Cape Hillsborough National Park

Whitsunday Coast

Comprising broad beaches, rocky headlands, sand dunes, mangroves, hoop pines and rainforest, the 10.2-sq-km national park lies some 50km northwest of Mackay. Along the four short, easy-to-moderate walking trails through the headlands, you may spot kangaroos, wallabies and sugar gliders. Turtles are common close to shore, and roos might be seen on the beach in the evening and early morning. To get here, follow Bruce Hwy north from Mackay for 20km, then follow the signs along partly paved roads.

On the approach to the foreshore area, a 1.2km (40-minute) boardwalk circuit leads through a tidal mangrove forest, past a vast Aboriginal midden testifying to historic shellfish feasts. From the picnic area, the Beachcomber Cove Track (2.2km return, 1½ hours) passes through eucalyptus groves and rainforest before ending at the eponymous cove. Just south of the picnic area, the Yuibeira Plant Trail (1.2km return, 30 minutes) educates you about the traditional use of plants. You may also spot the remnants of stone fish traps, left by the Yuibeira people. Finally, Andrews Point Track (2.8km return, two hours), a steep and rocky walk from the south end of the beach, is worth it for the numerous scenic viewpoints and ample birdlife in the vine forest.

Accommodation options consist of the small Smalleys Beach Campground and the Cape Hillsborough Nature Resort.

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