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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Worendo Cottages

Darlington, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$295 - 490
Worendo Cottages offers a peaceful setting in the Lost World Valley overlooked by the rugged mountains of Lamington National Park. On offer is an invigorating escape from the mundane in a stunning and peaceful wilderness setting.

Pethers Rainforest Retreat

North Tamborine, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$295 - 400
Pethers is a luxurious boutique retreat with just 10 secluded, individual and private Tree Houses all offering a magnificent sub-tropical rainforest vista. Pethers is exclusively designed for adults. Each Tree House offers a private spa for two, fireplace, king size bedroom, entertainment system, air-conditioning lounge and dining areas with five metre high glass windows leading to an outdoor balcony and overlooks spectacular surrounds.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

O'Reilly, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$149 - 699
Explore World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park from multi award winning O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat nestled in the iconic Gold Coast hinterland (Queensland, Australia). Proudly operated by passionate third generation O’Reilly family members whose ancestors pioneered eco tourism in Australia in 1926.

Wongari Eco Retreat

Lamington, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$350 - 470
Seclusion and privacy, beside the pristine rapid-filled headwaters of Christmas Creek - Wongari is an intimate romantic retreat bordering World Heritage Lamington National Park and only 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley

Kooralbyn, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$158 - 418
Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley is a secluded hinterland paradise tucked away in the heart of regional Queensland’s picturesque Scenic Rim Region. Just over an hours drive from Brisbane and Gold Coast, guests can discover the beauty and tranquillity that has historically attracted Australia’s highest flyers to holiday there.

Avocado Sunset Bed and Breakfast

North Tamborine, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$195 - 295
Avocado Sunset is an exclusive and romantic Bed and Breakfast situated at beautiful North Tamborine Mountain. There are four stylishly themed ensuite guest rooms with spa baths, (some with log fires), air-conditioning, scrumptious breakfasts and some of the mountain's best views with amazing sunsets.

Hilly Ridge

Cannon Creek, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$325 - 540
Hilly Ridge is an exclusive and elegant Queenslander perched on a mountain ridge in the middle of the Scenic Rim. Breath-taking and peaceful views only an hour and ten minutes from Brisbane, Hilly Ridge provides a unique and private country escape for couples and families.

Mystery Mountain Farmstay

Beechmont, Gold Coast Area
From AU$190 - 220
Farmstay in the Gold Coast hinterland near Brisbane, designed specifically for groups, particularly international school groups of 20 to 50 people plus leaders and guides. It is a purpose built farm resort only 45 minutes from Surfers Paradise, and just over one hour from Brisbane.

Tommerups Dairy Farmstay

Kerry, Scenic Rim Area
From AU$280 - 310
Tommerup's Dairy Farm is a sixth generation working dairy farm providing visitors with genuine farm experiences, warm country hospitality, charming farmhouse accommodation and an escape from the hectic pace of city life.

Bed and Breakfast at Wallaby Ridge

Scenic Rim Area
From AU$135 - 240
Wallaby Ridge Retreat is a Gold Coast Hinterland country escape in secluded bushland with plenty of wildlife all in its natural habitat. Six kilometres from Canungra in the foothills of Tamborine Mountain, a truly boutique experience awaits:
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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).