48 hours in Cape Hillsborough and The Hibiscus Coast

Multiple Locations

For a holiday that will immerse you in all kinds of nature, explore what lies to the north of the sugar cane capital with an overnight escape to Cape Hillsborough. Less than 50 kilometres north of the Mackay city centre, you'll find an ancient volcanic landscape, untouched beaches and 1012 hectares of national park that make up Cape Hillsborough. Whether you're more about action or relaxation, say ‘hello’ to the stunning natural charm of The Hibiscus Coast.

Activities here include exploring a range of walking trails at Cape Hillsborough National Park, learning about the Indigenous Yuibera people and their connection to the land and sea, visiting beachside towns and waking up with kangaroos and wallabies on the beach at sunrise.

Journey Details

Duration
48 Hours
Distance
50 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Hiking/Trekking

Other Information

Family Friendly:

Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

Full Itinerary

Make tracks from Mackay to Cape Hillsborough

In the Morning: Make tracks from Mackay to Cape Hillsborough.

Swap the city for Cape Hillsborough National Park, a destination where the only three Rs you need to know are: rainforests, ‘roos (and agile wallabies) and rocky headlands.

Point your bonnet toward Cape Hillsborough, 50 kilometre north-east of Mackay's city centre, following signs to Seaforth, taking the Bruce Highway via The Leap.

You’ll know you’re getting close as the verdant sugar cane fields give way to rugged mountain scenery - packed with rainforest, eucalypt forest and hoop pines.

If there’s one stop you must make along the way, it's The Organic and Natural Store at The Leap, which stocks everything from hand-woven African baskets to groceries – handy if you’re self-catering tonight.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive, Motorcycle
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park
That Sapphire Place, The Leap
The Feathered Nest
The Leap Hotel
The Organic & Natural Store
Arrive into Cape Hillsborough National Park

Known as the youngest volcanic area in Australia, Cape Hillsborough is blessed with geologic foundations – the envy of most coastal destinations – with steep tree-lined mountains that drop dramatically to the coastline below.

Its volcanic past has also shaped the landscape, dividing up what would have once been a seamless stretch of coastline into a series of secluded bays, each separated by rhyolite boulder headlands.

Beyond the boulders providing smooth swimming conditions (read: wind protection), each bay boasts a crescent shape and panoramic view from one end to the other - perfect for photography enthusiasts.

To immerse yourself in The Hibiscus Coast, choose between camping and cabins on the Cape Hillsborough coastline. You’ll fall asleep with mere metres between you and the main attraction tomorrow morning - sunrise on the beach.

Or, for romantic luxury, check into the Feathered Nest to share your suite with an aviary of rare black cockatoos, while being surrounded by the Australian bushland of Mount Toby State Forest.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive, Motorcycle
Day 2 - First light: Wake up early for sunrise on the beach

Set your alarm for daybreak to see Mackay's most famous residents, eastern grey kangaroos and agile wallabies, as they tuck into their breakfast by the beach.

Mackay's furry friends make use of the morning tidal patterns to unearth mangrove seed pods, seaweed and coral - and dine alfresco on the beach.

This wild phenomenon promises a trifecta of a golden sunrise, picture-perfect beach and a mob of macropods, every day of the year.

Keep your cameras at the ready, to prove to family and friends why Mackay is known for its natural encounters.

While selfies might be something visitors attempt at zoos and animal sanctuaries, this is a wild experience and the Cape Hillsborough macropods don’t take kindly to people getting too close.

Before breakfast, take a flat stroll along Casuarina Beach’s golden sands towards the rockwall, which forms the headland of Cape Hillsborough.

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Route Details
Suggested Stops
Andrews Point Walking Trail
Beachcomber Cove Track
Diversity Boardwalk
Yuibera (Yuwi) Trail
Day 2 - Mid-morning: Discover The Hibiscus Coast’s Charms

Fuel yourself with a brunch worthy of similar Instagram attention at The Old Station Teahouse, best known for their scones and wood-fired pizzas, both served in a quaint garden setting.

