Cape Hillsborough is a Peninsula that lies 30 odd kilometers north of Mackay. Two headlands are combined by a half moon beach with enormous tidal movements.
Volcanic rock formations scatter along the beach in different sizes. The headlands themselves are formed by volcanic activity as well.
Cape Hillsborough is a major tourist magnet for the larger Mackay area, simply for one reason.
Wallabies and kangaroos.
Well, that may not be that spectacular as such, but these cuties hop along the beach every morning in search off washed up mangrove leaves and other washed up delicacies.
The word spread around tourism circles and this becomes a major draw card for tourists to stop by.
Rangers appear every morning with a bucket of mangrove nutrient rich pallets to feed these shy animals.
I know what you’re thinking. Feeding them and not watching them on their natural food intake is just like being in a zoo.
Well, the facts speak a clear language. This is done for the health and safety of humans, but more importantly for these marsupials. The area gets ‘fenced’ off by little huts before the ranger leaves a few heaps of pallets on the beach.
Knowing that all animals are within view range by tourists and under close inspection by qualified wildlife personnel, I find this a very sensible solution. Tourist numbers can reach large numbers and some are, simply said, rude and disrespectful towards fellow travelers and wildlife.
Most hopping visitors are Agile Wallabies, easily recognized with their black face markings. Almost pirate like it’s no wonder they like the beach. One Eastern Grey Kangaroo joins them for breakfast. She is a young Jilly who was rescued from her mother’s pouch after being killed by a car.
Skippy is very much used to human contact therefore extremely curious. She often comes up and sits right next to stunned travelers. However, patting and feeding these wild animals is strictly prohibited for the safety of both parties.
Molly is another victim of a similar incident, who is being nursed at Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park. She will stay in her enclosure until she is old enough to hop along for herself. Molly was found in her dead mom’s pouch a few days after the incident. Crows started to attack this frightened youngster, as her scared ears tell the story.
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park is a very sustainable and ecological retreat, that works in close relations with Queensland National Park Services to sustain this Peninsula as a paradise for humans and it’s natural inhabitants.
As most people mostly just stay for one night, I had other plans. This is an adventurous playground for those who seek it. And I did. A sheltered bay invited Maniyak to get out.
This is potential Croc country as markers remind unsuspected visitors. Therefore, I didn’t expect others mad enough to go kayak fishing. His approach was a bit more conservative then mine.
Quite a few boats launch from this beach in the early morning hours.
I left Maniyak over the high tide mark on the beach every day and overnight, knowing he was in good hands
There are plenty of hiking trails for spectacular ocean views and oddly shaped flora along the way.
The forest was alive with fluttering butterflies, enhancing coloured movements to the green vegetation.
If the sunrise over ‘Wedge Island’ isn’t spectacular enough,
add a few wallabies hopping over a reflecting beach.
Terns and other ocean birds rest and mist on tiny rocky islands and pose for sunrise just as well. Just breathtaking.
The full moon shone brightly over the bay at night. Getting up way early, the moon set was just as incredible. On top of all that, I couldn’t resist going for a high tide full moon paddle at night time, which was definitely one of my highlights here at Cape Hillsborough. I met many friendly travelers which I now call friends and the staff at this campground is just as friendly and helpful.
I stayed 5 days and 4 nights and was absolutely exhausted by the time I left. This really is a photographer’s and adventurer’s playground, for those who are willing to look at the smaller picture.
My next few posts will get more into detail about my activities on this stunning peninsula and I have plenty of breathtaking photos to show.