Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cape Hillsborough National Park See Hillsborough Volcano

What's special?

Rock-strewn, sandy beaches, hoop pine-dotted hillsides plunging towards the sea, subtropical rainforest and mangrove-fringed wetlands make Cape Hillsborough one of the most scenic parks along the central Queensland coast.

Open eucalypt forest with a grassy understorey covers the hills and headlands while sheltered valleys and creeks support lush rainforest. Patches of low heath grow on exposed slopes. West of the picnic area, mangrove forests provide an important breeding and feeding ground for marine wildlife. The surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Rhyolite boulders scattered over the headlands and foreshore are a reminder of volcanic activity millions of years ago.

The Juipera people lived in this area for thousands of years and have left behind reminders of their special connection to the Cape. Cook named the Cape in June 1770 after the Earl of Hillsborough.

Exploring Cape Hillsborough

Have a picnic on the foreshore overlooking the sea. Gas barbecues, shelter sheds, picnic tables, bins, toilets, cold showers and water are provided. See kangaroos hopping along the beach late afternoon. Please do not feed the wildlife.

Explore the tidal rockpools. Fishing is allowed but swimming is not recommended. Estuarine crocodiles live in these waters and box jellyfish are present in the sea from October to May.

Bush camp at Smalleys Beach. Toilets, town water and sites suitable for caravans are provided but the campground is quite small. Pay your fees at the self-registration station. Take a fuel stove for cooking. You can also stay near the picnic area at a private resort and caravan park or at nearby Seaforth.

Go bushwalking. Learn about mangroves on the boardwalk or discover how Aboriginal people use plants along the Juipera Plant Trail. Look for wildlife early morning or late afternoon. Wear insect repellent, especially in summer.


Enjoy the view over the coast from the Beachcomber Cove and Andrews Point tracks. Walk to Wedge Island on a falling tide and return 500m along the beach from Andrews Point at low tide. Wear insect repellent and a hat and sunscreen. Carry drinking water.


The mangrove boardwalk is wheelchair-accessible for the first 300m.

Getting there

Cape Hillsborough is off the Bruce Highway north of Mackay. Take the Seaforth Road 20km north of Mackay and continue 20km to the Cape Hillsborough turnoff then a further 10km to the park. (The gravel road to Smalleys Beach is signposted about 6km east of the Seaforth turnoff.) From the north, turn off the highway 79km south of Proserpine and drive 15km towards Seaforth. Turn right then left and drive another 10km to the park. The partly unsealed Mt Ossa Road is unsuitable for caravans.

Sources & Further reading

New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory
Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading