See the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos, explore Cape Hillsborough walks, camp along the beach and more as you explore Cape Hillsborough National Park.
Australia has to have the most national parks of any country. Every time you round a bend in the road there seems to be another Australia National Park or in our case Queensland National Park in the horizon. With each one being equally as impressive as the next, we were excited to see what Cape Hillsborough National Park had in store.
On recommendation from our friend, we added Cape Hillsborough National Park to our must visit destinations on our road trip from Brisbane to Cairns. And, this was before we even knew about the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos (but more on those later). We love visiting national parks and camping right at the beach, so we knew Cape Hillsborough National Park would not disappoint. And we were right.
So grab your camping gear, hit the road, and head up to Cape Hillsborough National Park to enjoy these 7 great things to do in Cape Hillsborough!
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How To see the Cape Hillsborough Kangaroos
Ok, to be honest we didn’t nail this one. The Cape Hillsborough kangaroos, or more aptly wallabies, are one of the main reasons people come to visit Cape Hillsborough National Park. And why are the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos famous you might ask? It is because this is one of the few places in Australia where kangaroos visit the beach! But even though we did not see the wallabies on the beach, we did get to see them in the nearby park.
To see the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos, however, you need to be there at the right time and even then, you are trying to see animals in the wild so it isn’t a given. But what is the right time? The right time to see the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos is at sunrise or even slightly before sunrise. And, don’t forget this!
We assumed (didn’t do our research) the kangaroos would visit the beach at dusk and dawn, but assuming this made us miss the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos entirely. Don’t be like us and miss this incredible bucket-list Australia experience.
Perhaps even make it extra special! Pack a delicious picnic breakfast with champs and OJ to enjoy with the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos. Although, do not attempt to share your breakfast or mimosas with the kangaroos as this is strictly forbidden.
Other Things to Do in Cape Hillsborough National Park
Set Out on One of the Cape Hillsborough Walks
There is no shortage of great walks and trails in the Cape Hillsborough National Park. From easy 1.2 km return of the Diversity Boardwalk to harder 5.2 km return on Andrews Point Track, there are Cape Hillsborough walks suited for all types of visitors.
We highly recommend the Andrews Point Track which climbs the headland through the coastal scrub with impressive lookout points over Cape Hillsborough Beach, Wedge Island, and the hinterland of Belmunda behind. And while they are all great, this one was our favorite of all of the Cape Hillsborough walks.
Walk on Water to Wedge Island
Ok, this one isn’t totally honest as you cannot actually walk on water. But, when it is low tide, you can walk from the mainland to Wedge Island over a small spit. While there is not much to do on Wedge Island, there is a small beach for you to relax on. Wedge Island is also where you will have the best views of Cape Hillsborough Beach with its beautiful white sand beach set against the coastal shrub and, my favorite, hoop pines.
Enjoy Cape Hillsborough Camping at Smalleys Beach Camping
Camp Hillsborough National Park is home to picturesque camping at Smalleys Beach Camping. This Cape Hillsborough camping spot is the only Queensland National Park camping site and with only a handful of spots, places fill up fast.
Camp underneath the eucalyptus forest only a stone throw away from a private beach overlooking Ball Bay. Smalleys Beach Camping is easily the best Cape Hillsborough camping spot.
Marvel at the Blue Tiger Butterflies
Imagine laying on a white sand beach, palm trees swaying in the breeze above, crystal clear waters in front and thousands of butterflies fluttering by overhead. Or walking through the coastal shrub of eucalyptus and hoop pines with butterflies leading the way along the path.
These are two of the experiences that I personally had while visiting Cape Hillsborough National Park, and, let me tell you, it was remarkable. Blue Tiger Butterflies clearly have made the national park home along with an abundance of other wildlife. Take a moment to appreciate these delicate creatures in their natural habitat. They truly are magnificent.
Visit Nearby Ball Bay and Haliday Bay
If you camp at Smalleys Beach Camping then you know how beautiful Ball Bay really is. If not, do yourself a favor and make the short drive over to see it for yourself. Ball Bay, protected by two headlands, is a quiet bay just a short ten-minute drive from Cape Hillsborough National Park. There is not much to do here, but stop in and enjoy the beautiful views.
And just as pretty as Ball Bay is nearby Haliday Bay. Just over the next headland, this small yet cozy bay is a retiree’s dream. With only a handful of houses, a small RV park and a small golf course, I can’t imagine a retiree wanting more. You won’t find restaurants, cafes or pubs here. Only quiet relaxation. And maybe the occasional grey nomad, puppy, or Blue Tiger butterfly.
Stock Up at Goanna Brewing in Mackay
Ok, so this one technically is not in Cape Hillsborough National Park or even on the same headland. And maybe you aren’t visiting Cape Hillsborough National Park from Mackay. But if you are headed north to Cape Hillsborough National Park through Mackay, you might appreciate the tip because camping, having a picnic or even just visiting the beach is best enjoyed with a cold beer. And Goanna Brewing, Mackay’s only local brewery, is the perfect place to make this happen.
Goanna Brewing helps locals in Mackay brew their own beer at home or on-site. But, if you are like us and just passing through you can pick up a mixed 6-pack of some of their beers for only $20 AUD. And maybe pick up a few handy insider tips on local spots as you continue north on your road trip from Brisbane to Cairns!
Consider extending your trip to include Mackay with these 10 great things to do in Mackay!
We hope you enjoy Cape Hillsborough National Park as much as we did! And, we hope, unlike us, that you get a chance to see the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos! Let us know what you think in the comments! We would love to hear from you!
Looking for more incredible things to do in Queensland? Are you also on a road trip from Brisbane to Cairns? Check out our other articles on things to do in Queensland!
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