How to spend sunrise with the wallabies at Cape Hillsborough


As the first rays of dawn paint the sky with hues of pink and gold, there’s a magical phenomenon awaiting early risers at Cape Hillsborough in Queensland, Australia. Here, amidst the tranquil beauty of the coastal landscape, visitors have the unique opportunity to witness a charming spectacle: wallabies emerging from the surrounding bushland to greet the new day on the sandy shores. In this guide, we’ll delve into the enchanting experience of spending sunrise with the wallabies at Cape Hillsborough, offering insights into their behaviour, the best viewing times, and essential tips for a memorable encounter.

Why Wallabies Venture Down to the Beach

Cape Hillsborough National Park, located just 40 minutes drive north of Mackay, is home to a thriving population of agile wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos. Each morning, these marsupials make their way from the lush rainforest of the national park to the sandy shores of Cape Hillsborough Beach. The primary reason for their beachside visit is to feed on the nutritious seed pods washed ashore by the tide. This natural phenomenon offers a unique opportunity for visitors to observe these iconic Australian animals in their natural habitat against the backdrop of a stunning sunrise over the ocean.

What is the Best Time to See Wallabies

Sunrise with the kangaroos and wallabies

The optimal time to witness the wallabies on the beach is during the early hours of the morning, preferably around sunrise. As daylight breaks, the wallabies emerge from the cover of the forest to enjoy their breakfast by the water’s edge. Arriving at least half an hour before sunrise allows ample time to find a suitable vantage point and observe the wallabies as they hop and graze along the shoreline.

What to Expect

Visitors can expect to be greeted by a tranquil scene as they arrive at Cape Hillsborough Beach before dawn. The sound of waves lapping against the shore provides a soothing backdrop to the anticipation of witnessing the wallabies’ morning ritual. As the first light illuminates the horizon, the silhouettes of the wallabies become visible against the soft glow of the sky, creating a picturesque tableau that’s perfect for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Wallaby-Watching Etiquette

As you embark on this unique experience of observing wallabies at Cape Hillsborough, it’s essential to adhere to proper etiquette to ensure the well-being of these remarkable creatures and maintain a respectful interaction with nature.

  1. Respect Their Space: While it’s tempting to get up close for the perfect photo, it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance from the wallabies and kangaroos. Approaching too closely can startle them and disrupt their natural behaviour. Admire them from a distance to minimise stress and ensure their comfort.
  2. Minimise Noise: Wallabies are sensitive to loud noises, which can alarm them and cause them to flee. Keep conversations calm and avoid sudden movements or loud disruptions. By maintaining a quiet environment, you’ll create a peaceful atmosphere for both the animals and fellow visitors.
  3. Avoid Flash Photography: Flash photography can startle wildlife and may cause unnecessary stress. Instead, opt for natural lighting or adjust your camera settings to capture stunning images without the need for flash. This ensures a more authentic and respectful interaction with the animals.
  4. Observe Without Disturbing: While it’s exciting to observe wallabies and their joeys, it’s essential to do so without causing disturbance. Avoid approaching or attempting to touch or feed the animals too closely. Allow them to go about their morning routine undisturbed, respecting their natural behaviours and habitats.
  5. Follow Ranger Guidance: If you’re participating in a ranger-led tour, follow the instructions and guidance provided by the knowledgeable park rangers. They are trained to ensure the safety of both visitors and wildlife, while providing valuable insights into the ecosystem and behaviour of the animals.

By following these simple etiquettes, you’ll not only enjoy a memorable and enriching experience but also contribute to the conservation and protection of Cape Hillsborough’s unique wildlife. Together, we can ensure that future generations have the opportunity to marvel at these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

How to Get There from Mackay

Cape Hillsborough is conveniently located approximately 45 kilometres north of Mackay, making it easily accessible by car. From Mackay, follow the Bruce Highway (A1) north towards Proserpine, then take the turnoff onto Cape Hillsborough Road. Continue along this scenic coastal road until you reach the entrance to Cape Hillsborough National Park. Signs will guide you to the designated parking area near the beach, where you can begin your sunrise adventure.

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Wrapping Up

Spending sunrise with the wallabies at Cape Hillsborough is a truly enchanting experience that showcases the beauty of Australia’s natural heritage. From the gentle rustle of the palm trees to the soft padding of wallaby paws on the sand, every moment spent in the company of these iconic marsupials is a reminder of the wonders of the natural world. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide and approaching the experience with respect and reverence, visitors can create lasting memories of a sunrise adventure like no other. So, set your alarm, pack your camera, and prepare to embrace the magic of Cape Hillsborough at dawn.

For more information about things to do in Mackay, visit our comprehensive article.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only. While we strive to present information in good faith, we do not consider specific situations, facts, or circumstances. Therefore, we make no representation or warranty, whether express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, reliability, validity, availability, or completeness of the information presented.

This blog may include links to external sites or content from third parties. We do not investigate or monitor such external links for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness. Consequently, we cannot be held liable or responsible for any information contained therein.

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