Tropical Coast of Queensland

Cape Hillsborough

Cape Hillsborough is one of the most scenic mainland locations on the central Queensland coast; it features rock-strewn, sandy beaches, hoop pine-dotted hillsides plunging towards the sea, subtropical rainforest and mangrove-fringed wetlands. But what visitors like best is the rare treat of viewing wallabies on the beach around sunrise or late evenings. They go down to the water's edge to nibble seed pods that have been washed up onto the beach overnight. The cape, with its beaches and facilities, is a very popular location with tourists and touring caravans. It is attractive, has relatively safe beaches, a spectacular setting and several walks around the headlands, plus the resident wildlife.

Where is it?: Cape Hillsborough National Park is about 50km north-west of Mackay by road. From Mackay, travel north on the Bruce Highway for 20 km and turn right into Seaforth Road. Travel a further 20 km and turn right into Cape Hillsborough Road. It is then 10 km to the main park entrance.

From Proserpine, take the Bruce Highway south and travel 79 km to Mount Ossa. Turn left into the partly unsealed Mount Ossa Road and travel 15 km towards Seaforth. Turn right into Seaforth Road then left into Cape Hillsborough Road. Drive another 10 km to the main park entrance. Please note, the Mount Ossa road is not suitable for caravans. Caravan owners travelling from the north should continue to the sealed Seaforth Road, 20 km north of Mackay.

Cape Hillsborough National Park is also home to a colony of 150  200 ghost bats, one of four colonies identified in Queensland. They occupy at least three caves in the park during winter. Also observed at Cape Hillsborough is approximately 22 Mammals, 25 Reptiles and 8 Amphibians.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos and many types of Wallabies live in the park. The most common wallaby is the Agile (Sandy) Wallaby and Whip-Tail (Pretty face) Wallaby. The shy Brush-Tail Rock Wallaby can sometimes be seen in November on the far side of the causeway and beach.

The attractive beach is backed by a small parkland area featuring a picnic area and facilities. This is also where the Cape Hillsborough Resort is located, which offers budget to mid-range accommodation and facilities. Further camping facilities can be found at Smalleys Beach within the National Park. Camping spaces and water are limited, so you must register with the National Park before camping. The reserve at the beach has picnic and barbecue facilities and an amenities block, with boat launching access at its eastern end and a small shop where you can buy food and groceries.

Swimming is best toward high tide on both Beachcomber and Cape Hillsborough beaches. Fishing is best off the rocks at high tide.

A popular walk is out to Wedge Island via the Andrews Point walking trail, however, this can only be done at low tide. A recent addition to the Park is the Environmental Walk that starts about 500 metres inland from the picnic area. This 1.2 kilometre track is a self-guided walk along a boardwalk and through mangroves. It incorporates four elements of diversity - wildlife, genetics, community and culture.

Smalley's Beach: situated approximately 35 km north of Mackay, this secluded beach is located in the Cape Hillsborough National Park and offers limited camping sites. Facilities include toilets, and small secluded sites. Water must be brought with you. Camping is by self registration