This spring, I was lucky enough to visit Queensland, Australia again. I went on a 20-day road trip through some of the prettiest spots in the country. Queensland is filled with stunning national parks, reef filled oceans, rainforests and lots of spectacular wildlife.
One of the most spectacular places I visited during this trip was Cape Hillsborough National Park. The national park can be found near MacKay and offers some of the most spectacular natural sights! From kangaroos and wallabies on the beach during sunrise to imposing prehistoric rock formations and stunning untouched rainforests.
When you set your alarm at 5.15 am you know it’s going to be spectacular (Or a least, it better be). My alarm went off at this gauzily hour to watch a sunrise with kangaroos and wallabies playing and chilling on the beach whilst the sun slowly rose behind them.
In this blog post, I will take you along this incredible sight at Cape Hillsborough National Park. I will show you many photos and I will give you my honest opinion about whether it is worth the early morning wake up call.
Let’s explore the kangaroos of Cape Hillsborough National Park!
Underneath you will find some most asked questions and some general information about the kangaroos. As in, where you can find them, what time to go and see them, and more.
ABOUT CAPE HILLSBOROUGH NATIONAL PARK + AVAILABLE FACILITIES
Cape Hillsborough National Park can be found about 45 minutes North of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. The national park is pretty stunning and is a sight to behold!
Here you will find the rainforest meets the shoreline, which reminded me off Hawaii, volcanic headlands, eucalypt forests home to koalas and kookaburras and impressive prehistoric rock formations. Besides, it is also home to some beach kangaroos.
There are a number of areas to park your car or campervan near the beach. The parking is free. There are a couple of picnic benches near the parking areas as well, some in the shade.
Public toilets are also available near the beach.
ARE THE KANGAROOS AND WALLABIES AT CAPE HILLSBOROUGH WILD?
The kangaroos and wallabies are a combination of wild and bottle and-reared kangaroos and wallabies (who you will also see wandering around on the campground adjacent to the beach) Most of the bottle-fed animals were either injured (often hit by a car) or became an orphan at a young age and were raised by humans. These animals tend to live on the grounds of the camping but are free to come and go as they please. (They are not confined at all)
So it is a combination of wild and hand-raised kangaroos and wallabies.
CAN I GET CLOSE TO THE KANGAROOS ON THE BEACH?
Most of the are pretty used to humans and are not afraid of us. They are however wild animals are not to be touched or interfered with. So, yes you can get pretty close to them, but please do not touch them. During the sunrise, a ranger is present and will keep an eye out that people don’t get too close.
WHAT TIME DO I NEED TO BE AT THE BEACH TO SEE THE CAPE HILLSBOROUGH KANGAROOS?
Sunrise with the kangaroos only happens once a day. I am sure you can guess when. Yep, at sunrise, so depending on the time of year, you might have to get out of bed pretty early. When I visited the sunrise started at 5.20 AM. So if you are not a morning person, like me, it is a bit of a struggle.
I would say though that it is completely worth it. Have a quick nap during the day at some point, and you’ll be fine. If you are not sure, upon arrival to the campground we were informed when they would be at the beach, so when in doubt, check at the reception of the campground.
WHERE TO FIND CAPER HILLSBOROUGH KANGAROOS
The easiest way to find Cape Hillsborough kangaroos is to drive to the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, at the end of Cape Hillsborough Road. It is pretty easy to get to and there are no unpaved roads. There are a couple of parking spots available just before the campgrounds where you can park for free, if you are not staying at the campground.
Once you’re on the beach, go to the left towards Wedge Island, and in the distance, you will most likely a large group of people with cameras. If you got the timing right, you’ll see Cape Hillsborough kangaroos there.
What supplies do I need to bring to the beach?
The most important item is a good camera, ideally a DSLR camera. As it is a bit tricky to shoot due to the different lights (Initially dark, then the sun starts to rise ) I found that the pictures taken with my DLSR camera turned out the best.
If you are only heading to the beach to see the kangaroos and then leave, I suggest wearing a couple of layers, as the temperature changes pretty quickly. It is over pretty quickly, so you don’t need anything else.
If you are spending some time afterward on the beach, they make sure to bring towels, sunscreen, and some breakfast.
WHERE TO STAY AT CAPE HILLSBOROUGH NATIONAL PARK
The best place to stay is at the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park. This is located next to the beach and allows you to not only see those spectacular sunrises but also stay in bed as long as possible and still make it on time to watch the kangaroos hopping along the shoreline.
