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Cape Hillsborough National Park

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Family | National Parks | Nature | Walks
by Cris (subscribe)
I am an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at https://www.meetup.com/HikingInSEQLDandMore/ is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published October 7th 2021
The rugged beauty of Cape Hillsborough
Cape Hillsborough is a rugged scenic park with rainforest, beaches and amazing volcanic rock formations. There are many activities for visitors including bushwalking, camping, wildlife spotting, photography, fishing and, of course, enjoy nature.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera Plant Trail,
Wedge Island. Photo by Author.


Cape Hillsborough National Park is about 50 km north west of Mackay. It is about 11 hours and1 000 km from Brisbane City.
If you are travelling from Brisbane, the best option is to stop overnight and reach the national park the next morning. Rockhampton offers many hotels, motels and Airbnb for your night stay.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange-footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera Plant Trail,
Beachcomber Cover Track, high tide. Photo by Author.


The park is important for the conservation of a range of plants community like rainforest, hoop pine forest, melaleuca woodland, eucalyptus and casuarina woodland, mangroves and saltpans. There are six species of kangaroos and wallabies in the park, other mammals, many tropical birds, like the orange footed scrub fowl, reptiles and amphibians.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, , Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera Plant Trail,
Photo by Author.


The Yuibera people lived in the area for thousands of years living off the land. The Aboriginal people used to collect shellfish and roast them on open fire. Today it is still possible to see discarded shells in the park. Also, there are archaeological remains of a trap for fish made up with rocks, stone fireplaces, pieces of ochre probably brought from other area and a few artefacts in stone.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike,Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
Remains of a trap for fish made with rocks, Yuibera Plant Trail. Photo by Author.


It was James Cook who named Cape Hillsborough during his voyage up the Queensland coast in 1770. Cape Hillsborough was named after the Earl of Hillsborough, a member of the English Parliament. The European settlement of the area began in 1867, when settlers McBryde and Finlayson selected 400 ha for breeding cattle.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
The Diversity Boardwalk. Photo by Author.


The national park camping side is Smalleys Beach, accessible by conventional vehicle. Smalleys Beach camping site is located near Smalleys Beach on Ball Bay.

Unwind and relax and soak up the magic of the place. You can have your car near the tent or camp with your caravan. The beautiful beach is only a few metres away and you can have long walks or try to catch a fish.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Sand bubbler crabs, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
Photo by Author.


The rainy season is between December and March; the winters are mild with temperatures from 13 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius. Summers are hot, between 23 degree Celsius to 30 degree Celsius. Beware of estuarine crocodiles and stinging jellyfish. You need to be SunSmart and protect yourself from the sun all year around.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Sand bubbler crabs, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
Photo by Author.


On the beach, sand bubbler crabs create intricate patterns when feeding by filtering sand through the their mouth parts. They leave little sand balls that are washed out by incoming tides.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Sand bubbler crabs, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
The little sand balls left behind by the bubbler crabs. Photo by Author.


Many volcanic rocks are present on the beaches. Australia is an old continent and million of years ago hundreds of volcanoes very active and still today they shape the landscape.

Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Sand bubbler crabs, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
Photo by Author.


A stunning orchid can be found at the end of Cape Hillsborough Road, at the start of Beachcomber Cove Track. I imagine once the forest was plentiful of these beautiful flowers.

Orchid, Cape Hillsborough National Park, Mackay, Sand bubbler crabs, Volcanic, Rocks, Sand, Bushwalking, Hike, Camping, Fishing, Wildlife spotting, Photography, Nature, Outdoor, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Pademelon, Orange footed scrubfowl. Pied Imperial Pigeon, Owls, Yuibera people, James Cook, Cape Palmerston, Cape Conway, Earl of Hillsborough, Hoop Pine, Melaleuca woodland, Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Mangroves, Camping, Smalleys Beach camping, Caravan, dirt road, crocodiles, jellyfish, Andrews Point Track, Beachcomber Cove Track The Diversity Boardwalk, Yuibera, Plant Trail,
Photo by Author.



Reference

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/cape-hillsborough


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Your Comment
Another great walk Cris. A sea level walk means no hills. The warning about crocodiles was a bit worrying.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3167) 9 days ago
What a beautiful place Chris.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9187) 8 days ago
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