Tucked away in tropical north Queensland is a magical little beach that should be part of everyone’s down under bucket list, although chances are not many people have ever heard of it before. Here is a small national park situated on a headland just north of Mackay. Once you pass through rows and rows of roaming sugar cane fields in the tropical oasis you will turn into the bush of the Cape Hillsborough National Park. Here you will find ancient volcanoes, rugged mountains, secluded bays, picture perfect beaches and even an island that you can walk to.
Now the top attraction of this place and what has no doubt put Cape Hillsborough on the map would be the special visitors that come each morning in the early hours of the day when the sun has yet to reach the horizon. There are actually very few places in Australia where these famous marsupials make appearances on the beach and this is one of the few. Here on Casuarina beach the kangaroos and wallabies are lured down to the shore in the early hours of the morning to feast on mangrove seed pods that are brought in by the large tides that are present in the area. Normally kangaroos and wallabies have a strictly grass diet which is why they aren’t often spotted on the beach and when you get to see them with the sun peeking its head over the horizon of the pacific ocean it is a true treat.
Once you have had your fill of watching the roos feasting on seed pods silhouetted by the rising sun there are some other fun activities in the area to help you fill the rest of your day. Next best thing to do after visiting the kangaroos would be to head around the corner to a place called Andrew’s Point. Here you can witness some of the best lookouts in the area and possibly even spot some sea turtles munching away on seagrass. Afterwards if you are feeling adventurous and the tides are right you can actually walk across the sand to Wedge Island. If you still have some energy left for exploring there are four short walks through the park ranging from 1.2 km to 5.2 kilometers. Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the diverse ecosystem in the area featuring over 140 bird, 22 mammal, 500 plant species that make this park such a popular destination with researchers and nature enthusiasts all over the world.
If you are need of some refreshments during your stay then a visit to the Old Station Tea House is in order. This is a unique little café that is actually inside an old train station. It is a popular spot for morning tea, coffee, cakes, or lunch and the owners Michelle and Dwayne will have you feeling like locals in not time. After a nice afternoon tea there is one more thing to add to the itinerary if you have the time and energy. About a 40 minute walk from the tourist park is little known place called Hidden Valley. Here you can catch a spectacular sunset in a secluded section of the park as you watch the amber glowing sun dip below the horizon.
From sunrise to sunset your day will be filled with the natural beauty and wonder that is Cape Hillsborough National Park. Nestled in the midst of the roaming cane fields of the Bruce Highway and tucked away close to Mackay this natural wonderland awaits you. With rocky headlands, rugged mountains, lush rainforests, white sandy beaches and a beautiful blue ocean backdrop you can see why this is one of our favorite places and a must add to your Aussie bucket list.
A few tips for your trip. When going to visit the Kangaroos in the morning be sure to arrive well before the sun actually rises. Thirty minutes to one hour ahead of time would be best because most of the kangaroos and wallabies will be gone as the sun starts to peak its head over the surface of the water. So set your alarm super early because if you are late you will not be able to visit the local attraction. If you are not a morning person do not fear. It is very easy to camp right on Casuarina beach at the Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park where you will be at the heart of the action. From here you can roll out of bed and walk just a few meters to the beach. You can also stay at Smalleys beach around the corner which is a lovely camping area right on the beach but be sure to book ahead and arrive early because spaces fill up quick here.