The tourist park offers reasonable places either with our without electricity. If you wish to have a spot near/on the beach, then I am pretty certain you have to get a spot without electricity.
The park has a small pool (Which is great for kids, not so much an adult pool) a small restaurant which is open till 3 pm and ping-pong and mini-golf facilities. There is a no-noise curfew so the campsite is not too loud. (Even though I got woken up by kids in the pool at 7 am, but ok)
The communal facilities (Showers and toilets) are not the best ever, but if you are used to camping then you won’t have any issues.
The campsite is also home to two kangaroos. Their mothers both got unfortunately killed when they got hit by a car and the campsite is now their home base. If you have a spot near the swimming pool and washing lines, then you will certainly bump into them. Since they are bottle raised, so they are pretty tame, but you get advised on arrival not to feed or touch them (Unfortunately I have seen many people do attempt to tough them, which is such a shame)
THE BEST TIMES TO VISIT CAPE HILLSBOROUGH?
Since it has a subtropical climate, you can pretty much visit the national park year-round. I would just try to avoid the rain season (November – April).
THE CAPE HILLSBOROUGH BEACH KANGAROOS
Underneath I will show you what it was like to see the kangaroos during sunrise.
Firstly, upon arrival at our incredibly cool campground, we were informed that the kangaroos can be found at the beach at 5.20 am. I thought this was a bit suss, so I asked whether they would be there in the evenings as well. But no! Even though I did find this a bit strange, I didn’t think too much of it.
Set the alarm at 5.15 am and went to bed early in anticipation.
Getting up wasn’t too bad, to be honest, and we made our way to the beach pretty quickly.
The kangaroos were near the waters-edge just chilling. As you can see in the picture below.
They then slowly made their way towards the gather crowds (I’d say maybe 50 people were there) It then became clear why they where on the beach and why they are only there in the morning.
A ranger of the national park all of a sudden popped up and put down some cones. He then proceeded to feed the animals.
So, unfortunately, it is not a natural thing for them to be on the beach. But it has become a bit of a tourist attraction.
Is it still lovely? Yes definitely, but I would have liked it a lot better if they were there because of their natural instincts.
The kangaroos proceeded to eat for a bit and the ranger had a bit of a talk. Since it was not even 6 am, I did not listen…… Who’s got time and energy for that, that early in the morning. Definitely not me hahaha.
After his talk, it was time for the sun to start rising! And the scenery just got a whole lot more spectacular! WOW
KANGAROOS AND A SUNRISE
The most perfect pictures were taken when the kangaroos where hopping alongside the sunrise! A quintessential Australian photo!
Slowly the roos and wallabies disappeared into the rainforest and most people went back to their beds.
The sunrise was still pretty spectacular even though the animals had since appeared.
I really liked this sunrise with the kangaroos and I would recommend it to attend if you are ever at a National Park where it is possible.
Do I wish it was a natural thing? Yes, definitely! But the roos get a bit of feed, the national park gets some coins in their pocket from camp stays and tourists get their perfect picture opportunity. (You do not pay to attend the kangaroos the beach, you just pay to stay on the campground)
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO DO
since you are at the national park anyways, here are a couple of additional things that you can do.
CAPE HILLSBOROUGH WALKS
Next to the campground starts a 2.8 or 5.2 Kilometre walk (Depending on high or low tide) It is called the Andrews Point Track walk. I must say that this is a reasonably challenging walk due to heat and the sheer number of steps you have to climb. We did have a couple of kids doing it as well, so it is possible, but the initial climbs to the top is an interesting one. So be prepared!
The first lookout you encounter is Twin Peaks. Offering some pretty spectacular views of Cape Hillsborough’s main beach.
It is then only 600 meters to Turtle Beach. From there you either do the walk back as you came, but when it is low tide, you can keep going. You then walk to Twin beach and walk back towards the beginning point of the walk from there.
The beach has a stunning backdrop due to the rainforest nearly touching the water. It has a prehistoric feel due to its rough terrain and massive rocks sprawling around the beach.
You can swim in the ocean, but there are warning signs to be careful of Jellies. The Jelly season may be present in the waters of tropical Queensland year-round, with the higher risk season between October and May. I was there in September and there were no signs of them yet. The park does not have crocodile signs, so don’t think they are in that area. The beach is unpatrolled, so swimming is at your own risk.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on the Cape Hillsborough kangaroos. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Also, would you like to experience this one day? let me know below.
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