On a recent road trip from Townsville to the Sunshine Coast we detoured to Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park, 50 km north of Mackay Australia.
We were there to see kangaroos on the beach and do the Andrews Point walk in the Cape Hillsborough National Park. After pre-dinner drinks with some like-minded travellers we called it a night, but not before setting our alarm for a pre-dawn wake-up call. Cape Hillsborough kangaroos are early risers!
Cape Hillsborough Kangaroos
Where to find kangaroos?
Each day before the sky lightens, a mix of eastern grey wild kangaroos and wallabies congregate on the beach directly in front of the Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park. They might sip seawater but mainly they just munch on dead sticks and mangrove seeds foraged from the high tide line – the roos smorgasbord.
Cape Hillsborough Beach – from the Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park end.
The roo on the left side was rubbing his claws in a fast upward motion on his chest, challenging the other to fight.
We never dreamed there would be so many humans witnessing this ritual breakfast. It was reminiscent of Tak Bat in Luang Prabang with some photographers hanging back using their zoom lenses, with others getting right up in the kangaroos faces.
Kangaroos can inflict injuries if they feel threatened – they aim their powerful hind legs at your chest and you end up bruised and extremely sore for a week or more. It happened to a friend of mine at home on her own property – I used my zoom.
The ones on the beach at Hillsborough were very polite (the wallabies and kangaroos but not all the humans) and went about their business with a monk-like zen.
When the sun strengthens, they hop into the bush where kangaroos live or back into the park. The only notable difference between wallabies and kangaroos is size and colour.We usually refer to them all as kangaroos unless they are small in which case they become wallabies. These are some interesting facts about kangaroos.
Two tall Eastern Grey Kangaroos reside in the Caravan Nature Park. It’s best not to feed them so they don’t expect food from humans. Immediately prior to our arrival a kangaroo was sprawled out beneath the clothes line.
They also roam regally through the Park keeping the lawn trimmed.
Cape Hillsborough Walking Tracks and an adventure.
We set off on the walk without studying the map – ridiculous I know! When we came to a branch in the path we chose the right hand track to the Turtle Viewing Point, planning to then return to Twin Beach Lookout.
Bright green grass trees similar to those we saw later at Cania Gorge National Park.
Cyclone Debbie had visited the area several months previous to our arrival. There were a few trees down and the bush was a bit untidy as you would expect, but the rain had turned everything a gorgeous green.
Take binoculars if you wish to see turtles as the view point is up high and only the occasional head popping up is visible to the naked eye. There are good views back to the mainland though.
Turtles also lay their eggs on Cape Hillsborough beach in Summer.
Onwards was Andrews Point with views to Wedge Island – the track kept going and so did we. Eventually after the lookout, we descended via the track to a beach. At low tide a causeway leads from here to Wedge Island, a great opportunity to explore.
It was not low tide. We had two options.
From the beach we could climb back up and retrace our steps for 2.8 km – or we could return via the shore to the main beach.
The tide wasn’t low enough for that, so we decided to walk back through the water. June is winter in Australia, so we weren’t concerned about marine stingers and to be quite honest we didn’t even think about crocodiles until much later!
We walked back in the water from the point.
We kept our joggers on to protect our feet from the rocky bottom – they needed a wash anyway. My only concern was my iPhone and after it became obvious the water wouldn’t reach my waist, I relaxed and enjoyed the adventure. I did however give my phone to Marty for safe keeping – just in case.
The one way track is 2.8km and the return track 4.3km.
After this little adventure we always have a map or photo of a map along with us.
Cape Hillsborough Camping
The National Park Camping area is at Smalleys Creek. You can book on-line, over the counter at a National Park Office or by phone. By all accounts it books out early so book well in advance. Read about it here.
Pay in Advance. Toilets. Drinking Water. Shade. Picnic Tables. Walking. Fishing. Swimming. Crocodile Warning. TV and Mobile Phone Reception. Camping. Caravans. Sites directly on beach. No Generators Allowed.
Cape Hillsborough Map.
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park
Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park (also known as Cape Hillsborough Resort), has some camping directly on the beach where the famous kangaroos and wallabies congregate. We parked our caravan on the first level but there is a drive down to camp sites on the lower beach level. There are cabins on both levels.
Andrews Point walking track starts from the beach at the eastern edge of the park at the end of this row of cabins.
Facilities include: Pool, Shop, Mini-Golf, Camp Kitchen, Laundry, BBQ’s, Reading and TV Lounge.
Cape Hillsborough Cabins.
Other Cape Hillsborough Accommodation options.
Planning Tips and Information.
Mackay Tide Times can be checked here.
For What to do in Mackay Look up Mackay Tourism.
Lizards, Skinks and Snakes sun themselves on rocks in the National Park. Echidnas and Possums may be seen at night. Geckos catch insects at night wherever there are lights. There are 20 species of butterflies in the National Park. The Blue Tiger butterfly can be seen in Winter.
Whales can be seen off-shore July/August.
Captain Cook named the Cape in 1770 after the Earl of Hillsborough.
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