it’s not a wise idea…
Today is our last day of the trip and we are shooting our fashion swimwear story for November which is on the stands now. Through Nancy at Mission beach Dive we gain permission to shoot on a private beach on Bedarra Island just off Mission Beach. Form Mission Beach with the help of Nancy’s water taxi service (told you she was the lady to know) you can access a number of islands, including Dunk Island and of course Bedarra Island.
Is like something out of a movie, the water is more aqua than I have ever seen, the whitest sand decorated with palm trees and soft grey rocks. Its the perfect spot to shoot. who would not want to be here? Its easy to get here from Mission beach for a day trip, its a must do.
With 3 great shoots under our belt its time to head back to Cairns and then onto Sydney. While we all plan ways to come back here for holidays (and not have to work) as a parting gift on the way out we saw a cassowary bird which the area if famous for, so rare only 1 in 100 people see one so we are feeling pretty special.