Explore the national park via one of the walking trails, which range from lazy strolls to strenuous hikes, including the Diversity Boardwalk, Beachcomber Cove Track, Yuibera (Yuwi) Trail and Andrews Point Track.

All four walks range from 1.2 kilometres to 5.2 kilometres and can easily be completed in a couple of hours, promising spectacular views for all who tackle them.

On your way back to the city, dial your zen levels up a notch with a yoga class at Avatar Country Day Spa and Spiritual Wellness Centre at The Leap and connect with your spiritual centre.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Caravan, Motorcycle
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Avatar Country Day Spa & Spiritual Wellness
The Old Station Teahouse

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Potter's Oceanside Motel

East Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$129 - 199
Potter's Oceanside Motel boasts a modern and chic exterior, while above-average furnishings and luxuries can be found within. Every room has the comfort of a king-sized bed to assure a comfortable sleep.

Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park

Cape Hillsborough, Mackay Area
From AU$29 - 265
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park is a haven in an ecological setting, providing budget to mid-range accommodation and facilities. The tourist park fronts Casuarina Bay with National Park on three sides, creating a secluded environment where you can relax, go fishing, or take a walk in the National Park.

Quest Mackay on Gordon

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$165 - 285
Quest Mackay on Gordon serviced apartments offers guests a relaxed and comfortable accommodation experience. Quest Mackay on Gordon features 115 brand new one and two bedroom apartments and studios. This purpose built property is a great alternative to your traditional hotel room offering spacious well equipped serviced apartments with kitchen, laundry facilities, separate living/dining area, broadband internet access and balcony.

Broken River Mountain Resort

Eungella, Mackay Area
From AU$140 - 280
Spend the night with a platypus. Broken River Mountain Resort is an Eco-tourism establishment based at Eungella National Park in the hinterland of the Whitsundays and about 85 kilometres west from Mackay and is accessible on a sealed road.

Riviera Mackay

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$150 - 300
The moment you step into Riviera Mackay, you'll know you've stepped into somewhere a little different, perhaps a place you did not expect to see in the area. Riviera Mackay was completed in 2015 and offers a truly unique boutique serviced apartment experience.

Hi-Way Units Motel

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$110 - 180
The Hi-Way Units Motel is very centrally located in Mackay. This provides easy access to all attractions including the Botanical Gardens. They are only three kilometres to the airport and the city centre, and two kilometres to the railway station and hospital.

The Rover Holiday Units/Motel

West Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$95 - 145
The Rover Holiday Units/Motel are a complex of 29 comfortable self contained Family and Studio Units directly opposite The Shamrock Hotel. They cater to everyone's needs from the single traveller, families, social and sporting groups, contractors and corporate clients.

Bucasia Beachfront Caravan Resort

Bucasia, Mackay Area
From AU$30 - 45
Bucasia Beachfront Caravan Park offers an absolute beachfront location surrounded by natural parkland with miles of golden sandy beach right at your front door. Adjacent to a boat ramp and children's playground and walking distance to cafes, shops and public transport you are just minutes from the heart of Mackay, shops, restaurants and other entertainment.

Finch Hatton Gorge Cabins

Finch Hatton, Mackay Area
From AU$155 - 155
Experience a restful change in natural lowland riverine rainforest. Finch Hatton Gorge Cabins is in a secluded valley off Pioneer Valley, 80 kilometres west of Mackay, where you will find deep swimming holes and well maintained walking tracks.

Mackay Resort Motel

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$110 - 160
Mackay Resort Motel is one of Mackay's finest Motels which has recently been refurbished (2016) to ensure they exceed Guest's expectations. Perfectly located, Mackay Resort Motel is just minutes to the Airport, Central Business District, Shopping Centres, Botanic Gardens and the many attractions which make Mackay the perfect business or leisure destination.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).