Cape Hillsborough National Park Mackay

A visit to Cape Hillsborough National Park isn't complete without seeing the agile wallabies feeding on the beach. Photo credit: John Atkinson © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation


    Basic camping is available at Smalleys Beach camping area, which can be reached via a signposted gravel road off Cape Hillsborough Road. This small camping area has picnic tables, toilets, town water and some sites suitable for caravans.

    Fires are permitted only in off-ground fire containers and within the camping area. Bring your own clean, milled timber. Fuel stoves are preferred and recommended. Fires are not permitted anywhere else in the park, including on the beaches. All campers must carry sturdy rubbish bags to remove all rubbish from the park. Generators are not permitted anywhere in the park.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

    You can also stay in commercial camping areas or cabin-style accommodation at Cape Hillsborough, or private accommodation at Seaforth. For more information see the tourism information links.


    For all walks, wear insect repellent, a hat and sunscreen, and carry drinking water.

    The Diversity Boardwalk (Grade: Easy)

    Distance: 1.2 km return

    Time: 40 minutes

    Details: This track meanders through melaleuca woodland, a mangrove community, open eucalypt forest and vine thicket. Appreciate the diverse plant communities and their unique wildlife. This walk also highlights the importance of such diversity for the Yuibera people and their culture. The first 300 m of the walk is accessible to wheelchairs.

    Beachcomber Cove Track (Grade: Moderate)

    Distance: 2.2 km return

    Time: 1.5 hours

    Details: This track starts from the northern end of the Cape Hillsborough picnic area, and then passes through open eucalypt forest and remnant rainforest with hoop pines, ferns and vines. The track ends in Beachcomber Cove, where walkers can enjoy pleasant views from a lookout on top of the ridge. At low tide, you can return to Cape Hillsborough picnic area along the beach. At high tide, you will need to retrace your steps along the track. Check tide times before setting out.

    Yuibera Plant Trail (Grade: Easy)

    Distance: 1.2 km return

    Time: 40 minutes

    Details: This track starts from Hidden Valley. To reach Hidden Valley, walk or drive 1.2 km along the gravel road that starts from the southern end of the picnic area beside the resort. Once there, take this self-guiding trail to learn more about the Yuibera people’s traditional use of plants in the area. Please note, the gravel road to Hidden Valley is not suitable for buses or caravans.

    Andrews Point Track (Grade: Moderate to difficult)

    Distance: 5.2 km return or 2.8 km return via the beach

    Time: Allow 2 hours along the track (return trip) or 1 hour return via the beach

    Details: Follow the beach from the boat ramp to reach the start of this track. After climbing numerous steps at the beginning of the track, you will be rewarded with spectacular views from several lookouts. Cool, remnant rainforest in the track’s early stages opens out to more exposed eucalypt forest along the top of the ridge.

    At low tide, a causeway links the end of this track to Wedge Island. Check tide times before you start the walk, and only attempt to cross the causeway on a falling tide.

    Also at low tide, you can return to Cape Hillsborough picnic area along the beach. At high tide, you will need to retrace your steps along the track.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Visitors can enjoy the Cape Hillsborough picnic area on the foreshore at the end of the main access road. Gas barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and water are provided. Picnickers often see kangaroos on the beach in the late afternoon, or brush-turkeys strutting around the picnic area. Please do not feed these animals as they can become aggressive.

    Boating and fishing

    The adjacent waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park offer boating and fishing opportunities. A boat ramp is provided at the southern end of the beach in front of the Cape Hillsborough picnic area. Boat-users need to beware of estuarine crocodiles, box jellyfish and other marine stingers year round (though stingers are most common from October to May). Wear a stinger suit when wading.

    Marine park zoning regulations protect the inter-tidal zone and waters surrounding Cape Hillsborough National Park. Zoning regulations specify how you can use particular sites and the permits you might require. For detailed information on activities such as fishing and crabbing, consult the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority zoning map. Maps are available from Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices, bait and tackle shops, Queensland Parks offices and online at

    Viewing wildlife

    Around the picnic area, you can quietly observe wildlife such as agile wallabies, orange-footed scrubfowl and Australian brush-turkeys. The park contains a wide variety of habitats and bird species, making birdwatching a rewarding activity.

    Please do not feed any native animals in the park. Feeding can make them sick or aggressive, and can also increase the population of some species, with negative effects on vegetation and other animals.

    Other things to do

    Explore the tidal rock pools. Relax and enjoy nature, or spend time photographing the park’s spectacular scenery.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.