Whilst many come to Cape Hillsborough for its famous wildlife (more on that later), we were stoked to find a little palm-lined cove, filled with huge old boulders and hoop pines perched atop rocky escarpments.
After setting up our site, we clambered down the dune we were parked atop of, cameras in hand, and explored the beach.
The next morning, we awoke before the sun, quickly grabbed the cameras and walked down to the beach. Sure enough, there was already a small congregation of people, but more importantly they were matched in numbers by wallabies and a handful of kangaroos.
Ill-equipped - we’d left our tripod back at the camp in our sleepy-haze - we simply watched them with crashing waves in the background, while we waited for the light.
Jumping around playfully, it was a great experience to watch them frolicking on the sand with the days first light behind them. It’s funny – for a country lined by beaches and filled with kangaroos, seeing the two together is such a wonderful and rare thing.
After a time, more people arrived, and a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service ranger as well. Due to the rise in popularity of Cape Hillsborough the local council and QPWS are working together to ensure that the wallabies are looked after. The ranger now uses cones to mark out a set area for the general public to sit within, making the experience feel a little less natural, but we all know it’s ultimately for the greater good - and after all, we can still photograph and watch them freely.
Once the sun had risen, they slowly departed - scattering into the bush one at a time until there was only a single Eastern Grey left. He had been hand-reared by the owners of the tourist park we were staying at, and as such was very social, not bothered at all by those gathered on the beach to see he and his mates. He only left once the ranger did, hopping a few steps behind her all the way back up the path and into the park.
If you’re planning a trip to Cape Hillsborough there are a few campsites in the region, or of course you can stay in nearby Mackay and make the trek before sunrise.
To make the most of your time however, I really couldn’t recommend Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park enough. The only campground that fronts onto the beach, it’s in a wonderful spot and really can’t be beaten for proximity - a short 10m walk and you’re on the beach.
Happy Travels, Em x
Brisbane-based lover of travel, off-roading, camping and photography.