Cape Hillsborough Beach
What could be more Australian than hanging out with wallabies or kangaroos on the beach?
The quintessential Australian experience, seeing wallabies or kangaroos on the beach is a magical, goosebump inducing feeling.
For some people it’s a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
If this is something you have always dreamed of doing, then make your way over to Cape Hillsborough Beach in Far North Queensland. For this is one of the best places in Australia to do it.
Cape Hillsborough Beach is also known as Cape Hillsborough Kangaroos Beach, which is ironic because you’re actually more likely to see wallabies there than Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
Both appear on the beach to fossick on the seaweed, mangrove seed pods and other things that wash ashore during the night – but you’ll have to get there early.
For this experience is best experienced at sunrise, when the spectacular hues of the morning colours combine brilliantly with the rugged scenery and native wildlife to create a moment in time you will never forget.
About Cape Hillsborough National Park
Situated some 837km north of Brisbane and 709km south of Cairns, Cape Hillsborough is located 40km southeast of Mackay on the Whitsunday Coast of Queensland.
Blessed with outstanding natural beauty, the Yuibera people lived in this area for thousands of years before Lieutenant James Cook discovered it in 1770.
He named it Cape Hillsborough in honour of Wills Hill, who as well as being the Earl of Hillsborough, was also a President of the Board of Trade and Plantations.
A peninsula of volcanic origin, the park can best be described as where dense rainforest meets the ocean. Characterised by craggy headlands and rock formations, it has a maximum elevation of 267 metres.
Large rhyolite boulders scattered over the headlands and beaches are a reminder of seismic volcanic activity from millions of years ago.
An area of verdant lowland rainforest, vines, eucalypt forest and mangroves are also prevalent in the park.
The attractive Cape Hillsborough beach, where the wallabies and kangaroos feed, is surrounded by waters that are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Along the coast are stunning rocky coves, remote white sandy beaches and gorgeous scenery which are amongst the best of what you will see in Far North Queensland.
Things To Do at Cape Hillsborough National Park
The major drawcard of Cape Hillsborough of course is the opportunity to see wallabies and kangaroos on the beach. Whilst this is a fantastic experience which will intoxicate you for hours, once the animals disappear back into the rainforest you could be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t much else to do.
But you would be wrong.
Cape Hillsborough National Park is a mecca for hikers and there are several tracks you can take with varying degrees of difficulty.
These tracks take up to 2 hours and one will lead you to caves, while all of them will take you to a number of lookouts that showcase wonderful views of the area – including Wedge Island, Sand Bay and Belmunda Beach.
While Cape Hillsborough Beach is a great place to walk on and chill out with a good book or your tunes, it is not advisable to swim in the sea between October and May. When Box Jellyfish can be found in the coastal waters.
You can though explore the tidal rock pools at Cape Hillsborough or go kayaking just off the coast to Wedge Island. And at low tide you can even walk to the island along the sandbar.
Just be sure to keep an eye on when the tide levels rise.
Aside from the wallabies and kangaroos, there are plenty of opportunities to see other wildlife in the National Park, including Sugar Gliders, Turtles and Wallabies. The area is teeming with tiger blue butterflies too, as well as around 150 species of birds.
Fishing is also a popular activity here. Especially towards the northern headland, where you can fish for mangrove jack, salmon, and barramundi. You can also bait fish for whiting and flathead should you be so inclined.
Other Beaches Near Cape Hillsborough
Near to Cape Hillsborough Beach are a number of towns including Seaforth, Halliday Bay and Ball Bay.
All of which are beautiful beachside locations that are well worth visiting.
Popular Smalleys Beach is also close by and has the added bonus of a campground right on the beach.
Best Time To Visit Cape Hillsborough Beach
As this area of Far North Queensland is blessed with a sub-tropical climate you can visit Cape Hillsborough Beach all year round.
During the summer (from December to February) the temperatures and humidity might be too much for some people. Also as this is storm season, this is when it is most likely to rain.
For the most pleasant temperatures, a good time to visit Cape Hillsborough Beach is between March and April or October and November.
Irrespective of when you visit, to see the wallabies, and maybe kangaroos, you will need to be there by around 5.30 – 6.30 am.
Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the photos you take of the marsupials, against the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise will be very Instagrammable.
How To Get There
Cape Hillsborough is very much a drive-to destination.
From Mackay it will take you about 50 minutes to reach the national park by car or taxi. From Airlie Beach set aside 2 hours to get there.
If you are planning on coming from further afield, the drive will take over 12 hours from Brisbane, while from Cairns it would be closer to 9 hours.
To reach Mackay you can fly into the regional airport there, catch a Greyhound Bus or take the Spirit of Queensland long distance train.
The latter of which perfectly showcases the natural scenic beauty of Far North Queensland.
Holiday Accommodation Options
Onsite the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park offers a range of tent and caravan sites.
In addition, within a 10km radius, there are a number of other accommodation providers including the Halliday Bay Resort and Golf Course and the Belmunda Beach Hideaway.
Plenty more choices of hotels, motels and other holiday letting providers can also be found in Seaforth and Mackay.
If you are planning a trip to Cape Hillsborough, please use the search box below to secure the best deals currently available.
Food providers in and around Cape Hillsborough Beach are quite limited. So for more varied options you might be better off bringing a picnic or heading off to nearby Seaforth or Mackay.
That said there is a café at Cape Hillsborough, which is open daily between 10am and 2pm and serves up a delicious lunch menu.
There are also BBQ facilities onsite too if you fancy frying up some sausages or steaks.
Close by in Ball Bay, the Old Station Tea House offers ‘simple food that is homemade and delicious’ in a setting full of character.
If you haven’t been to Cape Hillsborough Beach, we would definitely recommend you do.
To help plan your trip there are a number of other resources you can peruse for further information.
If you are on social media, you can also check out the #capehillsborough hashtag too.
Whilst there, please tag @BeachScenes2020 on any of the Cape Hillsborough Beach photos you post on Instagram.